World number one Roger Federer has failed in his quest to win the French Open for the first time, losing to Spaniard Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals.This content was published on June 4, 2005 - 10:22
The Swiss lost in four sets to the fourth-seeded Nadal on Friday, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
It was the first time that the 23-year-old Federer had reached the semi-finals, but in the end he was outclassed by rising star Nadal, who was also celebrating his 19th birthday.
"I'm both satisfied and disappointed at the same time," said Federer. "I’m sure that I’ll be back, but it’s a shame."
Federer had entered the match the favourite in what observers were calling a dream title match that had come one round too soon. But Nadal responded with the game of his life to reach his first final at Roland Garros.
In doing so, Nadal avenged a loss to Federer in Key Biscayne two months ago and extended his winning streak to 23 matches, all on clay. The Spaniard is now the youngest men's finalist at Roland Garros since Michael Chang, the champion in 1989 at age 17.
Nadal raced to an early lead against a subdued Federer and rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the final set. The Spanish player’s ability to chase down shots made Federer indecisive and forced him into uncustomary unforced errors.
The last, a forehand long to end an 18-shot rally, gave Nadal victory.
The French Open is the one grand-slam title missing from the Swiss star’s impressive trophy cabinet.
Last year the Swiss made a promising start before falling to three-times French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten in the third round.
"The last two years have been too disappointing for me at the French, so I just have to focus on the early rounds," said Federer before the tournament started.
"Once I get going, that’s when I will start to become really dangerous at Roland Garros."
Despite Friday's disappointing loss, Federer can still look back on six titles won so far this year. The defeat against Nadal was only his third loss in 49 matches stretching back to last summer's Athens Olympics.
swissinfo with agencies
Roger Federer lost to Spaniard Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals of the French Open in four sets 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Federer, who comes from Basel, suffered his third defeat in 49 games this season.
Federer is ranked world number one, Nadal number four.
Federer has won six titles so far this year: Doha, Rotterdam, Dubai, Indian Wells, Miami and Hamburg.
He has never won the French Open. Federer has been knocked out in the first round at Roland Garros on three occasions.
Last year he started brightly in Paris, before losing to Brazil’s Gustavo Kuerten in the third round.
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