Fish falls short of quarterfinals
There was the brief flap with his opponent, 11th-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and the chair umpire over some distracting cheering in the stands.
There were the aching right hip and hamstring that left Fish flat on his back, getting massaged by a trainer before the fifth set.
There was the pressure of knowing that he was, for the first time, the highest-ranked American at the country’s Grand Slam tennis tournament.
There was the whipping wind that sent shots this way and that.
And then, of course, there was Tsonga, the big-hitting, athletic Frenchman, who feels more confident than ever—and it shows. The eighth-seeded Fish wasted a lead and lost the fourth-round match at Flushing Meadows 6-4, 6-7 (5), 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 on Monday night, bringing what he saw as a premature end to what he hoped would be a run to a major semifinal.
“This might have been my best chance so far,” the 29-year-old Fish said, knowing that he played well all summer on the type of hard courts used at the U.S. Open, including one title, two other appearances in finals and a victory over Rafael Nadal.
“For whatever reason—old age, I guess—my body didn’t check up like I had hoped,” said Fish, who limped out of his news conference. “Look, that’s not why I lost. But it would have been nice to be able to run without pain.”
Tsonga reached his first U.S. Open quarterfinal, but unlike Fish, he’s already tasted this sort of success. Tsonga made it to the final of the 2008 Australian Open before losing to Novak Djokovic, and got to the Wimbledon semifinals this year—where he again lost to Djokovic—by stunning Roger Federer after dropping the first two sets of their quarterfinal.
There could be a Grand Slam rematch in New York, because Tsonga next plays either 16-time major champion Federer or Juan Monaco.
Djokovic, meanwhile, extended his 2011 record to 61-2 by beating No. 22 Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine 7-6 (14), 6-4, 6-2. Their 16-14 tiebreaker in the first set lasted nearly a half-hour all on its own.
Djokovic now meets his Serbian Davis Cup teammate and buddy Janko Tipsarevic, who is seeded 20th and made it to the first Grand Slam quarterfinal of his career by beating 2003 French champion and U.S. Open runner-up Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain 7-5,
5-7, 7-5, 6-2.
Serena Williams defeated 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic, 6-3, 6-4, to return to a Grand Slam quarterfinal for the first time in 14 months. She missed about 11 of those with a series of health scares but looks really good so far at the U.S. Open.
No. 10 Andrea Petkovic of Germany reached her third major quarterfinal of the year with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over unseeded Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain. Next for Petkovic will be No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, who trailed by a set and 4-1 in the second before coming back to beat 2004 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-7 (6), 7-5, 6-1.