Roger Federer Poised for Another Tough, Late-Stage Exit at French Open

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IMay 23, 2013

ROME, ITALY - MAY 19:  Roger Federer of Switzerland shows his dejection during his straight sets defeat against  in their final match during day eight of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia 2013 at the Foro Italico Tennis Centre  on May 19, 2013 in Rome, Italy.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

While Roger Federer has begun to look more and more human in recent years, few have ever questioned his ability to reach the late stages of a Grand Slam.

After all, Fed has reached the quarterfinals of every Slam tournament dating back to the Wimbledon Championships in 2004, including 22 Grand Slam final appearances over that time.

Unfortunately for the Swiss legend, the question in recent years has been can he win a Slam?

Yes, Federer ended a two-and-a-half-year Grand Slam drought at Wimbledon last summer, but losing in the final days of Slam events has become a common occurrence for the 31-year-old.

In his last 12 Grand Slam appearances, Federer has bowed out in the semifinals six times, lost in the quarterfinals four times, lost in the final once and won it all just once as well. The lone final defeat came to Rafael Nadal in the 2011 French Open.

Since 2005, Fed has reached the quarterfinals at every French Open, winning just once in 2009. He's lost in the final at Roland Garros four times while falling in the semifinals twice, including last year. 

Therefore, tennis fans can expect yet another impressive, deep run from Federer in Paris this summer. Just don't anticipate it ending with a title.

History tells us that this Slam belongs to Nadal and his vicious topspin forehand. 

Plus, since winning the French Open for the first time in 2009, Fed has lost to someone new in each of the past three Slams in the French capital.

In 2010, he lost to Robin Soderling in four sets in the quarterfinals. In 2011, he lost to Nadal in four sets in the final, and in 2012, he lost to Novak Djokovic in straight sets in the semifinals.

Of the three disappointing results, 2012's seems most likely to occur this time around.

With top-ranked contenders like Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro skipping the fortnight, according to The Associated Press (via ESPN), in Paris, Fed will have the third-best odds to win it all, which means a semifinal loss could very well be in his future depending on how the draw shakes out.

It's possible he could run into Nadal in the semifinals, which in a best-of-five-set tournament would most likely mark the end of his journey.

There's certainly no shame in losing to Nadal on clay and definitely none in exiting the semifinals at one of the four Grand Slam tournaments. But for Roger Federer, one of the all-time great tennis players with an unrivaled resume to his name, anything less than a title has to be considered a failure.

 

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