FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – To paraphrase the late Howard Cosell: “Down goes Federer! Down Goes Federer!”
A shocker in the Men’s Quarterfinal saw Czech Tomas Berdych beat No. 1 seed Roger Federer in four sets 7-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
For the first time since 2003, the Maestro will not be in the US Open Semifinal and went home pretty unhappy to say the least.
“I’m sure it was a combination of many things,” Federer said. “I mean, obviously I rarely go through matches where I have no chances, you know.
“So obviously I missed some tonight again, but that’s normal. When you end up losing at the end, you know, you always hope that you made every chance you had. It’s just not possible.
“He probably created more than I did, and that’s why he ended up winning tonight.”
It could have been the extra rest Federer received when Mardy Fish pulled out of the Open on Monday that ruined his sharpness. Like a pitcher, most tennis players tend to like the regular rhythm of a tournament, but the Swiss Master was forced to sit out Monday’s match when he received a walkover.
Federer though didn’t use that as an excuse.
“I have been there before,” he said. “Once I had six‑and‑a‑half days off and I ended up winning Wimbledon. I don’t think this was the issue tonight.”
Federer looked off from the outset, after electing to receive in the coin toss, was put on his heels by Berdych, who blew the Maestro away in the tiebreaker 6-1 and broke Federer early in the second set.
Only late in the second did Federer look like the Maestro, but down two breaks was just too much for the Swiss Master and Berdych eventually was able to come through.
But then the third set came and Federer was able to break Berdych and take the set rather easily.
“I still was down two sets to one, so I wasn’t celebrating too much,” he said. “It was good. The momentum switch no doubt gave me a chance, put the score back to zero, put him further away from winning, and made the match go longer, make it more physical, more mental.
“Yeah, so obviously I was excited winning the third, but the problem was the first couple of sets ‑ particularly the first one.”
At that point it looked like Federer was going to paint another masterpiece, but Berdych was able to break him in the middle of the fourth to end it quickly for the Master.
“The fourth set all of a sudden ended quickly,” Federer said. “He played good the last couple of points on my serve I think at 30‑All. But that’s always a danger with Tomas if you’re down in the score and he can take some chances. He’s obviously a shot‑maker, so, yeah, it’s dangerous.
“I should never lose the first set. But anyway, it happens. Move on.”
It will be a very different Open now that both the biggest story in Andy Roddick and its biggest draw in Roger Federer are no longer playing.
It also gives Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray excellent chances to win the whole thing.