World No. 1 Roger Federer suffered his earliest exit tonight at the US Open or a hardcourt Slam since 2003, the year before he first won in Flushing. Federer was stunned in four sets by big-serving Tomas Berdych who bested the Swiss 76, 64, 36 63 to reach the semifinals at the US Open.
Because of Mardy Fish’s withdrawl on Monday, Federer didn’t play a match since Saturday. But the 31-year-old said the layoff wasn’t a factor.
“I don’t think the schedule was a problem for me,” Federer said. “I should come in here with tons of energy and ready to go. Who knows, you know, if you get that day, that match in with Fish, come through with more confidence, maybe the first three matches didn’t quite give me that. Who knows? I don’t put that down as a negative, really.
“I just didn’t come up with the goods tonight. It was unfortunate.”
Federer had led Berdych 11-4 in their career head-to-head, but had split their most recent six meetings. Berdych, though nearly beat the Swiss at Madrid earlier this year and did pull the upset in their last meeting at Slam at Wimbledon in 2010.
The loss was Federer’s first at night (23-1) at the US Open and he becomes the first top seed seed at the tournament to fall before the semifinals since 2001.
“I’m disappointed,” Federer added. “I really expect myself to play better tonight. Especially at night I have had such a great record. I don’t know. I felt good, you know. Such an amazing summer I had. I really thought I was going to come out and play a solid match. I didn’t do that tonight. Obviously there is a bit of a letdown now.”
The 31-year-old will remain ranked No. 1 in the 52 week system but will likely lose ground in the 2012 points race to Novak Djokovic who is in the quarterfinals tomorrow night against Juan Martin Del Potro.
“I’ve got to go back to the drawing board from here and see what’s really the priority, if that’s a priority for the end of the year,” Federer said of the No. 1 ranking. “So I don’t know right now. The goal has been achieved, but now this is disappointing for me. We’ll see where I go from now and if I go to Davis Cup or not, about what’s to come for the remainder for the season.
“No. 1 has another a role to play, but this obviously is a setback,” he said. “But again, season is not over. I hope to finish strong at the end, and particularly in the indoor season then.”
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