Black night as Federer, Sharapova crash out

Agence France-Presse . New York | Published: 00:05, Sep 05,2018

 
 

Roger Federer of Switzerland waves to crowd after losing to John Millman of Australia in their US Open round of 16 match in New York on Monday. — Reuters photo

Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova crashed out of the US Open on Monday in back-to-back seismic shocks under the Arthur Ashe Stadium lights.
Federer, the five-time champion and looking to end his 10-year wait to add to his total in New York, was beaten by Australia’s world number 55 John Millman 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (9/7), 7-6 (7/3).
It was 20-time major winner Federer’s first loss against a player outside the top 50 in 41 meetings at the US Open.
He finished with 77 unforced errors and 10 double faults.
It was the world number two’s earliest defeat at the tournament since a fourth round loss to Tommy Robredo in 2013.
The result meant there would be no quarter-final showdown with old rival Novak Djokovic who will now face Millmann instead.
Sharapova, the 2006 champion, suffered a second successive last-16 exit in New York, blasted off court by Carla Suarez Navarro.
The Spanish player marked her 30th birthday in style with a memorable 6-4, 6-3 win over the five-time major champion whose last Slam title was in Paris in 2014.
Federer had cruised through the first set against Millman who was appearing in his maiden last-16 at the majors.
But the Swiss, who lost in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon where he was defending champion, began to look every bit the 37-year-old he is as he struggled in the suffocating humidity.
He squandered two set points in the second set and another in the third set tiebreak as the errors piled up.
Federer was 4-2 up in the fourth set but was reeled in and two back-to-back double faults sent him 1/4 down in the tiebreak.
The contest was over shortly before 1 a.m. when he hit a weary forehand wide.
Djokovic reached the quarter-finals with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 victory over unseeded Joao Sousa.
Djokovic, who ended a 54-week title drought with his 13th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, said he was relieved to get past 68th-ranked Sousa in straight sets as temperatures soared again.
Marin Cilic, seeded seven, beat David Goffin of Belgium 7-6 (8/6), 6-2, 6-4 and next takes on Japan’s Kei Nishikori who saw off German veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-2, 7-5.
Cilic defeated Nishikori in the 2014 final when he won his only Slam title.
Sharapova, the 2006 champion who was trying to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2012, hit 38 unforced errors and dropped serve six times.
The defeat also ended the former world number one’s perfect record of 23 wins -- 22 of them on Arthur Ashe Stadium -- in night sessions at Flushing Meadows.
Suarez Navarro, who was also a quarter-finalist in New York in 2013, goes on to face American 14th seed Madison Keys, the runner-up in 2017.
Meanwhile, Naomi Osaka reached her first Grand Slam quarter-final, beating Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 6-3, 2-6, 6-4, tearfully admitting she was prepared to ‘break a leg’ to win the match.
Osaka will next face Lesia Tsurenko, the 36th-ranked Ukrainian who beat Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova 6-7 (3/7), 7-5, 6-2.

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