Not even Tommy Robredo saw it coming.
“I wasn’t thinking that I was going to win,” Robredo said. “I just was going into the court trying to give my best and we’ll see, no?”
The No. 19-seeded Robredo shocked No. 7 seed Roger Federer 7-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Monday at the US Open, ending the anticipation of a potential Federer vs. Rafael Nadal quarterfinal.
“I struggled throughout, which is not very satisfying,” Federer said of the straight-set defeat. “I mean, Tommy did a good job to keep the ball in play and make it difficult for me today. I missed so many opportunities. Rhythm was off…I kind of feel like I beat myself, you know, without taking any credit away from Tommy.”
Robredo was 0-10 career against Federer until the Swiss committed a hefty 45 unforced errors in the humid and rainy conditions at Flushing Meadows.
“It’s great to be one of the ‘youngers’ still doing good, because I feel very young,” laughed the 31-year-old Robredo.
The loss ends an 11-year streak where Federer had reached a Slam final every year since 2002.
Robredo will next meet Nadal, who rebounded from a tough start to defeat German Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 late Monday night.
“I think in the first set I didn’t feel that I had the control of the points from the baseline,” Nadal said after his 19th hardcourt win of the year. “When I was serving, was okay. I didn’t have a lot of problems with my serve during the whole first set. But when I was returning, I thought I need to play a little bit more aggressive with my background and with my forehand. I was thinking about that. But then when I was hitting the ball, I was not able to do it. Is true that I had an amazing opportunity with the 6-5, Love-40. I had to win that set there. But even like this, in the first set when I was returning, I felt that I should do more.”
Other winners into the quarters were No. 4 David Ferrer battling past No. 18 Janko Tipsarevic 7-6(2), 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(3), and No. 8 Richard Gasquet saving a matchpoint in a late late-night war weathering a career-high 39 aces from No. 10 Milos Raonic to win 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 2-6, 7-6(11), 7-5.
“He played better down the stretch than I did,” Raonic said. “I think that was pretty clear. Created a lot more opportunities. I struggled a lot more on my service games. I think that’s pretty much what it came down to. Playing that way in the end, it only matters who wins that last point.”
On the women’s side only three matches were completed due to the rains, with unseeded Slovak Daniela Hantuchova ending the run of fellow un-seed, American Alison Riske 6-3, 5-7, 6-2; Italian veteran Flavia Pennetta upsetting No. 21 Simona Halep 6-2, 7-6(3); and No. 10-seeded Italian Roberta Vinci topping countrywoman Camila Giorgi 6-4, 6-2.
“When you stop for such a long time, like seven months, you feel different,” said Pennetta regarding her 2012 wrist surgery. “You might not have a problem in your hand, but you start having problems in your leg or abdominal muscle or something, because you aren’t used to playing. Your body needs more time to recover and it’s really difficult. My results since I came back this year have been up and down. But I was always working hard, still working every day with my coach, with my physio, with the physical coach and my psychologist, too. It hasn’t been easy, I can tell you that. I’ve cried a lot. But I love this sport.”
Pennetta will next face her countrywoman Vinci in the quarters.
“We know each other really well,” Pennetta said of Vinci. “I know her since I think 20 years or more because we live almost in the same place. Just 35, 45 kilometer my house from her house. So is going to be really I think nice for us because one of us is going to have the chance to be in the semifinal. In the other way, it’s always not easy to play with your friend. But she do it yesterday and the day before with Knapp, I did it with Sara the second day, so we used to that and we try to play just tennis and then that’s it.”
Hantuchova could not close it out in straights, but crossed the finish line to set up a quarterfinal meeting with either No. 2 Victoria Azarenka or No. 13 Ana Ivanovic, who will play Tuesday.
“She played extremely well at the end of the second set,” Hantuchova said of Riske. “Just really proud the way I fought back into it in the third, raised my level when I needed to. Obviously the serve was working really well today. I think that was the main difference.”
On tap for Tuesday will be (2) Victoria Azarenka vs. (13) Ana Ivanovic, (24) Ekaterina Makarova vs. (5) Na Li, (1) Novak Djokovic vs. unseeded Spaniard Marcel Granollers, (1) Serena Williams vs. (18) Carla Suarez Navarro, (3) Andy Murray vs. Denis Istomin, (21) Mikhail Youzhny vs. Lleyton Hewitt, and (9) Stanislas Wawrinka vs. (5) Tomas Berdych.
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