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Hewitt in third round after Roddick retires

January 19, 2012 20:09 IST

Andy Roddick's 11th Australian Open campaign ended in disappointment on Thursday when he was forced to retire against Australian Lleyton Hewitt when trailing two sets to one.

"Lleyton. That's it, the 29-year-old American told his opponent.

He draped his towel over this right shoulder, limped across to umpire Enric Molina, shook his hand, picked up his bag and disappeared down the tunnel at Rod Laver Arena, a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 loser.

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The pair was expected to bash each other across the Melbourne Park centre court until the small hours on Friday.

Lleyton HweittInstead, an awkward off-balance lunge by Roddick early in the second set when he slowly rolled over on his right ankle effectively ended the contest.

The 2003 US Open champion appeared dejected at the end of the game and called for the trainer, took a medical time out, returned and battled for another 16 games, all the while Hewitt was doing his best to run him off the court.

The Rod Laver Arena crowd, so used to cheering on their 'Aussie battler' Hewitt, rose to their feet to show Roddick the respect they felt he deserved.

Meanwhile, budding Hollywood actor Novak Djokovic led the way with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 demolition of Santiago Giraldo as a trio of former Australian Open champions reduced their opponents to bit-part characters.

Djokovic makes his acting bow in the blockbuster The Expendables 2 later this year but the defending champion showed he had lost none of his appetite for the day job with an emphatic second-round victory at Melbourne Park.

Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams earlier swept into the third round to rumblings about the lack of depth in the women's game, but second seed Petra Kvitova bucked the trend when her match threatened to turn into a horror show.

Scot Andy Murray, the losing finallist for the last two years here, was also in imposing form and there was no need for any "Braveheart"-inspired heroics as he despatched Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.

Sharapova, the 2008 champion, took just 64 minutes to crush American qualifier Jamie Hampton 6-0, 6-1, while five-times winner Williams needed two minutes more to defeat Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-0, 6-4.

The third former winner in the women's draw, defending champion Kim Clijsters, progressed with a 6-0, 6-1 victory on the same Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday.

While a dreaded "double bagel" 6-0, 6-0 defeat has yet to be doled out this year, the rash of lop-sided contests has once again prompted questions about the gap in quality between the best and the rest in women's tennis.

The performance of Kvitova's 58th-ranked opponent Carla Suarez Navarro was a riposte to those questions, however, as she forced the Wimbledon champion to fight back from a break down in the third set to salvage a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 win.

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