Wimbledon - Roddick crashes out to Lopez
Three-times runner-up Andy Roddick was sent tumbling out of the Wimbledon third round 7-6 7-6 6-4 by Spain's Feliciano Lopez.
The American, a three-times runner-up and a crowd favourite, started off in a fiery mood by sending down a string of aces but as the burning sun continually slipped in and out of the clouds, the temperature fluctuated wildly just like his game.
"It's just the way it goes in sports sometimes. If it was predictable, it would be like watching a DVD," Roddick, who endeared himself further to his disappointed fans by handing his racket to a young boy at the end, told reporters.
Out of nowhere, Roddick was decisively broken for 5-4 in the first set by the world number 44 but immediately hit back to level with some stinging winners against an opponent he had beaten at Queen's this month for a 7-0 head-to-head.
His inconsistency showed again in the tie-break when Lopez seized control as the big-serving Roddick's slightly one-dimensional game was found out.
The sudden short bursts of sunshine were akin to a sun lamp being constantly switched on and off but neither the searing heat nor chilly overcast conditions did Roddick any good.
"I haven't played well this year, for sure. It has to get better, there's no doubt," added Roddick, who missed the recent French Open with a minor injury and next may meet Lopez again in the Davis Cup.
Lopez serves consistently over 120 mph just like Roddick but he kept his unforced errors to a minimum with the ball in hand to punish the eighth seed and take the second set tiebreak.
Roddick really was sweating when Lopez broke for 2-1 in the third set, prompting his entourage in the stands to shriek with delight and punch the indecisive air.
Lopez, whose best Wimbledon result was the quarter-finals in 2005 and 2008, has flattered to deceive during his promising yet stop-start career but he went for the jugular and sealed victory when Roddick went long.
"To beat Andy in this court is very special, of course. I would say maybe the best (win at Wimbledon) probably," Lopez said.
"I was surprised that I didn't miss anything almost. I think the grass, it was always my best surface. Of course, for my game it's probably the best court I can play on. But I wish it could be a little bit faster. But this is the court we have."
Four third-round encounters were held over until Saturday because of early-evening rain in South-West London, including Rafael Nadal's match against Gilles Muller. The number one seed won the first set on a tie-break, and was taking a medical break when the heavens opened. The Spaniard will resume as the first match on Court One on Saturday, when the weather forecast is good.
The other matches postponed were Monfils versus Kubot, which is tied at three-all in the third set and one set all. Juan Martin Del Potro is a set up but a break down to Gilles Simon, while last season's beaten finalist Tomas Berdych is two games from victory against Alex Bogmolov Jr.
Also in the third round, seventeenth seed Richard Gasquet defeated Simone Bolelli 6-3 6-2 6-4, completing victory just before rain engulfed Court 14.
The Italian clay-court specialist paid for his lack of power, failing to serve an ace all match.
In the second round, seventh-seed David Ferrer completed a five-set win over Ryan Harrison 6-7 6-1 4-6 6-3 6-2, while young Australian Bernard Tomic also had to go the distance against Igor Andreev, coming through 4-6 5-7 6-3 6-4 6-1. Eleventh seed Jurgen Melzer defeated Dmitry Tursunov 6-3 2-6 7-6 7-6 to take his place in the last 32.