Perhaps it was just a case of an opponent playing a fantastic match.
Either way, Federer is quickly losing momentum on the ATP Tour after falling to Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open on Wednesday, 6-7, 4-6, 6-3, 3-6.
Federer had quite the history against Berdych coming into the match. History was on his side. He was 11-4 lifetime against the 26-year-old Czech.
But FedEx was defeated by Berdych in Cincinnati last year, so it wasn't out of the question he could lose. It just wasn't probable given Federer's play this year.
When you get older on the circuit, opportunities for Grand Slam singles titles become few and far between. Rafael Nadal is already breaking down and he's only 26 years old.
After capturing Wimbledon this year, Federer had a legitimate shot at the U.S. Open title. In fact, he was the favorite coming into Flushing Meadows. Especially with Nadal out of the tournament due to tendinitis, this was a prime opportunity for the 31-year-old Swiss to add to his collection of Grand Slam singles titles.
Now he goes home early, wasting a chance to grab his 18th career major championship and opening the door for Novak Djokovic, or Murray. He must wait until the 2013 Australian Open for another shot at glory, and who knows how Djokovic and Murray will be playing at that point.
Don't think Federer is taking this lightly. He's a smart man. He knows what he's up against as he ages.
Headed into Wednesday's match against Berdych, Federer was on top of the world.
After Wednesday's match, questions once again surround the legendary figure.
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