Roger Federer crashed out of Wimbledon on Wednesday, losing to No. 12 seed Tomas Berdych 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.
It's just the third time Federer has lost on a grass court since losing at Wimbledon in 2002, incidently the last time the world's No. 2 failed to reach the final here. Having seen his first two matches at SW19, it maybe comes as no surprise to those who have commented that he seemed to lack the focus of previous years.
Looking at the draw, Federer's exit is absolutely fantastic news for Novak Djokovic, who will now meet Berdych in the semifinals instead of Federer. The Serbian would have been an outside bet to beat Federer in the last four, but now you have to think he is a favourite to book his place in the final.
Djovokic, who is 5-9 lifetime against Federer, now surely has the upper hand in his bid to reach the final, with a 2-0 career record against the man who knocked off the defending champion.
It is also good news for the four seeds in the bottom half of the draw. Regardless of whether it is Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Robin Soderling, or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga representing the bottom half of the draw in the final, there's absolutely no question that any road to the championship is infinitely easier when it doesn't involve running through Federer.
Say what you want about Federer, he just didn't have it working for him this fortnight. He struggled against Colombian Alejandro Falla in the opening round and he had a momentary lull against Ilija Bozoljac in round two.
Things seemed to be back on track after commanding straight sets victories against Frenchman Arnaud Clement and Austrian Jurgen Melzer, but Federer was simply outplayed against Berdych.
He converted just one of eight break points against Berdych on Wednesday and he hit 18 unforced errors compared to just 14 aces and 42 winners. He won fewer than half of the points on his second serve, and statistics aside, it's fair to say that Federer looked off balance and out of tune. His net game was solid but not spectacular, and there were times when he just seemed frustrated with the power of the Berdych game.
The contest also saw Federer drop the third set 6-1, something that has never happened before at Wimbledon.
The closing moments of the match told the story of the day, really. Federer double faulted to start his final service game at 3-5 in the fourth set and he hit a forehand two feet long when Berdych was scampering just to stay in the point. At 40-30 he sprayed another unforced error off the forehand wing, and if it wasn't for a string of unreturnable first serves, he could have crashed out right then.
Federer then saved a match point in the following game, but he failed to capitalize on a big break point on the Berdych serve. On the biggest points today, Fed just wasn't able to deliver. It came back to hurt the champion when Berdych hit a clean winner down the line to seal the victory.
For all the talk about Berdych maybe choking under the pressure, the world No. 13 came up big when it mattered most and he deserved to claim the biggest scalp of his professional career.
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