Andy Roddick could not hide his disappointment after his hopes of winning the Australian Open title were ended by third seed Lleyton Hewitt in the semi-finals on Friday.
The second-seeded American hit 31 aces but let slip a 4-1 lead in the third set as Australian Hewitt won 3-6, 7-6, 7-6, 6-1 to set up a final against fourth seed Marat Safin of Russia.
"It was weird because I'd been serving so well, then I didn't win a point on serve, I don't think, in the first one. And the second one, I had a couple of good looks and just missed them. I don't think there's any real specific explanation."
Roddick began well enough as he broke once to win the opening set and though Hewitt levelled by taking the second-set tiebreak 7-3, the American looked back on track as he surged to a 4-1 lead in the third.
Leading 4-2, Roddick was put off by a spectator's shout as he attempted to serve. Hewitt broke back and went on to take the tiebreak 7-4 to move ahead for the first time.
"The crowd was great tonight," he said. "They were totally respectful. They're really well-behaved considering how much they're pulling for one person. It just took one jackass to yell out.
"But that's stuff you have to expect and deal with. It's unfortunate but it's part of sports."
Hewitt had spent almost double the amount of time as the American on court in his five previous matches, but he was always the stronger and Roddick capitulated in the fourth set to hand his opponent victory.
"I played pretty solid until I lost my serve (in the third set)," Roddick said. "I played a little bit of a loose game. I had gotten out of a couple scary situations on serve and, you know, just pressed my luck a little bit there to get broken.
Once Hewitt had broken for 2-0 in the fourth set, there was only one winner.
"I just came out flat in the fourth set," Roddick said. "I played a pretty bad game on my serve early on and then when he gets a lead, he just stretches it. He was just going to tighten the clamps and not miss. I think I tried to force a little too much.
"He put himself in positions to win big points. I donated a little bit more than I would have wanted to, and I did it at some bad times.
"I was feeling fine. I was in good shape. I was just still reeling a little bit. It just got away from me there in the fourth. If I'd have maybe tightened it up a little bit, get to 2-2, 3-3, then who knows?
"But when you just lose a third-set breaker and then all of a sudden the wheels start turning a little bit faster, I mean, it's tough to stop."