London, June 24: Three-time finalist Andy Roddick crashed out of Wimbledon in the third round on Friday as the American was beaten 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 by Spain's Feliciano Lopez.
Roddick had won all seven of his previous seven meetings with Lopez, but the last of those encounters on grass at Queen's earlier this month suggested the eighth seed wouldn't have it all his own way on Centre Court.
It had taken Roddick three tough sets to see off Lopez at the Wimbledon warm-up event and this time the Spaniard was finally able to break his losing run against the former US Open champion.
Lopez, twice a Wimbledon quarter-finalist, served brilliantly and stopped Roddick establishing his power-game as the world number 44 secured a tie against Gael Monfils or Lukasz Kubot in the last 16.
Roddick, beaten by Roger Federer in an epic 2009 final, has now failed to get past the fourth round in three of his last four visits to Wimbledon.
The 28-year-old suffered one of the most comprehensive defeats of his career when he won just four games against Andy Murray in the semi-finals at Queen's, but this early departure from his favourite Grand Slam will hurt even more.
“Even leading two sets to love I knew that he would still be a great fighter as he is such a great player,” said serve-and-volleyer Lopez.
“It's a very important win. I was a little nervous towards the end as it's always difficult to close out a match.”
Roddick, who was eliminated by Lu Yen-Hsun in the fourth round last year, had won his first two matches here without dropping a set. But he spent the first set trying in vain to make an impact on Lopez's left-handed serve.
For once it was Roddick's usually formidable serve that failed him in the tie-break and Lopez took advantage to seal the opening set.
Roddick had no more luck unsettling Lopez in the second set. He had to save a set-point at 5-6 but that was only delaying the inevitable.
Again it was Lopez who dominated from the baseline and the Spaniard easily took the tie-break to establish a two-set lead.
Roddick's rather one-dimensional approach—relying mostly on brute force—was exposed again in the third set as Lopez broke to move 2-1 ahead and served out the win. AFP