Five-time champion and top seed Roger Federer of Switzerland was knocked out of the U.S. Open in the quarterfinals tonight by sixth seed Tomas Berdych, who will play No. 3 Andy Murray for a place in the final.
Federer’s departure came on the same day that Andy Roddick bid farewell to professional tennis on the court that yielded his biggest win.
Berdych’s 7-6 (7-1), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win ended a streak of eight consecutive U.S. Open semifinal appearances by the 31-year-old Federer, a run second only to the 12 straight by Jimmy Connors in 1974-85.
“There’s no better feeling than to play my first night match here, play it against Roger and in the end to be able to beat him,” Berdych, 26, said in an on-court interview.
Berdych, whose only previous semifinal appearances were at the French Open and Wimbledon in 2010, had never advanced beyond the fourth round of the U.S. Open in nine previous years.
Berdych was the Wimbledon runner-up in 2010, defeating Federer in the quarterfinals. Federer, though, held an 11-4 record against the Czech entering tonight’s match.
Federer, who won the U.S. Open every year from 2004 to 2008 and captured his record-extending 17th Grand Slam title in July at Wimbledon, entered the tournament as the 9-4 second choice in odds at the Las Vegas Hotel’s Super Book.
Roddick, who revealed his retirement plans six days ago during the first week of the U.S. Open, lost 6-7 (1-7), 7-6 (7-4), 6-2, 6-4 today in the fourth round of the tennis season’s final Grand Slam to Juan Martin Del Potro, the No. 7 seed from Argentina, in a rain-delayed match in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Given the microphone at center court to speak to fans after fighting back tears following the loss, 2003 U.S. Open champion Roddick, 30, said: “For the first time in my career I’m not sure what to say.”
“I loved every minute of it,” he said of his time at the National Tennis Center in New York, both as a fan and player. “A lot of ups, a lot of downs, a lot of great moments. I’ve appreciated your support along the way.”
No. 2 seed Novak Djokovic also advanced to the quarterfinals. Women’s No. 3 Maria Sharapova and No. 4 Serena Williams reached the semifinals.
After rain kept all but two matches yesterday from being completed, the players again had to wait again before returning to action today.
Roddick and Del Potro, 23, resumed their match tied 6-6 in the first set and Roddick leading the tiebreaker 1-0. He quickly seized the set, winning six of seven points. After Del Potro took the next set in a tiebreaker, Roddick struggled to keep pace. The match ended in 3 hours, 15 minutes on a Roddick forehand attempt that went wide and long, nonetheless yielding Roddick a standing ovation.
Defending champion Djokovic won a fourth-round match against Stanislas Wawrinka. Djokovic, who was leading 6-4, 6-1, 3-1 when Wawrinka quit the match, will face Del Potro in the quarterfinals. Another Serbian player, eighth-seeded Janko Tipsarevic, defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber, the 19th seed from Germany, in straight sets to move into the quarterfinals against fourth seed David Ferrer of Spain.
Murray was down a set and 5-1 in the second set against No. 12 Marin Cilic of Croatia before winning a tiebreaker and going on to a 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2, 6-0 victory in three hours.
Sharapova beat Marion Bartoli in three sets to return to the women’s semifinals for the first time since she won the tournament in 2006.
Sharapova, the No. 3 seed from Russia, beat Bartoli, the No. 11 seed from France, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Sharapova went to sleep last night trailing 4-0 in the first set to Bartoli after their match was suspended because of rain. After dropping that set she came back, extending her three-set record this year to 12-0.
“That rain break gave me a few hours to think about things,” Sharapova said in a courtside interview. “I came out so flat yesterday and she was on fire. She’s so tough, I’m so happy to get through this one. It’s been so long since I’ve been at this stage of the U.S. Open.”
Sharapova, 25, next will take on top seed Victoria Azarenka. The 23-year-old from Belarus, who knocked off defending champion Samantha Stosur of Australia yesterday, defeated Sharapova to win the Australian Open in January.
“She’s a tough one,” Sharapova said. “She beat me in Australia quite easily and I’d love to get my revenge at a Grand Slam.”
Sara Errani became the first Italian woman to reach the semifinals in 82 years when she beat her doubles partner, Roberta Vinci, in straight sets in a rain-delayed match.
Errani, 25, the No. 10 seed, won 6-2, 6-4 against the No. 20-seeded Vinci in a match that already had guaranteed the first Italian semifinalist at the Grand Slam event since Baroness Maude Giacomo Levi in 1930.
Errani next will play Williams, 30, of the U.S., a 6-1, 6-3 winner against Ana Ivanovic, 24, the 12th seed from Serbia.