Andy Roddick's match suspended

NEW YORK -- His match, and his retirement, put off for at least another day, Andy Roddick stepped out of Arthur Ashe Stadium and into the drizzly night, a black jacket's hood pulled overhead, a bag of ice soothing his right shoulder.

He'll try to prolong his U.S. Open -- and his professional tennis career -- on Wednesday.

Roddick's fourth-round showdown against another past champion at Flushing Meadows, Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina, was suspended because of rain Tuesday night, with the American leading 1-0 in a first-set tiebreaker.

A little more than a half-hour later, the players were told they could head to their hotels.

They were scheduled to resume Wednesday as the second match in Ashe, after four-time major champion Maria Sharapova's quarterfinal against 2007 Wimbledon runner-up Marion Bartoli. That was halted Tuesday with Bartoli ahead 4-0.

Other matches stopped in progress, also in the first set, included defending champion Novak Djokovic against No. 18 Stanislas Wawrinka, and No. 8 Janko Tipsarevic against No. 19 Philipp Kohlschreiber.

On a day of off-and-on action because of intermittent showers, only two singles matches were completed: Top-seeded Victoria Azarenka reached her first U.S. Open semifinal by cobbling together a 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (5) victory over defending champion Sam Stosur, and No. 4 David Ferrer reached the quarterfinals by beating No. 13 Richard Gasquet 7-5, 7-6 (2), 6-4.

Those matches, like most at Flushing Meadows so far, took second billing to one involving the 20th-seeded Roddick, who surprisingly announced last week that this tournament would be the last of his career.

Since then, he picked up victories over players ranked 43rd and 59th, but the No. 7-seeded del Potro figured to provide more of a challenge. Del Potro is the only man other than Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Djokovic to win any of the past 30 Grand Slam titles.

There were thousands of empty blue seats when Roddick and del Potro took to the court, probably owing to the showers that led to about an hour's delay at the start of the marquee match. It was hardly the full house of rowdy, partisan fans that Roddick might have hoped for.

More spectators filed in as things progressed, and those who were there certainly grabbed each and every opportunity to cheer for their man.

They even gave del Potro a bit of a hard time when he had a couple of ball boys go wipe a wet spot near the baseline with white towels.

It was misty at the outset, and the humidity topped 80 percent, leaving both men's shirts sopped with sweat.

Roddick came out the aggressor, looking for any opportunity to get to the net, and the volley he smacked to end the third game glanced off the 6-foot-6 del Potro's right shoulder.

Not much later, Roddick nosed ahead, breaking for a 4-2 lead and shaking his right fist vigorously when del Potro flubbed a backhand into the net.

Roddick held for 5-2, saving a break point along the way and showing off quite a varied repertoire: an ace, a drop-shot winner, a backhand winner down the line and an inside-out forehand passing shot.

Seemingly in control, Roddick suddenly slowed, and del Potro finally began showing off the big, flat forehand that carried him past Federer in the 2009 U.S. Open final.

Del Potro pounded one forehand so hard that Roddick shanked an attempted reply off his racket handle, sending the ball into the fourth row of the stands behind him.

It was a rough 15 minutes for the crowd favorite, who five times stood two points from claiming the set, but couldn't get closer. When Roddick served for it at 5-3, he played a loose game, rolling his eyes after putting one backhand into the net, then sailing an approach shot long and rushing a forehand long. Del Potro broke there and eventually, as drops began to fall, they headed to the tiebreaker.

After only one point, an inside-out forehand winner by Roddick, chair umpire Carlos Bernardes stepped down to inspect the wet court and declared it unplayable. A few spectators booed. Roddick and del Potro sat in their changeover chairs for a few minutes, until being told the delay would be substantial enough that they could wait it out in the locker room.

Not much after that, they found out they would need to come back Wednesday, when the forecast calls for an 80 percent chance of rain.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.