- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 5, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) — On an emotion-filled afternoon that morphed into a shocker of an evening, Andy Roddick and Roger Federer both bid farewell to Flushing Meadows.

Roddick is leaving for good, a moment he knew would come this week.

Federer is presumably gone only until next year, though the timing of his 2012 U.S. Open exit was unexpected.

Roddick lost 6-7 (1), 7-6 (4), 6-2, 6-4 to No. 7 seed Juan Martin del Potro to bring down the curtain on his career Wednesday — an ending that came, fittingly, on the court where he won his only Grand Slam title, back in 2003.

Federer fell 7-6 (1), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to No. 6 Tomas Berdych, who improved to 4-3 in his last seven matches against the 17-time Grand Slam champion. Berdych ended Federer’s string of U.S. Open semifinal appearances at eight, much the way he halted Federer’s streak of seven straight trips to the Wimbledon final by beating him in the 2010 quarterfinals at the All England Club.

On Thursday, the U.S. Open crowned its first champions of 2012, when Ekaterina Makarova and Bruno Soares defeated Kveta Peschke and Marcin Matkowski, 6-7 (8), 6-1, 12-10 in a super-tiebreaker to win the mixed doubles crown.

Playing in an early men’s quarterfinal were No. 4 David Ferrer and No. 8 Janko Tipsarevic, with defending champion Novak Djokovic set to face del Potro later.

On Wednesday night, the Federer and Roddick news conferences were where the post-match drama was. They couldn’t have been any different in tone.

“Maybe it’s a good matchup for him,” top-seeded Federer said in one of his several short, clipped answers, when asked about Berdych’s recent success against him. “I don’t see him play every match he plays on tour. That’s why I can’t really answer that question.”

Roddick, however, lingered over his final official session with the reporters. He said it was fun to be in Arthur Ashe Stadium, listening to the fans spur him on with cheers of “Let’s go Andy” — and to play tennis simply for tennis’ sake.

“It wasn’t about ranking points or paychecks or anything else,” Roddick said. “This week I felt like I was 12 years old, playing in a park. It was extremely innocent. That was fun. I enjoyed it.”

Last week, Roddick used the occasion of his 30th birthday to announce the U.S. Open would be his last tournament as a pro. He did get one bonus day on the grounds, thanks to a rainstorm that delayed his match Tuesday with him leading 1-0 in the first-set tiebreaker. He hit the ground running, won six of seven points after the restart and won the tiebreaker.

That, however, was as good as things would get. He dropped the second set in a tiebreaker, fell behind by two early breaks in the third, then after getting broken early in the fourth set, he could feel the end was near. He appeared to be trying to avoid crying while serving in the next-to-last game. In the stands, both his mother, Blanche, and his wife, actress-model Brooklyn Decker, were wiping away tears.

After match point, del Potro met Roddick at the net for a quick handshake, then pointed at the American, acknowledging that this was his moment. Roddick covered his face with a towel and took the microphone to thank the fans.

“Since I was a kid, I’ve been coming to this tournament. I felt lucky just to sit where all of you are sitting today, to watch this game, to see the champions that have come and gone,” Roddick said. “I’ve loved every minute of it.”

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