US Open 2012: Andy Roddick stays alive, beats Fabio Fognini

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One highlight included Fognini’s full-sprint, back-to-the-net, between-the-legs shot. When Roddick returned it with a lunging volley winner into the open court to end the point, Fognini chucked his racket all the way to the service box.

“That’s about as cleanly as you can hit a between-the-legs passing shot. He hit the thing from Jersey and almost won the point,” Roddick said. “That was fun.”

The key to the match came in the second-set tiebreaker, when Fognini took the first point, and Roddick the rest.

At 1-all, Roddick really came alive, as did the partisan group in the stands, when he smacked a winner and gestured vigorously.

“I played that point perfectly. It was so pretty, it should have been framed,” Fognini said with a smile, “and he ruined it with a down-the-line passing shot that was crazy.”

Roddick followed that with a pair of aces at 126 mph and 131 mph and pretty much was on his way.

Asked if he was pacing himself in the third set, which he lost, Roddick replied: “Man, I don’t have time to pace myself.”

The time between matches can be draining, too, the uncharted territory of readying himself for the end of his career while trying to postpone that moment a few more days.

“You’re kind of smiling, humming, whistling, walking around, and you feel pretty good about it. All of a sudden, you have to say goodbye to someone. It’s like this gut-check moment. It’s these extreme emotions from five minutes to the next five minutes,” Roddick said. “You think you know what’s going on, but I don’t think there’s any way to prepare yourself for it.”

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