WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Mardy Fish is making something of a habit of being the last U.S. man in the field at Grand Slam tournaments.
Not that he’s all that thrilled about the distinction.
He did it at the French Open last month, and now he’s done it again at Wimbledon, where Fish is into the fourth round for the first time in his career.
“It’s lonely. It doesn’t feel great. And that’s not the goal,” the 10th-seeded Fish said Saturday, when his third-round opponent stopped playing because he was in pain. “You know, I want the guys here. So that’s a bit of a bummer, I guess.”
Fish was leading 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-2, 1-1 when 58th-ranked Robin Haase of the Netherlands retired. The only other American man still around, Alex Bogomolov Jr., lost all seven points he played Saturday against 2010 runner-up Tomas Berdych in a match suspended because of rain a day before.
The sixth-seeded Berdych advanced 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 and now faces Fish.
“Seems like he’s pretty comfortable right now here,” Fish said. “Brought back, probably, a lot of good memories for him now. He seems to be rolling.”
Fish is, too.
Against Haase, he saved all three break points he faced — Fish has only lost serve once through three matches — and won 41 of 53 points he played at the net. Fish accumulated 20 break points on Haase’s serve, converting three.
“I felt like I had a pretty good grasp on the match,” Fish said.
Haase said he hurt his right knee when he slipped during his second-round match against Fernando Verdasco, and that knee had a buildup of fluid. But Haase also explained that knee wasn’t the problem against Fish.
“The reason why I gave up now was everything else was hurting me — my legs, back, other knee — except for the knee where the fluid is in,” Haase said.
“In my head, I couldn’t play probably anymore,” Haase continued, “because I was scared to injure something else”
The 29-year-old Fish is enjoying a career renaissance of late, thanks in part to a concerted effort to get in better shape. He dropped about 30 pounds from his 6-foot-2 frame with the help of new eating habits in the year after having surgery on his left knee in September 2009.
He’s cracked the top 10 in the rankings for the first time. He was the highest-seeded U.S. man at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time at the French Open, and reached the third round at Roland Garros. Now he’s further than he’s ever been at Wimbledon — and he isn’t satisfied yet.
“I sleep a lot better than I used to,” Fish said, “just knowing I can sort of put my head down, knowing that I’m doing everything I can, hitting a lot of goals that I’ve wanted to hit throughout my career now.”
FOCUSED FEDERER: A year ago at Wimbledon, Roger Federer lost the very first two sets he played. While he came back to win that first-round match, he was gone by the quarterfinals.
So far in 2011 at the All England Club, the six-time champion hasn’t dropped a set. And he says he’s focused on making sure he takes every foe seriously.
“I’ve learned my lesson early on in my career, where I used to underestimate opponents because of the way they played, the way their techniques worked out, or just said, ‘Against this guy, I can’t lose on grass.’ Next thing you know, that’s what happens,” Federer said Saturday.
He moved into the fourth round at the grass-court Grand Slam tournament by beating 2002 runner-up David Nalbandian 6-4, 6-2, 6-4.
Federer is trying to tie the Wimbledon record of seven men’s singles titles, a mark established by Willie Renshaw in the 1800s and matched by Pete Sampras.
The 16-time Grand Slam champion won five trophies in a row at Wimbledon from 2003-07, then added his sixth in 2009.
“This is where you have to be very, very sort of mentally strong. I think with the success I’ve had here, obviously I always come in with somewhat of a pressure,” said Federer, who will face No. 18 Mikhail Youzhny on Monday. “But, as well, I think this is where I’m able to shift up a couple gears on grass because it works to my strengths the way I can play here.”
BYE-BYE, MOM AND DAD: France’s Marion Bartoli needed to let off some steam, so she directed her anger at her family.
When she dropped the first set against 21st-seeded Flavia Pennetta in the third round Saturday at Wimbledon, 2007 runner-up Bartoli sent her parents packing from Court 12. After Mom and Dad bid adieu, Bartoli rallied to win 5-7, 6-4, 9-7, setting up a match against four-time champion Serena Williams next.
Bartoli’s father, Walter, who also coaches her, had to watch the last two sets on television. She insisted there were no hard feelings afterward.
“He said it was the best match he ever saw me play here in Wimbledon,” the ninth-seeded Bartoli said. “He was very proud of me — and my mom, the same.”
As for why she wanted her parents to leave, Bartoli said: “I (needed) to get that frustration out, so I show it that way. I could have broken a racket.”
Bartoli has had a hectic schedule recently. After reaching the French Open semifinals, the 26-year-old Frenchwoman won the Eastbourne title on Saturday, playing her semifinal and final matches in one day because of rain. Her last two matches at Wimbledon both went three sets.
“At the end of the match, when I walked out of the courts to the locker room, I had to sit down for five minutes because I was not able to see clearly anymore,” she said. “I was extremely tired. I really had to finish this match somehow. I really don’t know how I did it. But really, I used every single bit of energy I had in my body today to find a way to win.”
And when she plays Williams, Bartoli said, she’ll probably let her folks stick around.
PROTEST THWARTED: Police stopped a planned protest by a pro-democracy group at Wimbledon on Saturday, removing a group of people waiting to get onto the grounds before play started.
The All England Club’s gates opened to the public about 45 minutes later than planned.
“At approximately 10:30 a.m., a number of people were stopped in the queue,” Metropolitan Police said. “A number of items were found near to this group believed to be for use in a demonstration or publicity stunt. Police informed the All England Club and they delayed the opening of the gate while additional searches took place. There were no arrests.”