June 24 (Bloomberg) -- It took Feliciano Lopez eight tries and some unbelievable tennis to finally beat Andy Roddick.
The Spaniard hit 57 winners to Roddick’s 40, and had just seven unforced errors, nine fewer than the American. Lopez even outserved Roddick, using 28 aces to end his losing streak against the former top-ranked player, 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 in the third round at Wimbledon. Roddick had 23 aces.
“It’s unbelievable,” the 29-year-old Lopez said. “When I came back in the locker room, my coaches told me. I was surprised that I didn’t miss anything almost. I played solid all three sets. When you play Andy Roddick here, you never expect to win two straight tiebreaks against him.”
Roddick’s serve had helped him push six-time champion Roger Federer to 16-14 in the fifth set during the 2009 Wimbledon final. Federer also beat him in the 2004 and 2005 championship matches. Roddick, 28, is the last American man to win a major, at the 2003 U.S. Open.
“I got beat,” Roddick said in a news conference. “He came out. He served about as well as someone has.”
Until today, Roddick had maintained a perfect record against the 44th-ranked Lopez since the two first played in Indian Wells in 2003. Their last meeting was only two weeks ago, when Lopez lost on the grass courts of the Queen’s Club in London despite hitting 35 aces.
“I knew if I played the same way I played in Queen’s, I would have my chances,” Lopez, a two-time Wimbledon quarterfinalist, said in a news conference. “But once you have your chances, you have to take them, and this is what happened today basically.”
Mixing it Up
Roddick said Lopez mixed up his serves and improved his play from their previous meetings.
“The stuff that’s enabled me to beat him seven times, making passing shots under duress, making him play defense on his forehand, he did well today,” Roddick, the No. 8 seed, said.
Losing early to Lopez was a lot easier to deal with than last year, when he was ousted by then 82nd-ranked Yen-Hsun Lu from Taiwan in five sets in the fourth round, Roddick said.
“He played better than I did,” he said. “It’s easier for me to walk out of here with that and move forward with that than in 2008 where I lost to Janko Tipsarevic and I felt like I completely choked or last year where I just kind of had a million opportunities and kind of gave it away. Those are tougher to take now.”
Roddick said he’s been playing his best tennis in the past year. After losing to Lu at Wimbledon, he was beaten at the U.S. Open in the second round, and in the fourth round of the Australian Open at the start of this season. He pulled out of the French Open last month with a shoulder injury.
“I haven’t played well this year, for sure,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve played my best since probably April of last year. I think I can. Have I over the last year? Probably not. I’ve been up against some stuff. But it has to get better. There’s no doubt.”
Roddick, who turns 29 in August, isn’t thinking of quitting just yet.
“You keep moving forward until you decide to stop,” Roddick said. “At this point I’ve not decided to stop so I’ll keep moving forward.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Danielle Rossingh at Wimbledon through the London sports desk at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser firstname.lastname@example.org