Fed­erer loses to pal Wawrinka in Paris

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY HOWARD FENDRICH

Stum­bling on his way to the net, Roger Fed­erer dropped his racket and fell to his knees on the red clay. Hardly the sort of grace and pre­ci­sion the world has come to ex­pect from the 17- time Grand Slam cham­pion.

There were other un­usual sights in Fed­erer’s 6- 4, 6- 3, 7- 6 ( 4) loss in the French Open quar­ter­fi­nals Tues­day against his pal and Swiss Davis Cup team­mate Stan Wawrinka.

“I made 30- some­thing er­rors to­day. He, maybe, made one,” said Fed­erer, ex­ag­ger­at­ing a bit.

Rarely in­jured and ap­pear­ing in a 62nd con­sec­u­tive ma­jor, Fed­erer re­ceived treat­ment on his right hand from a trainer. For years and years a dom­i­nant and con­fi­dent force in ten­nis, Fed­erer slumped in his changeover chair, head bowed, af­ter fall­ing be­hind two sets to none. And, ac­cord­ing to the ATP, this was the first time since a fourthround loss at the 2002 U. S. Open — back be­fore he’d won a ma­jor tro­phy — that Fed­erer failed to break an op­po­nent’s serve once in a Grand Slam match.

“I know that when I play good ten­nis, when I play my best ten­nis, I can play so heavy from both sides that it’s re­ally tough for the op­po­nent to play,” said the eighth- seeded Wawrinka, who will play 14th- seeded JoWil­fried Tsonga of France in the semi­fi­nals Fri­day. “That’s why Roger was strug­gling to­day. It’s be­cause I was play­ing so well.”

So long su­pe­rior to the younger Wawrinka, Fed­erer was de­feated for only the third time in their 19 head- to- head matches, and for the first time in five meet­ings at Grand Slam tour­na­ments.

“I tried many things,” Fed­erer said. “Ob­vi­ously I was not go­ing to leave the French Open with­out hav­ing tried ev­ery­thing out there.”

Dur­ing the eight French Opens from 2005 to 2012, Fed­erer reached at least the semi­fi­nals seven times, in­clud­ing win­ning the 2009 cham­pi­onship to com­plete a ca­reer Grand Slam. But this is the third year in a row he ex­its Roland Gar­ros in the quar­ter­fi­nals or ear­lier.

Give Wawrinka credit. Pow­er­ing the ball from the base­line in Court Suzanne Len­glen on a windy day, he pro­duced ground- strokes that cut through top­ping 30 mph ( 50 kph).

“I’m a lit­tle bit sur­prised to win that match in three sets and the way I did,” Wawrinka said, “but it’s a great feel­ing.”

Over at Court Philippe Cha­trier, Tsonga’s 6- 1, 6- 4, 4- 6, 3- 6, 6- 3 victory over No. 5 Kei Nishikori was in­ter­rupted for about 40 min­utes when one per­son was in­jured af­ter a 9- foot- long ( 3- me­ter- long) piece of metal pan­el­ing was blown off a gi­ant TV screen and fell onto packed rows of spec­ta­tors be­low.

French Open or­ga­niz­ers orig­i­nally said three peo­ple were hurt, but tour­na­ment direc­tor Gil­bert Ysern later said two were fine af­ter be­ing checked at an in­fir­mary. One went to the hos­pi­tal for an in­jured wrist.

When he fi­nally de­feated Nishikori, who was try­ing to be­come the first Ja­panese man to reach the French semi­fi­nals in 82 years, Tsonga knelt on the court, then rose and used the sole of his right shoe to write “Roland, je t’aime” — “I love you, Roland” — in the clay.

Tsonga then got down on his back, with arms and legs spread apart, as 15,000 or so of his clos-

gusts est friends stood and roared their ap­proval for their man’s sec­ond trip to the semi­fi­nals in Paris.

“You’re go­ing to be praised when you reach semis at Roland Gar­ros, as if you had al­ready won the tour­na­ment,” Tsonga said. “Whereas, in fact, well, to me it’s not over yet.”

He’s a burly guy who can rip the ball as hard as just about any­one on tour, and he and Wawrinka have split six ca­reer meet­ings.

As well as Wawrinka played Tues­day, he prob­a­bly would have been just fine with­out the point con­ceded by Fed­erer af­ter a dis­puted call in the tiebreaker.

“I played my best match in a Grand Slam tour­na­ment,” said Wawrinka, quite a state­ment con­sid­er­ing he won the 2014 Aus­tralian Open, “and my best match on clay.”

The other men’s quar­ter­fi­nals are Wed­nes­day: No. 1 No­vak Djokovic against nine- t i me cham­pion Rafael Nadal, and No. 3 Andy Mur­ray against No. 7 David Fer­rer.

One women’s semi­fi­nal was set Tues­day: No. 7 Ana Ivanovic against No. 13 Lu­cie Sa­farova.

Sa­farova, who elim­i­nated de­fend­ing cham­pion Maria Shara­pova in the fourth round, beat Gar­bine Mugu­ruza 7- 6 ( 3), 6- 3 to reach the sec­ond ma­jor semi­fi­nal of her ca­reer. Ivanovic reached her first Grand Slam semi­fi­nal since win­ning the 2008 French Open by de­feat­ing Elina Svi­tolina of Ukraine 6- 3, 6- 2.

“I don’t know if I should feel very old,” said Ivanovic, 27, “or very happy.”

AP

Switzer­land’s Roger Fed­erer gets up af­ter slip­ping in the quar­ter­fi­nal match of the French Open ten­nis tour­na­ment against Switzer­land’s Stan Wawrinka at the Roland Gar­ros sta­dium, in Paris, Tues­day, June 2.

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