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Roddick extends career with 4-set win over Fognini

NEW YORK -- Winning a second-consecutive match since announcing the U.S. Open will be the last tournament of his career, 2003 champion Andy Roddick postponed his retirement a little longer by getting past 59th-ranked Fabio Fognini of Italy 7-5, 7-6 (1), 4-6, 6-4 in the third round Sunday.

What comes next could really be memorable. In the fourth round Tuesday, the last American man to win a Grand Slam title will face 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, who defeated Leonardo Mayer 6-3, 7-5, 7-6 (9) in an all-Argentine match that featured one particularly noteworthy point. In the tiebreaker, Mayer smacked a backhand that somehow ricocheted off the top of a net post and landed in the court — but del Potro was unfazed, got the ball back and wound up winning the point.

“I'm going to have to serve well, kind of try to rush him a little bit,” Roddick said about del Potro. “When he gets into a groove and has time, he'll put a hurt on the ball.”

Looking ahead himself, del Potro wasn't about to get too sentimental about Roddick's impending departure from tennis.

“I know this is special, this day, for him, but I'm doing my job,” said the seventh-seeded del Potro, whose major trophy is the only of the past 30 that wasn't won by Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic.

“The crowd loves Andy here,” del Potro said, “and they have respect (for) me.”

Djokovic, the defending champion, beat No. 31 Julien Benneteau in straight sets and will meet No. 18 Stanislas Wawrinka for a quarterfinal berth. Also advancing: No. 4 David Ferrer, who got past two-time major champion Lleyton Hewitt 7-6 (9), 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 and now meets No. 13 Richard Gasquet, who eliminated two-time NCAA champion Steve Johnson 7-6 (4), 6-2, 6-3; and No. 8 Janko Tipsarevic.

In women's action, top-seeded Victoria Azarenka beat 73rd-ranked Anna Tatishvili 6-2, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows for the first time. Azarenka has dropped only 10 games through four matches heading into a showdown against defending champion Sam Stosur, a 6-4, 6-4 winner over 18-year-old Laura Robson of Britain, whose breakthrough run included wins against past major champions Kim Clijsters and Li Na.

Maria Sharapova, a four-time Grand Slam title winner, was facing No. 19 Nadia Petrova in the last women's fourth-round match Sunday night. The winner will play No. 11 Marion Bartoli, the 2007 Wimbledon runner-up, who came back to defeat 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 1-6, 6-2, 6-0.

Robson beat four-time major champion Kim Clijsters in the second round Wednesday, sending the 29-year-old Belgian into retirement. It was the next day, Roddick's 30th birthday, that he surprisingly let the world know he had decided to walk away from the sport whenever this visit to Flushing Meadows ends.

Roddick and Fognini provided their own brand of entertainment, even though Roddick is not at his best because of an aching right shoulder. A couple of months ago, Roddick lowered the tension in his racket strings so he could, he explained while pointing to that shoulder, “get a little sling action in it and help the old Hamburger Helper here.”

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Maria Sharapova, of Russia, celebrates after defeating Nadia Petrova, also of Russia, on Day 7 of the U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, Sunday, Sept. 2. (AP/AFP)

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