After a sliding, stretching, drop volley winner early in the third set, part of a run of eight games to end things, Roddick threw his arms overhead and waved them as some spectators leaped to their feet.
Not only was Tomic outclassed, but by the late stages, TV commentator and seven-time major champion John McEnroe was telling ESPN2 viewers that the Australian maybe should be fined for lack of effort.
Asked about that assessment, Tomic initially responded casually, saying: "Well, I think he's probably right."
But when pressed some more, Tomic bristled at a reporter and said, "That's how I play. If you think that's that, it's up to you. What is your name?"
When the reporter told him, Tomic replied: "I'll remember you."
The 19-year-old Tomic is not a nobody; at Wimbledon last year, he became the youngest quarterfinalist since Boris Becker in 1986, and then he finished the season as the youngest member of the top 100 in the ATP rankings.
But this was Roddick's night, a celebration of his career and a chance to extend it. The match that followed, top-seeded Victoria Azarenka's 6-0, 6-1 victory over No. 28 Zheng Jie of China, was very much reduced to afterthought.
Other men's winners Friday included defending champion Novak Djokovic, 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro and 2001 champion Lleyton Hewitt, who came back to beat Gilles Muller 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-4.
The day's biggest surprise was 18-year-old Laura Robson's 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-2 victory over 2011 French Open champion Li Na, setting up a fourth-round match against defending women's champion Sam Stosur. Robson ended four-time major champion Kim Clijsters' singles career by beating her in the second round. Unlike Roddick, Clijsters let everyone know months ago that she would quit after the U.S. Open.
Hewitt's a year older than Roddick and said it was "a little bit surprising" that the American made his retirement known in the midst of a tournament.
"He obviously just felt like the time is right. Everyone is different," said Hewitt, who also won Wimbledon in 2002 and has dealt with a series of health issues, including hip and toe operations. "For me, I feel like I've done all the hard yards coming back from surgery. I sort of want to go out on my terms a little bit more."
Del Potro, who is seeded seventh, eliminated one of the young U.S. men expected to succeed Roddick near the top of the game, 20-year-old Ryan Harrison.
"There's some people that are going to speculate he might have more energy and success left in him, but he's not a guy who wants to do it halfway. And that's something he's taught me and I respect that about him," Harrison said. "He could easily coast through and play Slams next year and be winning a lot of matches, etc., etc., but if he can't give himself a chance to win the tournaments, he doesn't want to play and that's why I think he decided what he decided."
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