World Number One Roger Federer was knocked out of the US Open last night. Sixth seed Tomas Berdych stunned Federer and the crowd with a strong start to the match, serving up a series of aces and heavy forehands winning the opening two sets. Federer rallied and took the third set, but Berdych powered through the fourth set, winning his first ever US Open quarter-final 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 3-6 6-3 in two hours 42 minutes.
A disappointed Federer, hoping to win his 18th major title and sixth US Open, said, “I’ve got to go back to the drawing board and see what’s really a priority. I’m disappointed. I really expected myself to play better. I felt good and had such an amazing summer. I really thought I was going to come out and play a solid match. I didn’t do that.” Amazingly, this was Federer’s earliest stage of elimination at Flushing Meadows since 2003. Berdych will now face Andy Murray in the last four.
Federer’s exit was also big news for Murray. Whilst the Scotsman is still searching for that elusive first Grand Slam, Murray will be in bullish mood regarding his chances of making it to the final. The removal of Federer from his path represents a significant personal triumph as Murray has never beaten the Swiss in three attempts in major tournaments. Also, by winning the London 2012 Olympic single’s title, it gave Murray a much needed boost after emotionally losing to Federer in the men’s Wimbledon final just weeks earlier.
In the other half of the draw, 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro ended Andy Roddick’s professional career in the fourth round as the Argentine beat the home favourite 6-7 (1-7) 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 6-4 in just over three hours. The match was played on the famous Arthur Ashe stadium, poignantly the scene of Roddick’s sole major tournament win in 2003. The American in his post match press conference said, “It was tough. Once he got up in that match it was a different set of circumstances than my previous matches. You start thinking about how real it is. You’re thinking about matches you’re playing when you’re 12, I was thinking about my mom driving me to practice all over the place. Then all of a sudden you have to play a point against one of the best players in the world. It certainly was a mixed bag there at the end. Playing the last five games was pretty hard. Once I got down a break I could barely look at my box. I don’t know what the emotions are. I’m a little overwhelmed right now.”
Roddick retires from tennis aged 30, having won 32 career titles, amassing a 74% win record from over 800 singles matches. Roddick reached five major finals in all (three at Wimbledon), winning the US Open in 2003 and briefly held the coveted world number one spot before Federer, Rafael Nadal and later Novak Djokovic commenced their domination of the men’s game.
Del Potro now faces defending champion and second seed Djokovic in what could be an epic quarter-final. The winner of whom will face either Janko Tipsarevic or David Ferrer in the semi-final.