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Federer gets shut out of US Open

Tough luck in New York for Roger Federer Reuters

Roger Federer has missed his chance for the ultimate final in New York after losing the US Open semifinal to Serbia’s Novak Djokovic 5-7, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, 7-5.

The Swiss tennis ace had two match points but let them slip away during the exciting five-set game at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday. Federer told reporters that the loss would motivate him to work harder.

“I feel like I’m playing well, and I would have deserved to be in the finals,” said Federer after the match.

“It’s a tough loss for me, but it’s only going to fuel me with more motivation to practice hard and get back to Grand Slam finals, which I haven’t been in for the last three Slams.”

Federer, 29, won the US Open every year from 2004 to 2008 and was runner-up in 2009. This was the fourth straight year that Federer had faced off against Djokovic on the final weekend of the US Open.

The 23-year-old Djokovic now goes on to Sunday’s final against Spain’s Rafael Nadal, who beat Russian Mikhail Youzhny 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 on Saturday. It will be 24-year-old Nadal’s first time in US Open final.

Many tennis enthusiasts had been hoping that it would be Federer versus Nadal in that match. The two top players have played seven Grand Slam championship matches against each other, but never the US Open.

Forehand fortune

By the end of Saturday’s nail-biting three-hour, 44-minute match, Federer’s strong forehand was no longer up to par.

Djokovic, on the other hand, repelled Federer’s match point balls with a steady forehand of his own.

“You feel like you left something out there if you lose a match having had match point,” Federer said, but added, “It wasn’t a final, so I’m not as disappointed if it would have been a final.”

Djokovic told the media that he felt very lucky.

“To be honest, I was just closing my eyes and hitting forehands as fast as I can on match point. If it goes in, it goes in. If it goes out, just another loss to Federer in the US Open,” Djokovic said.

The statistics were generally not in Federer’s favour. The Basel native ended up with 66 unforced errors; his Serbian colleague 38.

Saturday was also the first time Federer had lost a 6-1 set at the US Open since a 2001 defeat against Andre Agassi.

Back to #3

Saturday’s loss marked the end of the Grand Slam year for Federer. By his standards it was a year of highs and lows. At the Australian Open he earned his 16th major title, yet he failed to reach the finals in the other three Grand Slam tournaments.

As of Monday Federer will officially be ranked number three again after Djokovic. Meanwhile, the gap between him and Nadal will increase by another 960 or 1,760 points.

Federer said that he would really like to have played against Nadal and lamented missing the chance by just a point. He also said he would be rooting for his Spanish archrival.

“I won’t watch,” Federer said, “but I hope he wins.”

A player who holds all four grand slam titles – the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open – at the same time is said to have achieved the Grand Slam. A “true” Grand Slam is when all titles are won in the same calendar year.

Rod Laver is the only male player in the open era (post-1968) to achieve a Grand Slam (which was also “true”), in 1969. Andre Agassi and Roger Federer have won all four titles but in different years (a career Grand Slam).

Grand slam titles (open era):
16: Roger Federer
14: Pete Sampras
11: Björn Borg
8: Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl

The US Open was played this year from August 30 to September 12.

From 2004 to 2008, Swiss player Roger Federer enjoyed an undefeated run at Flushing Meadows, collecting five titles and winning 33 matches in a row.

But in the 2009 final, Federer was defeated by Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro in five sets. Del Potro was unable to defend his title after injuring himself in January.

Only American Bill Tilden has managed to do better than Federer. In the 1930s he won six straight US Open titles.

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