NEW YORK: Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova crashed out of the US Open on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) 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 (7), 7-6 (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 very hot. I felt I couldn’t get any air and I was sweating more and more and became more and more uncomfortable,” explained Federer.
“I guess I was happy when the match was over.”
Maria Sharapova AFP PHOTO
He added: “John dealt with it better — he’s from Brisbane, one of the most humid places in the world!”
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 quarterfinal showdown with old rival Novak Djokovic who will now face Millmann instead.
“I have so much respect for Roger and everything he’s done for the game. He’s been a hero of mine,” said Millman.
“Today he was definitely not at his best. But I’ll take it.”
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.
Sharapova 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.
“I thought she played really well. I thought in today’s conditions, her ball was getting up on me a little bit more, much more than my previous three opponents that I played,” said Sharapova.
“I didn’t take care of the chances that I had. By ‘chances,’ I mean the balls that were a little bit shorter.”
Suarez Navarro, who was also a quarterfinalist in New York in 2013, goes on to face American 14th seed Madison Keys, the runner-up in 2017.
“Maria has played here at night many times so I knew I needed to be aggressive, focussed and play solid,” said the 30th seeded Spaniard.
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.
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