American James Blake fell to 5th seed Benoit Paire while Mardy Fish was forced to retire in the third set against Jarkko Neiminen.
Blake and Paire engaged in a competitive match going three sets with Paire taking the first in a grueling tiebreaker that went back and forth. Both players made big time shots before Blake double faulted to give Paire the tiebreak at 11-9 and the set.
Paire had good success with his drop shot in the first set, clearly strategy by the Frenchman. But Blake seemed to solve that in the second running down shots. Paire looked tired midway through the set and became sloppy with his forehand, sailing balls out of play. Blake rolled to take the second set 6-2.
Things became chippy in the third set when Blake appeared irritated with Paire when he walked to the chair umpire to question a call just before Blake was to serve. Later, Blake had words for Paire's coach in the stands speaking of "Respect". Then, on a point with Paire moving to the net, Blake fired a shot with heat into the net in the direction of the 5 seed forcing him to slip and fall.
But it was a series of unforced errors by Blake on his serve that gave Paire the break he needed and he closed out the third set and the match, 6-3.
After the match, Blake had a discussion with Paire at the net that continued after the match at the players chairs.
Just before taking the court, Blake had heard the news that Fish had retired. It was 3-2 in the third set when Fish withdrew. "I know it was a hot day, he was out there for a long time, so, I just hope for the best...I actually hope it’s just a little thing with his knee, or something, because it didn’t look very good that they called the doctor out there as well." said Blake.
Fish did not speak to the media after his match but through a statement said, "It obviously felt very hot and humid today, the weather just got to me a little bit, and I just couldn’t go any more. I had heat stroke and wasn’t feeling good, so I had to stop."
Fish is still coming back from a heart issue that forced him out of last years U.S. Open.
Paire will move on to play Jurgen Melzer who defeated Thiemo De Bakker, when the Dutchman was forced to retire in the third set due to injury. Neiminen will face Sam Querrey of the United States in the round of 16.