Fiery Roddick falls in Melbourne

Andy Roddick is coming to terms with serving a fusillade of 42 aces yet packing his bags for an early flight home from yet another Australian Open.

updated: January 28, 2008 15:41 IST
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Andy Roddick is coming to terms with serving a fusillade of 42 aces yet packing his bags for an early flight home from yet another under-achieving Australian Open.

The brash American sixth seed was dumped out of the season-opening Grand Slam in a compelling third round five-setter against Philipp Kohlschreiber early Saturday with the German playing the match of his life to reach the last 16.

Roddick, a three-time semi-finalist, made his earliest exit from the Australian slam in six years as Kohlschreiber pummelled him with an amazing 104 winners.

The loss again emphasised that Roddick's signature serve cannot disguise his vulnerability when the ball comes back over the net, with Kohlschreiber's brilliant one-handed backhand reaping 30 winners with another 27 on the forehand.

In contrast, Roddick, coached by American great Jimmy Connors, realised just three backhand winners offset by 10 unforced backhand errors.

But for all that Roddick's serve was broken just twice in five sets, two of which were tiebreakers.

Coming into his ninth season on the Tour, the signs are not encouraging for 25-year-old Roddick to come up with solutions to successfully compete with the top players, or it seems, inspired one-off players such as Kohlschreiber.

It was an acerbic Roddick who attempted to put on a brave face after another galling Grand Slam defeat.

"It's rough. You play a match that long, you come out the wrong end, it doesn't feel good," Roddick said shortly after coming off court at 2:05 am (1505 GMT) Saturday.

"I'm trying to think of a new and exciting way to say that. But, I don't know, it's not good. It's not fun."

It wasn't a good night for Roddick. He was fined 500 US dollars for racquet abuse after slamming his racquet into the court in a pique after losing a third set tiebreaker.

He had a hot-tempered running battle with French chair umpire Emmanuel Joseph over line calls and rowdy fans with the courtside audio picking up several Roddick expletives, which went unpunished.

"I came out and served aces after I got mad at his (Kohlschreiber's) little section (of fans)," Roddick said.

"If anything, I needed something to get inside of me. It was a long time between me talking to the umpire and when the match actually finished. I think it was pretty insignificant."

Roddick wouldn't go as far as placing Kohlschreiber's backhand among the men's elite, but he was mighty impressed with it.

"Let's call a spade a spade. Let's not put him in the hierarchy of tennis yet," Roddick chided a questioner.

"Let's let him get into the quarter-final of a slam before we put him in the hierarchy of tennis.

"No disrespect, but today he was great. There's no doubt about it. I took his best stuff for five sets and I thought I was going to get him to break or to fold.

"I thought if I kept it on him long enough that that would happen.

"He played like a great, great player. There's no doubt about that. And his backhand was extremely impressive."