Federer’s Earliest U.S. Open Loss Since 2003 Stops Nadal Matchup

Five-time champion Roger Federer looked for the positives after his earliest exit from the U.S. Open in 10 years prevented a first meeting with Rafael Nadal at the tennis season’s final Grand Slam tournament.

Federer, seeded seventh, was beaten 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, 6-4 by 19th-seeded Tommy Robredo of Spain in a fourth-round match last night at the National Tennis Center in New York. The loss denied him a chance to play Nadal, with whom he shares 29 Grand Slam titles, for the first time in 14 appearances at the tournament.

“It would have been a quarters, not a final,” Federer, 32, said at a news conference. “It’s not that much of a disappointment at the end of the day. If I’m playing like this, I’m not going to beat Rafa.”

For the first time since 2002, Federer failed to reach the final at any of the sport’s four Grand Slams. The record 17-time major champion from Switzerland is out of the U.S. Open before the quarterfinals for the first time since 2003, the year before he started his run of five consecutive titles.

No. 2 seed Nadal moved into an all-Spanish quarterfinal against Robredo with a 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 victory against 22nd-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany in hot, humid conditions in Arthur Ashe Stadium. It was the 19th straight win on hard courts for Nadal, a 12-time major champion whose lone U.S. Open title came in 2010.

“For two times we were one point away, for this time we were one match away,” Nadal told reporters about the missed chance to play Federer. “You look at the matchups before the tournament is played. But every tournament is so tough.”

Tuesday Schedule

Top-seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia and defending champion Andy Murray, the No. 3 seed from Scotland, are both scheduled to play today in Arthur Ashe Stadium. Djokovic will meet Marcel Granollers of Spain and Murray faces Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan for spots in the final eight.

Also today, No. 5 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic plays No. 9 Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland, and No. 21 Mikhail Youzhny of Russia faces Lleyton Hewitt of Australia, the 2001 U.S. Open winner.

Defending women’s champion Serena Williams seeks a spot in the semifinals against No. 18 Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain in tonight’s first featured match.

Fifth-seeded Li Na of China plays No. 24 Ekaterina Makarova of Russia in the other quarterfinal, while No. 2 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus faces No. 13 Ana Ivanovic of Serbia in a fourth-round match that was pushed back until today because of rain.

Federer’s Failure

Federer failed to win one of the sport’s four major tournaments for the second time in three years. His exit comes less than two months after he was beaten in the second round at Wimbledon and he also lost in the quarterfinals at the French Open and in the semifinals of the Australian Open.

Federer had won all 10 of his previous meetings against Robredo, who had taken a total of only three sets in that span.

“I feel like I beat myself, without taking any credit away from Tommy,” Federer said. “I kind of self-destructed, which is really disappointing. When things came to crunch I just couldn’t do it. It was a frustrating performance.”

Robredo, 31, reached his first U.S. Open quarterfinal, having been 0-7 in his previous fourth-round matches.

“Roger, when he was No. 1, to the Roger right now, he’s not maybe with the same confidence,” Robredo said. “He’s the same player and he plays unbelievable. But I knew that if right now I had a little bit more chances, maybe he will have a little bit of doubt.”

Ferrer’s Win

Fourth-seeded David Ferrer of Spain reached his eighth straight Grand Slam quarterfinal with a 7-6 (7-2), 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-3) victory against Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia.

Ferrer, who was a semifinalist last year, moves on to face No. 8 Richard Gasquet of France, who pulled out a five-set victory against No. 10 Milos Raonic of Canada last night, winning 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-4), 2-6, 7-6 (11-9), 7-5.

Roberta Vinci became the first woman to reach the quarterfinals yesterday before rain delayed the day session for 4 1/2 hours. Fellow Italian Flavia Pennetta and Slovakia’s Daniela Hantuchova then won to join her.

Hantuchova, 30, beat American Alison Riske 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 to reach the last eight for the first time since 2002. Pennetta won 6-2, 7-6 (7-3) against No. 21 Simona Halep of Romania and moved on to face 10th-seeded Vinci, who made a total of nine unforced errors as she defeated fellow Italian Camila Giorgi 6-4, 6-2 in 67 minutes.

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