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Friday July 19, 2024

Federer crashes out of Open

By AFP
September 05, 2018

NEW YORK: Five-time champion Roger Federer crashed out of the US Open on Monday, stunned by 55th-ranked Australian John Millman who booked a quarter-final clash with Serbian star Novak Djokovic.

Millman’s 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (9/7), 7-6 (7/3) triumph scuppered a blockbuster last-four meeting between Federer and two-time US Open champion Djokovic, who had advanced with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Joao Sousa.

But Federer suffered his earliest US Open exit since he fell in straight sets to Tommy Robredo in the fourth round in 2013.

It was also 20-time major winner Federer’s first loss against a player outside the top 50 in 41 meetings at the US Open.

Federer had set points in both the second and third sets, but troubles with his serve infected his entire game and 77 unforced errors doomed the 20-time Grand Slam champion in the face of a determined attack from Millman.

Millman said he was feeling the nerves of his first Grand Slam fourth round match as he surrendered the first set with a single break of serve.

Although Federer broke first on the way to a 5-3 lead in the second, Millman won the last four games, breaking Federer twice as Federer wasted two set points in the 10th game.

Federer upped his game in a tight third set, and had the first chance to claim the set at 6-5 in the tiebreaker. He netted a service return, and Millman converted his second set point to seize a two sets to one lead.

When the Swiss great broke for a 4-2 lead in the fourth the Ashe fans were on their feet.

But he gave the break back in the next game after slamming an overhead into the bottom of the net on game point.

They went to the tiebreaker, where two of Federer’s 10 double faults, followed by a backhand into the net and a wayward forehand gave Millman a 6-1 lead.

Federer, looking all of his 37 years, clawed his way through two match points before slapping yet another forehand wide as Millman celebrated.

And he’ll face another hero in Djokovic for a place in the semi-finals, trying to become the first Australian man to win a Grand Slam since Lleyton Hewitt won Wimbledon in 2002.

Djokovic, who ended a 54-week title drought with his 13th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, said he was relieved to get past 68th-ranked Sousa in straight sets, the searing afternoon heat seeming more of a problem than his Portuguese opponent.

Kei Nishikori, runner-up in 2014, was also pleased to get through in three sets in blazing sunshine on Louis Armstrong Stadium.

After racing through the first two sets against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber he dropped his serve while serving for the match at 5-4 in the third, but managed to prevail 6-3, 6-2, 7-5.

Nishikori will fight for a semi-final berth against Croatian Marin Cilic, who beat him in the 2014 final.

Seventh-seeded Cilic, who needed eight match points in a five-set marathon against Australian teenager Alex de Minaur spilled into Sunday morning survived some tense moments to get past 10th-ranked Belgian David Goffin 7-6 (8/6), 6-2, 6-4.

Goffin served for the first set at 5-4 before Cilic went on to win the tiebreaker, sealing it on his third match point.

Meanwhile, Maria Sharapova was knocked out of the US Open in the fourth round on Monday, losing 6-4, 6-3 to Spanish birthday girl Carla Suarez Navarro who inflicted the Russian’s first ever night-time loss at the tournament.

Sharapova, the 2006 champion who was trying to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2012, hit 38 unforced errors and dropped serve six times.

The defeat ended the former world number one’s perfect record of 23 wins — 22 of them on Arthur Ashe Stadium — in night sessions at Flushing Meadows.

Suarez Navarro, who celebrated her 30th birthday Monday, was a quarter-finalist in New York in 2013.

Sharapova, who won the last of her five Slams at Roland Garros in 2014, has endured a disappointing return to the majors since the end of her drugs ban in April of 2017.

She made the fourth round in New York last year, third round in Australia in January, quarter-finals in Paris before a first round exit at Wimbledon.

Her loss to Russia’s Vitalia Diatchenko, the world number 132 at the time, at the All England Club was her first opening round Wimbledon defeat and earliest Grand Slam exit in eight years.

Keys made the last-eight with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Dominika Cibulkova.

The other quarter-final in the bottom part of the draw will see Japan’s Naomi Osaka face Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine.

Osaka, the 20th seed, made the last-eight of a major for the first time by beating Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.

Tsurenko also made sure of a maiden quarter-final at the Slams by seeing off Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova.

Eighteen of Sharapova’s unforced errors came in an untidy first set where she trailed 1-4 and 2-5.