Maestro&’s failure comes on the heels of a shock second-round Wimbledon exit
New York, 3 September
Roger Federer suffered a stunning upset in the fourth round of the US Open, the 17-time Grand Slam champion falling to Spanish 19th seed Tommy Robredo 7-6 (7/3), 6-3, 6-4 in a last-16 match on Monday.
Federer’s failure came on the heels of a shock second-round Wimbledon exit and thwarted a potential quarterfinal showdown with 12-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal, in what would have been their first duel on the New York hardcourts.
Instead, it will be Robredo, in his first US Open quarterfinal, awaiting the winner of a later match between Nadal, who is 6-0 against his countryman, and Germany’s 22nd-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Robredo, who had lost his 10 prior matches against the Swiss star, suffered seven prior fourth-round US Open defeats and matched his best Grand Slam performance by finally breaking through.
"I’m delighted. Today the difference is I won the break points and he did not," said 31-year-old Robredo.
"It was a really, really tough night and I am so happy. It was really a great experience."
Federer won only two of 16 break-point chances. He hit 45 winners but also made 43 unforced errors and managed only five aces while Robredo hit 70% of his first serves and won four of his seven break chances.
In taking as many sets off Federer as he had in their 10 prior matches combined, Robredo also raised questions about the future of the 32-year-old former world number one, who had not missed the US Open quarterfinals since a fourth-round exit in 2003.
Federer had made 36 consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal appearances before being upset by Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky in the second round at Wimbledon, having not departed a major before the last eight since the 2004 French Open.
This was the first year since 2002 that Federer has not made a Grand Slam final. It was the first time Federer has missed the last-eight in consecutive Slams since the 2003 Australian and French Opens, just before he won his first major crown at Wimbledon later that same year.
Federer, whose seventh seeding at the US Open was his lowest at a Grand Slam event since 2002, failed to match the career record of 41 Slam quarterfinals by retired US star Jimmy Connors.
A rain delay of more than four hours pushed Federer’s match from Arthur Ashe Stadium to Louis Armstrong Stadium, marking the first time since a 2006 triumph over Frenchman Marc Gicquel that Federer had played at the secondary court.
Federer’s only defeat in eight prior Armstrong appearances came when he lost to Spain’s Juan Carlos Ferrero in the third round in 2000 in US first US Open.
"Amazing, eh," Robredo said. "I beat the best guy of all times in a great stadium like this where he loves to play."
Nadal survives scare: World number two Rafael Nadal avoided the same fate which befell Roger Federer to reach the US Open quarterfinals on Monday with a 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 win over German 22nd seed Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Nadal, the 2010 champion in New York, stayed on course for a 13th Grand Slam title and will next face fellow Spaniard Tommy Robredo, who shocked 17-time major winner Federer 7-6 (7/3), 6-3, 6-4.
Second seed Nadal fired 48 winners and took his year record to 57 wins against just three defeats and his perfect hardcourt form to 19 wins.
He also preserved his record this year at the tournament of not having dropped serve, although he had a rocky start to the evening against the big-hitting Kohlschreiber, who finished with 49 winners but 47 unforced errors. The 27-year-old Spaniard kept up the barrage at the start of the third with Kohlschreiber fending off eight break points in the opening game before Nadal achieved the break in the third game.
Azarenka advances: Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka advanced to the US Open quarter-finals on Tuesday, beating Serbian 13th seed Ana Ivanovic 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a match postponed from Monday due to rain.
The 24-year-old second seed from Belarus took advantage of Ivanovic’s 42 unforced errors and broke the former world number one nine times in the match, winning despite surrendering seven breaks herself and hitting just 21 winners.
Sharan out: Divij Sharan’s US Open came to an end after the Indian and his Chinese Taipei partner Yen-Hsun Lu went down fighting to Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and Jean-Julien Rojer in the men’s doubles third round here. Sharan and Lu lost 6-7 (6) 6-3 3-6 to the fifth seeds.