No Rafa vs. Roger at U.S. Open af­ter Fed­erer ousted

Truro Daily News - - SPORTS -

So much for the rst U.S. Open matchup be­tween Roger Fed­erer and Rafael Nadal.

Fed­erer failed to live up to his end of the bar­gain.

Hours af­ter Nadal did his part with an easy-as-can-be vic­tory to get to the semi nals at Flush­ing Mead­ows, Fed­erer was un­able to join him for what would have been the most-an­tic­i­pated show­down of the en­tire two weeks, wast­ing chances to take con­trol and miss­ing shots he nor­mally makes in a 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (8), 6-4 loss to 2009 cham­pion Juan Martin del Potro on Wednesday night.

“He came up with the goods when he needed to,” Fed­erer said, “and I helped him a lit­tle bit some­times, too, maybe.”

Fed­erer de­scribed him­self as too “edgy” and said “that lit­tle magic was miss­ing.”

He also in­sisted that, un­like just about ev­ery­one else, he did not spend any time at all pon­der­ing a pos­si­ble matchup with Nadal at the only Grand Slam tour­na­ment where they’ve never met. eir won­der­ful ri­valry has in­cluded 37 matches, and at least two nals at each of the other ma­jors.

“I had strug­gled too much through­out the tour­na­ment,” Fed­erer said, “to think too far ahead.”

Given that he is 36, and Nadal is 31, per­haps it is time for the ten­nis world to con­cede that Roger vs. Rafa at the U.S. Open just will never hap­pen.

is is the sixth oc­ca­sion when they were a round away from play­ing in New York, but one or the other lost — in­clud­ing eight years ago, when del Potro beat Nadal in the semi­fi­nals, then Fed­erer in the nal to end the Swiss star’s run of ve con­sec­u­tive ti­tles at the tour­na­ment.

This time, Fed­erer en­tered the quar­ter nals 18-0 in Grand Roger Fed­erer re­turns a shot dur­ing his quar­ter

Slam play this sea­son, in­clud­ing ti­tles at the Aus­tralian Open and Wim­ble­don to raise his record count to 19 ma­jor cham­pi­onships.

But he tweaked his back at a tour­na­ment last month, cur­tail­ing his prepa­ra­tion for the U.S. Open, and he was not quite at his best for stretches. He needed

ve sets to win each of his rst two matches — and Wednesday, he suc­cumbed to the del Potro’s fa­mil­iar for­mula of mas­sive fore­hands and boom­ing serves .

Be­fore the U.S. Open be­gan, Nadal was hon­est as can be when asked whether he hoped to face nal match at the U.S. Open.

Fed­erer. The an­swer, the No. 1-seeded Nadal said earnestly, was no — be­cause he’d rather go up against some­one eas­ier to beat.

Well, as it turns out, he’ll face the 24th-seeded del Potro to­day. It is the rst ma­jor semi nal for del Potro since 2013. He missed two years worth of Grand Slam tour­na­ments un­til Wim­ble­don in 2016 be­cause of three op­er­a­tions on his left wrist.

The other semi­fi­nal features two men who have never been this far at any ma­jor: No. 12 Pablo Car­reno Busta of Spain vs. No. 28 Kevin An­der­son of South Africa.

AP PHOTO

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