For 2nd straight Grand Slam, exit comes in quar­ter­fi­nals

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Howard Fendrich

Fed­erer falls to To­mas Berdych of the Czech Re­pub­lic in quar­ter­fi­nal bout at All Eng­land Club

WIM­BLE­DON, Eng­land — Roger Fed­erer cov­ered his face with both hands, no doubt wish­ing he were do­ing any­thing at that moment other than dis­sect­ing his lat­est ear­lier-than-ex­pected Grand Slam exit.

This one came at Wim­ble­don, no less — the tour­na­ment that he loves more than any other, that he ruled for so long.

Af­ter all the vic­to­ries, all the cham­pi­onships, all the records, Fed­erer now must deal with a new streak: The owner of 16 ma­jor ti­tles, the man widely con­sid­ered the best player in ten­nis his­tory, has lost two con­sec­u­tive Grand Slam quar­ter­fi­nals in the span of a month, both against op­po­nents who have yet to win a sin­gle such tro­phy.

Fed­erer ar­rived at the All Eng­land Club aim­ing to reach the fi­nal for the eighth year in a row and win a record-ty­ing sev­enth ti­tle. In­stead, he leaves be­fore the semi­fi­nals, beaten 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 Wed­nes­day by No. 12 To­mas Berdych of the Czech Re­pub­lic.

On June 1, Fed­erer lost in the French Open

Con­tin­ued from C1 quar­ter­fi­nals as the de­fend­ing cham­pion there, too, putting an end to his un­prece­dented 23 con­sec­u­tive ap­pear­ances in ma­jor semi­fi­nals.

“God, I can’t wait for Paris and Wim­ble­don to come around next year again, that’s for sure, be­cause they’ve been frus­trat­ing tour­na­ments for me, even though they weren’t too bad. Quar­ters is a de­cent re­sult,” Fed­erer said, as if try­ing to con­vince him­self along with ev­ery­one else.

“Ob­vi­ously, peo­ple think quar­ters is shock­ing, but peo­ple would die to play in quar­ter­fi­nal stages of Grand Slam play,” he added, fid­get­ing dur­ing his news con­fer­ence. “It’s not some­thing I’m used to do­ing — los­ing in quar­ter­fi­nals — be­cause it’s not some­thing I’ve done in the last six years.”

Fed­erer placed at least some of the blame for this loss on two pre­vi­ously undis­closed health is­sues: a both­er­some back and right thigh.

“I couldn’t play the way I wanted to play,” said Fed­erer. “You just don’t feel as com­fort­able. You can’t con­cen­trate on each and ev­ery point, be­cause you do feel the pain some­times.”

Against Berdych, Fed­erer whiffed on a fore­hand in the fourth game, but oth­er­wise gave no ob­vi­ous in­di­ca­tion he was trou­bled. Berdych didn’t no­tice any­thing wrong.

“I don’t know if he just (is) look­ing for some ex­cuses af­ter the match or some­thing like that,” said Berdych, who also beat Fed­erer at Key Bis­cayne, Fla., in March, af­ter los­ing to him eight times in a row.

Berdych, whose 130-mph serve con­stantly got him out of trou­ble, never had been past the quar­ter­fi­nals at a Grand Slam un­til Paris. If he’s go­ing to reach his first ma­jor fi­nal, he’ll need to elim­i­nate No. 3 No­vak Djokovic on Fri­day. Djokovic cruised 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 over 82nd-ranked Yen-hsun Lu of Tai­wan, who up­set Andy Rod­dick in the fourth round.

Also Fri­day, Rafael Nadal — ranked No. 1, seeded No. 2 — will meet No. 4 Andy Mur­ray, who is try­ing to be­come the first Bri­tish man to win Wim­ble­don since 1936. Bri­tain hasn’t even put a man in the fi­nal since 1938.

“A huge, huge deal for us,” Mur­ray said af­ter get­ting past No. 10 Jo-Wil­fried Tsonga 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5), 6-2, 6-2 to reach the semi­fi­nals for the sec­ond straight year. “Win­ning a Grand Slam is ob­vi­ously why you play the game. But I’m a long, long way from that.’’

Nadal dis­patched No. 6 Robin Soder­ling 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4), 61 in a re­match of the French Open fi­nal, which also was won by the Spa­niard.

The women’s semi­fi­nals to­day serve up No. 1 Ser­ena Wil­liams and three long shots. It’s No. 21 Vera Zvonareva of Rus­sia vs. un­seeded Tsve­tana Pironkova of Bul­garia, and Wil­liams vs. un­seeded Pe­tra Kvi­tova of the Czech Re­pub­lic.

Tom Love­lock

Roger Fed­erer said af­ter Wed­nes­day’s loss that his quar­ter­fi­nal ex­its at both Wim­ble­don and the French Open were ‘frus­trat­ing.’

To­mas Berdych

beat Roger Fed­erer in four sets.

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