• US Open

Roger Federer humbled in three sets

ESPN staff
September 2, 2013
Three things we learnt

Those claiming Roger Federer's slow decline is not irreversible were given more ammunition in New York as he lost his fourth-round match at the US Open in straight sets, going down beaten 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-4 to 19th-seeded Tommy Robredo of Spain.

Right from the start, Federer was out of sorts. In the opening game he was passed at the net twice, sailed a backhand long, then missed two forehands to get broken. In the second game, he dumped a backhand into the net, then shanked two other backhands several feet wide.

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

He lost in the semi-finals at the Australian Open in January, the quarter-finals at the French Open in early June, and the second round of Wimbledon - against a player ranked 116th, to boot - in late June. That ended Federer's record run of reaching at least the quarter-finals at 36 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments. Now, thanks to Robredo, Federer has a new, unwanted streak: Two consecutive losses before the quarter-finals at majors.

Bad to worse for Federer

Out, but is Roger's time at the top over? © AP
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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.

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

Federer agreed with that assessment. He also was asked whether Robredo tried anything different this time around. "No, he didn't. Pretty simple. No surprises. He didn't serve-and-volley or chip-and-charge. He stood back the way he usually does. He kick-served the way he usually does.

"I've definitely got to go back to work and come back stronger. Get rid of this loss now as quick as I can, forget about it, because that's not how I want to play from here on," Federer said. "I want to play better. I know I can."

Rafa Nadal , who was expected to meet Federer in the last eight, took his 2013 record on hard courts to 19 wins in 19 with a 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 victory over 22nd-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany.

Nadal, who won the 2010 US Open but missed it last year with a left knee injury, erased the only break point he faced against Kohlschreiber and has not lost a service game so far through four matches.

Fourth seed David Ferrer, the runner-up to Nadal at the French Open this year, edged No. 18 Janko Tipsarevic 7-6 (2), 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (3). He will play No. 8 Richard Gasquet, who entered the day 1-15 in fourth-round Grand Slam matches but erased a match point and withstood 39 aces from No. 10 Milos Raonic to win 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4), 2-6, 7-6 (9), 7-5 on Court 17.

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