Top-seeded Roger Federer was knocked out of the U.S. Open by Tomas Berdych, ending a summer run that included a Wimbledon title, an Olympic silver medal and a return to the No. 1 world ranking in tennis.
The 7-6 (7-1), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 loss last night ended a streak of eight consecutive U.S. Open semifinal appearances by the 31- year-old Federer, who had his serve broken five times -- after losing it only once in his previous three matches.
Federer, of Switzerland, entered the tournament as the 9-4 second favorite at the Las Vegas Hotel’s Super Book behind defending champion Novak Djokovic, who yesterday reached the quarterfinals at the National Tennis Center in New York.
“Such an amazing summer I had, I really thought I was going to come out and play a solid match,” Federer said in a news conference. “Obviously, there is a bit of a letdown now.”
On the same day that Federer fell, Andy Roddick played the last match of his career, losing in four sets to Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina. The 30-year-old American lost a rain-delayed match 6-7 (1-7), 7-6 (7-4), 6-2, 6-4, and fought back tears as he thanked the crowd.
“I don’t know what the emotions are,” Roddick later told reporters. “I’m a little overwhelmed right now.”
Three-time champion Serena Williams, third-seeded Andy Murray and Djokovic also won as players with a combined 12 U.S. Open titles took the court yesterday.
Williams, who entered the tournament as the even-money favorite of Las Vegas oddsmakers, beat Ana Ivanovic 6-1, 6-3 in 58 minutes. She is yet to lose a set this tournament, and has lost two of her 38 service games.
“I feel like I’m going to get more focused and serious and start playing Serena tennis in the next couple of rounds,” Williams, 30, said after the match. “I didn’t think I came into this tournament playing my best, but I definitely played better in the last two matches.”
Sixth-seeded Berdych of the Czech Republic, playing his first night match in Arthur Ashe Stadium, took control early and converted his only break point of the fourth set to seal the win. The 26-year-old faces Murray for a spot in the final.
Federer made 40 unforced errors -- 16 more than the previous high in the tournament by the record 17-time Grand Slam champion.
“There is something in my game that he doesn’t like and it makes him struggle a bit and maybe bring him out of his comfort zone,” Berdych said.
Federer, who had not played since Sept. 1 because American Mardy Fish withdrew before their fourth-round match, said the unexpected layoff did not hurt him against Berdych.
“I wish I could have played better,” Federer told reporters. “So many moments I thought, ‘Man, it’s just not happening for me.’ It was just a very disappointing match.”
Djokovic, the 3-2 favorite heading into the tournament, was leading Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka 6-4, 6-1, 3-1 when his opponent quit their fourth-round match because of flu-like symptoms. Djokovic has not yet dropped a set in the tournament.
Play resumes today with the second half of the men’s quarterfinals, featuring a matchup of two past champions and a showdown between two players who have combined for one semifinal appearance.
Fourth-seeded David Ferrer of Spain, a semifinalist in 2007, will play Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia. Tipsarevic, who yesterday beat 19th-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, has never gone beyond the quarterfinals.
Del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, will face Djokovic in the final match of the evening. The two have met twice this year, with Del Potro winning in straight sets at the London Olympics and Djokovic winning last month in Cincinnati.
Following his fourth-round victory, Djokovic expressed frustration with the tournament scheduling and the rainy weather, which pushed his match against Wawrinka into yesterday. Should Djokovic advance to the Sept. 9 final, he will end up playing four matches in five days.
“You know in the back of your mind that if you win the match you are going to have to play the next day,” Djokovic said. “That’s my case right now.”
Maria Sharapova, the women’s No. 3 seed from Russia, beat Marion Bartoli of France, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, to advance to the semifinals for the first time since her 2006 U.S. Open title. The match started Sept. 4, but was postponed due to rain with Bartoli leading 4-0.
Sharapova will face top-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in the semifinals tomorrow. Williams will play Sara Errani, who beat her countrywoman and doubles partner Roberta Vinci, 6-2, 6-4, to become the first Italian woman in the U.S. Open semifinals since Baroness Maude Giacomo Levi in 1930.
Murray, 25, lost the first set and was down two breaks in the second before coming back to defeat Marin Cilic of Croatia, 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2, 6-0.
-- With assistance from Mason Levinson and Rob Gloster in New York. Editors: Rob Gloster, Dan Baynes
To contact the reporters on this story: Eben Novy-Williams at the National Tennis Center at 4014 or firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at email@example.com