Published February 17, 2012
SAN JOSE, Calif. – Andy Roddick's return from injury lasted all of two matches.
Hobbled by a fresh right ankle sprain and a troublesome hamstring that forced his retirement from last month's Australian Open, Roddick lost to Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin 6-2, 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the SAP Open on Friday night.
Roddick lost every point in his first service game and never regained his rhythm. He slammed one racket, broke another, sailed a ball into the stands in frustration, argued with the chair umpire and even shouted at his own box during the course of a frustrating match that took only 76 minutes.
Earlier Friday, 19-year-old American Ryan Harrison moved closer to his first ATP Tour singles title with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Bulgaria's Dimitar Kutrovsky. Harrison will face defending tournament champion Milos Raonic in the semifinals Saturday after the hard-serving Canadian defeated Kevin Anderson 7-5, 7-6 (3). Istomin plays the winner of the Julien Benneteau and Steve Darcis.
Already slowed by injuries, Roddick struggled to cover the court against an opponent that found every angle.
He dropped the first four points on his usual stout serve before saving three break points in his second service game. At 3-1 and 30-all, Istomin's shot caught the tape, flicking past Roddick for a winner that the American simply shook his head at.
After Istomin smacked a crosscourt forehand winner for a second break to go ahead 4-1, Roddick dropped his racket. When Roddick netted a ball in the next game, he sent a ball soaring into the black curtain behind the far grandstand, receiving a misconduct warning from chair umpire Steve Ullrich — which infuriated Roddick more.
Roddick asked the umpire if the warning was for racket abuse. Ullrich told him it was for the "ball." Roddick responded, "I challenge you on that."
The exchange was about the most fight Roddick put up all night.
The 29-year-old American also slammed a racket to the ground after hitting another shot into the net at 40-30 and 1-all, yelling out profanity in the process. Roddick regrouped to go ahead 2-1, pumping his fist and screaming, "Come on!"
Istomin never wavered, running down every shot and waiting for the wounded Roddick to miss, which he did often. Roddick hit a backhand crosscourt wide and floated a forehand long to hand Istomin another break and a 3-2 lead in the second set, and Istomin sat on his serve the rest of the way.
Roddick, who had a first-round bye and injured his ankle in a three-set victory over Denis Kudla on Wednesday night, is still recovering from a slight tear in his hamstring that forced his retirement in the second round of the Australian Open. Roddick still plans to play next week in Memphis.
At least one American showed promise.
Fresh off his Davis Cup debut last weekend that helped the U.S. sweep Switzerland, Harrison hastily blew past Kutrovsky in 62 minutes. Harrison rallied from 2-0 down in the second set and took advantage of two calls overturned by replay to break Kutrovsky's serve for the final time.
"To get out there today and have a match that lasted about an hour, it was a very good thing for me," said Harrison, who has played three straight days since an almost 6,000-mile journey from Switzerland to the Bay Area.
Harrison moved into his third career semifinal at an ATP event — he lost to Mardy Fish both times last year in Atlanta and Los Angeles. He does have one professional doubles championship, teaming with Australia's Matthew Ebden to win doubles last year in Newport, R.I.
Harrison is the first teenager to reach the semifinals at San Jose since eventual champion Andy Murray in 2006 and 2007, and Harrison's doing it all despite a body clock that's still recovering from nine time zones away.
Follow Antonio Gonzalez at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP