Winner eludes Blake in defeat

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NEW YORK - So much for James Blake's success in five-setters.

Tommy Haas fended off three match points before he beat James Blake on Monday to advance to the quarterfinals.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Tommy Haas fended off three match points before he beat James Blake on Monday to advance to the quarterfinals.

With his rowdy fans pleading for him to put it away, Blake missed on three match points and wound up losing to No. 10 Tommy Haas 4-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-0, 7-6 (4) Monday at the U.S. Open.

Earlier in the tournament, Blake ended his 0-for-9 slump in five-set tries. He had his chances this time, too, but couldn't come up with that last, winning shot.

"It's going to sting for a little while," Blake said. "Just another unfortunate learning experience."

Haas advanced to the quarterfinals for the third time in four years. The German made a full-out dive for a shot in the final set and later, down 5-4, came up with three big serves to prevent the sixth-seeded Blake from closing it out.

"I feel like I had all the conditions on my side," he said.

Blake's rooting section - the J-Block - tried to stir their favorite player throughout the match. The cheers reached a crescendo in the tiebreaker when Blake raced to the baseline for an over-the-shoulder shot, but Haas won that point with a picture-perfect lob to go up 4-3.

"I think if I had lost that point, the crowd would've gone absolutely ballistic," Haas said.

The match ended, however, in silence. Haas hit a 113 mph ace that Blake challenged, and the players looked at each other as the crowd became quiet with a mix of anticipation and apprehension.

The replay on the scoreboard confirmed the ball was indeed good, and it was over.

"I hope the audience enjoyed the show," Haas said.

Haas next plays No. 4 Nikolay Davydenko, who beat Lee Hyung-taik of South Korea 6-1, 6-3, 6-4.

Earlier, Andy Roddick reached the quarterfinals thanks to another abbreviated work day.

Roddick, the 2003 champion and 2006 runner-up, moved on when No. 9 Tomas Berdych stopped playing in the second set because he had trouble breathing and felt sluggish.

"I haven't been tested much this tournament so far," said the fifth-seeded Roddick, who could face No. 1 Roger Federer next.

Roddick was leading 7-6 (6), 2-0 in the fourth round when Berdych quit, making him 0-9 against top-10 opponents at Grand Slam tournaments. Roddick got through the second round when Jose Acasuso stopped because of a bad knee while trailing two sets to one.

"The body was so slow. It wasn't any, like, straight one problem or one pain or something," Berdych said. "Just, like, generally didn't feel well."

Berdych saw a doctor after leaving the court, then headed for blood tests to try to figure out exactly what was wrong.

Federer was to meet Feliciano Lopez at night.

"No offense to Lopez, but I'm kind of already preparing for Roger," Roddick said, several hours before that match began.

Also Monday, 2004 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova got off her stomach and beat Victoria Azarenka 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals.

She next plays another unseeded opponent, Agnes Szavay of Hungary.

Szavay moved on by defeating Julia Vakulenko of Ukraine 6-4, 7-6 (1). Ranked No. 31, Szavay is playing in her first U.S Open - her two other previous Grand Slam appearances ended in second-round losses at Wimbledon and the French Open this year.

No. 18 Shahar Peer became the first Israeli woman to reach the U.S. Open quarterfinals by beating No. 30 Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 6-1.

Radwanska knocked off defending champion Maria Sharapova in the third round but couldn't keep up with Peer, who built a 20-4 advantage in winners.


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