NEW YORK — At a U.S. Open that will be remembered for goodbyes by Andy Roddick and Kim Clijsters, another former No. 1 and Grand Slam champion, Venus Williams, left with a spirited second-round loss that felt nothing like a farewell.

NEW YORK — At a U.S. Open that will be remembered for goodbyes by Andy Roddick and Kim Clijsters, another former No. 1 and Grand Slam champion, Venus Williams, left with a spirited second-round loss that felt nothing like a farewell.

Hours after Roddick chose the occasion of his 30th birthday to let the tennis world in on a little secret he'd been keeping — he'll retire after his run at Flushing Meadows ends — Williams served poorly and stumbled badly for a set and a half before recovering to make things quite competitive.

Williams came within two points of winning, but dropped five of the last six games and ended up exiting early at a tournament she's won twice, beaten 6-2, 5-7, 7-5 by sixth-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany in a nearly 3-hour match.

Williams' U.S. Open is over, and Roddick's career will be whenever his last match of this tournament ends.

He made his surprising announcement at a hastily arranged news conference at the site of his biggest triumph — the 2003 championship, the last time an American man won a Grand Slam singles trophy.

"I just feel like it's time," said Roddick, who is seeded 20th. "I don't know that I'm healthy enough or committed enough to go another year. I've always wanted to, in a perfect world, finish at this event. I have a lot of family and friends here. I've thought all year that I would know when I got to this tournament. When I was playing my first round, I knew."

He is scheduled to play 19-year-old Bernard Tomic of Australia in the second round tonight.

Roddick's impending departure overshadowed some otherwise noteworthy on-court developments Thursday afternoon.

There was the loss by fifth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 2008 Australian Open runner-up, against a man ranked 52nd.

And there was a spate of victories by American men, two who are Roddick's contemporaries and good pals (32-year-old James Blake and 30-year-old Mardy Fish), and two who have been viewed as possible successors as the best the country has to offer in the sport (19-year-old Jack Sock and 24-year-old Sam Querrey).

"I saw the press conference just before I came out here. I had a feeling, thought it might be, because he's someone who puts heart and soul into every match. It gets tougher as you get older, and I don't think he could keep doing it the same way," said the 115th-ranked Blake, whose 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 upset of No. 24 Marcel Granollers of Spain was stunning for its ease.

No. 23-seeded Fish came back to beat two-time U.S. Open semifinalist Nikolay Davydenko 4-6, 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-1, 6-2, the tournament-record 10th match in which a man erased a two-set deficit and came all the way back to win.