Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will not reprise their meeting in the ATP Masters Monte Carlo final for a fourth consecutive year, as the world No. 2 Federer was upset 6-4, 7-5 in the third round Thursday by Swiss countryman Stan Wawrinka.
Federer’s weaker backhand wing was not the culprit today, as the former No. 1 pressed hard off the forehand side in an effort to create opportunities, but instead created 21 of 31 unforced errors off the forehand alone.
It was the first time Wawrinka had won a set off Federer in three meetings, and keeps alive a streak that hasn’t seen the former No. 1 raise a trophy since last October in Basel. It was the first time this year Federer lost prior to the semis at an event, with three semifinal efforts and a runner-up at the Australian Open where he lost his composure against Rafael Nadal in the fifth set.
Prior to the meeting, Federer said of Wawrinka, “He was always a guy taking one step back, two steps forward. So it’s nice to see him playing more consistently now on a regular basis. It’s our first match on clay against each other. I’m excited to see how it’s going to turn out.”
Federer is now decidedly less excited after falling to 18-5 on the season, with the 27 year old now in danger of losing his No. 2 ranking.
The only other matches completed on the rained-out Thursday were No. 3 seed Novak Djokovic recovering from a second-set hiccup to defeat Spaniard Al Montanes 6-1, 6-7(4), 6-0; No. 7 Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco winning the all-Spanish meeting with No. 10 David Ferrer 6-2, 6-1; and German qualifier Andreas Beck advancing to a meeting with Wawrinka after a grinding 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 upset of Argentina’s Juan Monaco.
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