Andy Roddick's transition from the tennis court to the rocking chair was delayed when the former world number one reached the third round of the US Open on Friday, joining a parade of former champions advancing at the year's final Grand Slam.
Roddick, who announced a day earlier he would retire at the end of the tournament, served his way past rising Australian talent Bernard Tomic 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 in his second-round match.
Joining Roddick in the winner's circle Friday were former titlists Novak Djokovic, Juan Martin Del Potro and Lleyton Hewitt, who reached the third round, and Samantha Stosur and Maria Sharapova, who secured a fourth-round berth.
Top-ranked Belarussian Victoria Azarenka, who won the Australian Open earlier this year, needed only 59 minutes to rout China's Zheng Jie 6-0, 6-1.
One favourite who was handed a third-round exit was Zheng's compatriot Li Na, who became the latest victim of British giantkiller Laura Robson.
None of Friday's array of former champions excited the passions of the Flushing Meadows faithful more than Roddick, the never-say-die Texan who never saw a fight he did not like. Roddick, 30, blasted 13 aces in the one hour, 27-minute rout under the lights before nearly 25,000 at raucous Arthur Ashe Stadium.
"I had no idea what was going to happen out there honestly, even before the match," said Roddick, the 2003 US Open champion. "I've played a lot of matches. That was a different kind of nerves than I've had before. That was surprising for me."
Robson's gritty 6-4, 6-7, 6-2 win over former French Open champion Li, who triumphed in Cincinnati earlier this month, also created a buzz at Flushing Meadows.
Robson sent four-times Grand Slam champion Kim Clijsters into retirement in the second round but her upset of ninth-seeded Li surely made believers of those who thought she might be a one-hit wonder. Next up in the fourth round is Australian Stosur.
At 2-2 in the third set, Robson thought she had broken serve but umpire Louise Engzell ruled that the point should be replayed, even though Li had missed with her return. The 89th-ranked Robson, however, refused to bend, breaking Li's serve twice to lead 5-2 before serving out the match.
The defending champions had little trouble advancing, as Djokovic blitzed Brazilian Rogerio Dutra Silva 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 in sun-drenched Ashe Stadium, while Stosur cruised by American Vavara Lepchenko 7-6, 6-2 on the same court.
Djokovic dropped just two games in his opening-round win over Italy's Paolo Lorenzi and Silva managed only three more as the second-seeded Serb was in a different class.
Stosur was broken in the opening game of her match, setting the tone for a gruelling first set, which lasted 59 minutes. But the Australian secured the tiebreaker 7-5 and blew through the second set over a frustrated Lepchenko in 29 minutes.
Sharapova continued her imperious march through the draw as she crushed American college player Mallory Burdette 6-1, 6-1 to reach the fourth round. The Russian, who has lost just seven games in her first three matches, next plays compatriot Nadia Petrova, a 6-4, 7-5 winner over Czech Lucie Safarova.
Del Potro, the 2009 US Open winner, downed American Ryan Harrison 6-2, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2, while 31-year-old wildcard Hewitt, who won the title in 2001, outlasted Gilles Muller of Luxembourg, 3-6, 7-6, 6-7, 7-5, 6-4 in four hours, 35 minutes. Fifth seed Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic overcame Frenchwoman Pauline Parmentier 6-4, 6-4.Paes-Stepanek win
Leander Paes and his Czech partner Radek Stepanek entered the third round of the doubles event after getting the better of Brazilians Joao Souza and Thomaz Bellucci 7-5, 7-6 (7-3). They next play Jesse Levine of USA and Australia’s Marinko Matosevic, who had upset Wimbledon champions Jonathan Marray and Frederik Nielsen 6-1, 6-7(6), 6-4.Results
Prefix denotes seedings:
Men: Second round: 19-Philipp Kohlschreiber (Ger) bt Benoit Paire (Fra) 6-7(4), 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(4); 20-Andy Roddick (US) bt Bernard Tomic (Aus) 6-3, 6-4, 6-0; 31-Julien Benneteau (Fra) bt Dennis Novikov (US) 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(1), 7-5; Grega Zemlja (Slv) bt Cedrik-Marcel Stebe (Ger) 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4; 9-John Isner (US) bt Jarkko Nieminen (Fin) 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-3; Fabio Fognini (Ita) bt Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (Spa) 6-4, 6-4, 6-2; 8-Janko Tipsarevic (Srb) bt Brian Baker (US) 6-4, 6-3, 6-4; 18-Stanislas Wawrinka (Swi) bt Steve Darcis (Bel) 6-7(6), 6-3, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5; Lleyton Hewitt (Aus) bt Gilles Muller (Lux) 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-4; 14-Alexandr Dolgopolov (Ukr) bt Marcos Baghdatis (Cyp) 6-4, 3-6, 6-0, 7-6(5); 7-Juan Martin Del Potro (Arg) bt Ryan Harrison (US) 6-2, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2; Leonardo Mayer (Arg) bt Tommy Robredo (Spa) 6-1, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5; 2-Novak Djokovic (Srb) bt Rogerio Dutra Silva (Bra) 6-2, 6-1, 6-2; 13-Richard Gasquet (Fra) bt Bradley Klahn (US) 6-3, 6-3, 6-1; Steve Johnson (US) bt Ernests Gulbis (Lat) 6-7(3), 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-4; 4-David Ferrer (Spa) bt Igor Sijsling (Ned) 6-2, 6-3, 7-6(12).
Women: Third round: 1-Victoria Azarenka (Brs) bt 28-Zheng Jie (Chi) 6-0, 6-1; Anna Tatishvili (Geo) bt Mandy Minella (Lux) 7-5, 6-0; 19-Nadia Petrova (Rus) bt 15-Lucie Safarova (Czech) 6-4, 7-5; 3-Maria Sharapova (Rus) bt Mallory Burdette (US) 6-1, 6-1; 5-Petra Kvitova (Czech) bt Pauline Parmentier (Fra) 6-4, 6-4; Laura Robson (Bri) bt 9-Li Na (Chi) 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-2; 7-Samantha Stosur (Aus) bt 31-Varvara Lepchenko (US) 7-6(5), 6-2; 11-Marion Bartoli (Fra) bt Kristina Mladenovic (Fra) 6-2, 6-4.