Swiss 7th seed Roger Federer has been sent packing by Spain’s Tommy Robredo in his earliest US Open exit in ten years.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion’s hope of clinching a sixth title at Flushing Meadows ended with a shock 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, 6-4 defeat in the hands of 31-year-old Robredo.
Federer’s ouster means the long-anticipated debut meeting between him and second seed Rafael Nadal at the US Open will have Robredo fit into his space in the quarter-final.
The former world number one converted just 2 of 16 break points and made 43 unforced errors, losing in two hours and 24 minutes.
“I kind of feel like I beat myself, without taking any credit away from Tommy,” Federer said.
“I kind of self-destructed, which is very disappointing, especially on a quicker court. Your serve helps you out. You’re going to make the difference somewhere. I just couldn’t do it. It was a frustrating performance today.”
It also means Federer ends the year without reaching any Grand Slam final for the first time since 2002 after struggling with a back problem and having failed to maintain his form.
A 0-10 head-to-head record against Federer going into the game gave Robredo no chance, but he twice led by a break in the opening set and dominated the tie break after failing to serve out the set.
Federer failed to up his game in the second set giving up the break at 4-3 with three forehand errors and then failed to utilize two more break points while the 19th seed served it out.
The Swiss couldn’t stage a comeback in the third; failing to convert six more break points, and was once again broken to love at 3-3. Robredo held his nerve to serve out the match.
“It’s amazing,” said Robredo. “For me, Roger for the moment is the best player of all times. And to beat him in a huge stadium like the US Open and in a Grand Slam, a match of five sets, it’s like a dream.”