Roger Federer, served poorly & Closed poorly, too. And now he’s gone, beaten at the U.S. Open by an opponent ranked outside the top 50 for the first time in his career.
Looking slow and tired on a sweltering night in Arthur Ashe Stadium, the No. 2-seeded Federer double-faulted 10 times, failed to convert a trio of set points and lost 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (3) in the fourth round to John Millman.
It’s only the second time in Federer’s past 14 appearances at the U.S. Open that he’s lost before the quarter-finals. Last time was in 2013 when he fell in straight sets to Tommy Robredo in the fourth round. He is, after all, a five-time champion at the tournament, part of his men’s-record haul of 20 Grand Slam titles.
Federer had set points in both the second and third sets, but troubles with his serve infected his entire game and 77 unforced errors doomed the 20-time Grand Slam champion in the face of a determined attack from Millman.
Federer took the opening set courtesy of a break in Millman’s first service game.
But Federer’s first service game in the second in which he battled 14 minutes and saved six break points proved prophetic.
Federer broke first on the way to a 5-3 lead in the set, but Millman won the last four games, breaking Federer twice.
Federer wasted two set points in the 10th game, giving Millman a break chance when he missed an easy volley then double-faulting on break point.
Federer upped his game in a tight third set, and had the first chance to claim the set at 6-5 in the tiebreaker. He netted a service return, and Millman converted his second set point to seize a two sets to one lead.
When the Swiss great broke for a 4-2 lead in the fourth the Ashe crowd were on their feet.
But he gave the break back in the next game after slamming an overhead into the bottom of the net on game point.
They went on serve the rest of the way to the tiebreaker, where two of Federer’s 10 double faults, followed by a backhand into the net and a wayward forehand gave Millman a 6-1 lead.
Federer clawed his way through two match points before slapping yet another forehand wide as Millman celebrated.>