In straight sets.
At the US Open.
With one match away from facing nemesis Rafa Nadal in the US Open quarterfinals (and for the first time ever in Flushing Meadows), the 32-year-old Federer fell to Tommy Robredo 7-6(3), 6-3, 6-4.
The Swiss legend was stymied by one of his weaknesses – converting break points – and it really bit him badly. He only converted two of 16 opportunities. True, Robredo stepped up with a wad of passing shots and aces when he needed them. But, the key was Federer often tried to blast a forehand winner on the first shot he had. And, the fearsome forehand that sent Grand Slam pretenders out of contention for year upon year, was neither accurate nor dependable.
“I struggled throughout, which was not very satisfying, to be honest,” Federer said. “I mean, Tommy did a good job to keep the ball in play and make it difficult for me today. I missed so many opportunities. Rhythm was off.”
Throughout the post-match press conference, the string of negative comments came from the player who has gone for invincible to vulnerable.
“It was up to me to make a difference and I couldn’t.”
“I just couldn’t do it. It was frustrating performance today.”
“It just ended up being a bad combination of many things.”
Federer talked about going back to work and training harder in hopes he can continue to improve on the success he’s had in the last month. But, he will finish this year without making a major final, the first time since 2002.
But, slump or not, Robredo still found great pleasure in knocking off the player who had a 10-0 record over him.
“Well, it’s amazing. For me, Roger, for the moment, is the best player of all times. And, to beat him in a huge stadium like the US Open and in a Grand Slam, a match of five sets, it’s a dream, no?”
Still, Robredo mentioned the cinch in the armor, the failure for Federer to convert break points. “But, I think the difference today was the break points conversion,” Robredo said.
For the first time in 12 attempts, Robredo’s will play in the US Open round of 16.
Asked why older players are making a great impact on tour today, Robredo said, “I think right now all the players take a lot more care of our body. We have physios; we have trainers. In our team, we are a lot of professionals.”
Next up for Robredo is countryman Rafa Nadal. Nadal dropped the first set to Philipp Kohlschreiber, but quickly recovered to post a 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 win.