Andy Roddick kept struggling with his service return, each missed shot lessening the American’s hopes of making a second straight Wimbledon final and winning his first trophy at the All England Club.
The fifth-seeded Roddick was upset by the 82nd-ranked Yen- Hsun Lu, from Taiwan, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-4), 6-7 (5-7), 9-7, as the men’s and women’s fourth rounds were completed yesterday.
Against Lu, the first Asian man to make a Grand Slam quarterfinal since Shuzo Matsuoka of Japan at Wimbledon in 1995, Roddick converted one of eight break points. Lu took one of two chances on Roddick’s serve, among the best in the men’s game.
“It wasn’t my serve,” Roddick said in a news conference after the 4-hour, 36-minute match. “It was my returning.”
Roddick’s serve helped him push six-time champion Roger Federer to 16-14 in the fifth set during last year’s final. Federer also beat him in the 2004 and 2005 championship matches. Roddick, 27, was ousted in the second round two years ago.
“I just wasn’t doing a good job of converting,” Roddick said. “It wasn’t coming off the right way. I was fighting it all day.”
Women’s defending champion Serena Williams of the U.S. faces China’s Li Na in the quarterfinals today. U.S. Open champion Kim Clijsters of Belgium plays Vera Zvonareva of Russia, five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams meets Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova and Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic plays Kaia Kanepi of Estonia.
The men’s quarterfinals are set for tomorrow.
Lu, 26, had lost in the first round of Wimbledon the previous four years. His victory over former world No. 1 Roddick was his first against a top-10 player since he upset Andy Murray of Britain in the first round of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Hiring a conditioning coach from Argentina before the grass-court Grand Slam began made all the difference, Lu said.
“We trained really hard for three and a half weeks to prepare for this tournament,” Lu said in a news conference. “He used a new system. It’s a different training program that makes my legs a little bit stronger. So I can jump higher, I can serve better.”
“The thing that he did very well, better than times that we played in the past, was serve,” said Roddick, who had beaten Lu in straight sets in their three previous meetings. “I thought he served a lot better than normal.”
Lu had 22 aces, while Roddick produced 38. Lu had four double faults, four fewer than the American.
Watched by his wife, Brooklyn, on the new Court 2, Roddick had chances to break Lu’s serve in the fifth set. Lu overcame two break points at 2-2 and saved another for 5-4 with a backhand volley.
“That was a pretty impressive volley at that point,” 2003 U.S. Open champion Roddick said.
Serving to stay in the match at 7-8, Roddick’s bid for a second Grand Slam title ended as Lu produced a passing shot on his first match point.
After making the quarterfinals at the Australian Open in January, Roddick reached the final at Indian Wells, California, in March and won the title in Miami two weeks later. That marked the first time since 2003 that Roddick had reached back-to-back finals in Masters events.
Roddick struggled during the European clay-court season. He lost in the third round of the French Open to 114th-ranked qualifier Teimuraz Gabashvili of Russia and pulled out of the Madrid Masters because of illness.
Two weeks before Wimbledon, he lost on grass to Israel’s Dudi Sela in the round of 16 at the Queen’s Club in London. A four-time champion at Queens, it was Roddick’s worst result at the event since 2001.
Lu will play former Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia for a place in the semifinals.