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Another Grand Slam flop for Federer

NEW YORK — From the start, Roger Federer looked very little like, well, the Roger Federer who routinely reached the final weekend at Grand Slam tournaments.

In the opening game of his fourth-round match at the U.S. Open, the owner of 17 major titles got passed at the net twice, sailed a backhand long then missed two forehands to get broken. In the second game, the man who has spent more weeks ranked No. 1 than anyone else dumped a backhand into the net then shanked two others several feet wide.

No longer the dominant presence he once was, Federer lost in the round of 16 at Flushing Meadows for the first time in a decade, surprisingly beaten 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, 6-4 by 19th-seeded Tommy Robredo of Spain on Monday night.

"I kind of self-destructed, which is very disappointing," said Federer, who made 43 unforced errors and converted only 2 of 16 break points. "It was a frustrating performance."

The usually unflappable Federer kicked the ball at one point.

It capped a poor-by-his-standards Grand Slam season for Federer, whose record Grand Slam trophy collection includes five at the U.S. Open.

He exited in the semifinals at the Australian Open in January, the quarterfinals at the French Open in early June and the second round of Wimbledon — against a player ranked 116th — in late June. That ended Federer's record run of reaching at least the quarterfinals at 36 straight Grand Slam tournaments.

Now, thanks to Robredo, Federer has a new, unwanted streak: Two straight losses before the quarterfinals at majors.

This is the first season since 2002 that Federer did not reach at least one final at any of the four Grand Slam tournaments. That year also marked the last time Federer was ranked lower than he is now at No. 7.

"The story of my life: When I lose, people are shell-shocked to see me play this way," he said.

At age 32, Federer has struggled with a bad back and experimented with a larger racket head, and all along, he has had far more trouble winning matches than he usually does — particularly against the sort of players he barely broke a sweat against at his peak.

Robredo is no slouch: He has been ranked as high as No. 5, albeit in 2006, and this is his seventh trip to the quarterfinals at a major.

But until Monday he was 0-10 against Federer, having won three of the 27 previous sets they'd played. And until Monday, Robredo's record in the fourth round of the U.S. Open was 0-7. He missed time in 2011 and 2012 because of left leg problems that required surgery, and his ranking fell below 400th.

"Roger, when he was No. 1, (compared) to the Roger right now," Robredo said, "he's not maybe (playing) with the same confidence, no?"

In the three women's matches played Monday, No. 10 Roberta Vinci and unseeded Flavia Pennetta set up an all-Italian quarterfinal with victories. Daniela Hantuchova advanced and will face either No. 2 Victoria Azarenka or No. 13 Ana Ivanovic, whose match was postponed until today.

In men's action, No. 4 David Ferrer advanced and will play No. 8 Richard Gasquet in the quarterfinals.


Fourth round Quarterfinals Semifinals Championship Semifinals Quarterfinals Fourth round
1. N. Djokovic 8. R. Gasquet
Today, ESPN2 8. R. Gasquet
M. Granollers 10. M. Raonic
Thursday, ESPN2/ESPN Wednesday, ESPN2
21. M. Youzhny 18. J. Tipsarevic
Today, ESPN2 4. D. Ferrer
Hewitt 4. D. Ferrer
Saturday, noon, Ch. 10 Sept. 9, 5, Ch. 10 Saturday, noon, Ch. 10
3. A. Murray 7. R. Federer
Tonight, ESPN 19. T. Robredo
D. Istomin 19. T. Robredo
Thursday, ESPN2/ESPN Wednesday, ESPN2
9. S. Wawrinka 22. T. Kohlschreiber
Today, ESPN2 2. R. Nadal
5. T. Berdych 2. R. Nadal


Fourth round Quarterfinals Semifinals Championship Semifinals Quarterfinals Fourth round
1. S. Williams C. Giorgi
Williams 10. R. Vinci
15. S. Stephens 10. R. Vinci
Tonight, ESPN Wednesday, ESPN2
18. C. Suarez Navarro 21. S. Halep
Suarez Navarro F. Pennetta
8. A. Kerber F. Pennetta
Friday, 12:30, Ch. 10 Sunday, 4:30, Ch. 10 Friday, 12:30, Ch. 10
3. A. Radwanska A. Riske
Markarova D. Hantuchova
24. E. Markarova D. Hantuchova
Today, ESPN2 Wednesday, ESPN2
9. J. Jankovic 13. A. Ivanovic
Li Today, ESPN2
5. N. Li 2. V. Azarenka

Another Grand Slam flop for Federer 09/02/13 [Last modified: Monday, September 2, 2013 11:21pm]
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