Day 8 of the US Open was marred by a long rain delay, and suffered further from the five-time champion Roger Federer being upset by Tommy Robredo in straight sets: 7-6(3), 6-3, 6-4. The loss by the former No. 1 and 17-time Slam winner deprives the fans of what was hoped would be a quarterfinal meeting between Federer and Rafael Nadal, the sport’s great rivals. They have never met at the US Open.
Robredo, the 31-year-old Spaniard, younger than Federer by one year, has been coming back from injury. Once as high as No. 5 in the world, he was at No. 545 just over a year ago, but a run back has put him currently at No. 22. Of the number of things that were surprising about the upset today, their previous head-to-head was 10-0 in favor of the Swiss, with Robredo having only won 2 sets. Today he won three, without dropping one.
An irritatingly consistent rain most of the afternoon caused the match to be moved to Louis Armstrong Stadium from Arthur Ashe, in order for the schedule not to fall behind. Federer started sluggishly, in the high humidity, and dropped his first service game, while Robredo was going for the fast start. Federer broke back for 2-2, and it seemed that that would be the beginning of setting things to rights, but instead, it seems that the sloppy start was the portent of what was to come. The Swiss champion lost the first set in a tiebreak, and never recovered from breaks of serve in the subsequent 2 sets. In fact, the break point statistic was telling: Federer was 2/16 on conversions (13%,) while Robredo was 4/7 (57%.)
In an understandably somber press conference, Federer called it a “frustrating” performance. He felt his “rhythm was off,” and, while giving credit to great play by Robredo, he said, “I beat myself. I kind of self-destructed.”
Credits: Cover Photo: Marianne Bevis (Creative Commons License)