NEW YORK — Knowing full well each match could be his last, Andy Roddick is putting on a show while soaking up every moment along the way.
So when he pounded a forehand passing shot to seize a 20-stroke point Sunday, Roddick thrust both arms overhead, motioning to the full house of U.S. Open spectators to make even more noise. Moments later, after hitting a winning volley, Roddick wagged his right index finger while chugging back to the baseline.
Channeling his inner Jimmy Connors, Roddick is having a grand ol’ time at his retirement party — and he’s not done yet.
Winning a second consecutive match since announcing the U.S. Open will be the last tournament of his career, 2003 champion Roddick stuck around at least 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.
“I’d be an idiot not to use the crowd right now. It’s a huge advantage,” Roddick said. “Each match is almost like it’s another memory.”
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.
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.
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; defending champion Sam Stosur was a 6-4, 6-4 winner over 18-year-old Laura Robson of Britain; and No. 3 seed Maria Sharapova beat 19th-seeded Nadia Petrova, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4. The four-time Grand Slam champion now faces 2007 Wimbledon runner-up Marion Bartoli of France for a semifinal berth. The 11th-seeded Bartoli defeated No. 5 Petra Kvitova, who won Wimbledon last year, 1-6, 6-2, 6-0.