Switzerland's Roger Federer returns the ball during the fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament against Latvia's Ernests Gulbis at the Roland Garros stadium

Federer falls short of quarter-finals

So unbeatable for so long until the closing days of Grand Slam tournaments, Roger Federer is suddenly accumulating early exits. Federer’s streak of nine consecutive quarter-finals at the French Open ended Sunday with a 6-7 (5), 7-6 (3), 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 fourth-round loss to 18th-seeded Ernests Gulbis of Latvia.

PARIS — So unbeatable for so long until the closing days of Grand Slam tournaments, Roger Federer is suddenly accumulating early exits.

Federer’s streak of nine consecutive quarter-finals at the French Open ended Sunday with a 6-7 (5), 7-6 (3), 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 fourth-round loss to 18th-seeded Ernests Gulbis of Latvia.

“A lot of regrets,” Federer said. “I just couldn’t kind of figure it out.”

The 17-time Grand Slam champion had not left Roland Garros so soon since 2004, when he was beaten in the third round by Gustavo Kuerten.

After that decade-old setback, though, Federer made at least the quarter-finals at a record 36 consecutive major tournaments, a streak that ended with a second-round loss at Wimbledon last year.

Federer also put together record Slam runs of 10 finals and 23 semifinals in a row when he was at his dominant best.

Now the 32-year-old Federer has bowed out before the quarter-finals at three of the last four majors.

“I think it was the biggest, probably, win of my career,” said Gulbis, who most certainly could have dispensed with the word “probably.”

Addressing spectators who sang Federer’s first name between points, Gulbis said: “I’m sorry I had to win. I know all of you like Roger.”

The result fit with the topsy-turvy nature of this tournament: Both reigning Australian Open champions, No. 3 Stan Wawrinka and No. 2 Li Na, lost in the first round; No. 1 Serena Williams left in the second round.

Gulbis now plays No. 6 Tomas Berdych, who eliminated the last American man, No. 10 John Isner. In another quarter-final, No. 2 Novak Djokovic will face No. 8 Milos Raonic. Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and No. 24 Fernando Verdasco set up a fourth-round meeting by finishing off victories in matches suspended Saturday night because of fading light.

In women’s action, 2012 champion Maria Sharapova ran off the last nine games to come back and beat No. 19 Samantha Stosur 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 for a quarter-final berth against 35th-ranked Garbine Muguruza of Spain, the 20-year-old who stunned Williams last week. No. 18 Eugenie Bouchard will face No. 14 Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain in another quarter-final.

The fourth-seeded Federer’s resume includes the 2009 French Open title, and he was a four-time runner-up in Paris to Rafael Nadal.

But Federer was hardly in top form Sunday, making 59 unforced errors and getting broken twice while serving for a set.

That included at 5-3, 40-15 in the second, when Federer sent an overhead right to Gulbis, who whipped a backhand passing winner.

“I was lucky, I have to say,” Gulbis said about that point. “I was really lucky.”

Said Federer: “Things got tough from then on for, like, a half-hour for me.”

He lost the last five points of the second-set tiebreaker, then dropped the third set, too.

Another key moment came when Gulbis left the court with a trainer to take a medical timeout while trailing 5-2 in the fourth. As he walked out, Gulbis motioned to Federer, as if asking for permission to go.

When Gulbis returned, some fans jeered and whistled at him, and he pointed to his lower back as if to say, “Hey, I was injured.”

At his news conference, Federer alternated between sounding a little perturbed about the lengthy intermission — and resigned to the idea that what Gulbis did was within the rules.

“In the past, I guess, it’s been abused much more than today, but still, what can you tell?” Federer said. “He didn’t look hurt in any way. But if you can use it, you know, might as well do it.”

Just Posted

Two in five indebted Canadians don’t ever expect to escape debt, says survey

TORONTO — A new survey says 40 per cent of indebted Canadians… Continue reading

‘I was bawling’: Injured Bronco’s mother stunned by his progress after surgery

The mother of a hockey player paralyzed in the Humboldt Broncos bus… Continue reading

Red Deer artists celebrate the beauty of food creation — and consumption

Issy Covey and Susan Barker’s joint exhibit, Into the Kitchen, runs to Dec. 22

CAT aims for Whole-In-One in next dinner theatre comedy

It runs Nov. 29-Dec. 21 at Black Knight Inn

Isolated Iceland newly vulnerable to computer scams

REYKJAVIK, Iceland — “Hi, I hope you are not busy?” The treasurer… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: Holiday outfits on a budget

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Your community calendar

Nov. 19 The Mountview Sunnybrook Community Association will hold its AGM at… Continue reading

Opinion: Freeland has plenty to do, but little guidance from PM

Justin Trudeau frittered away a full month after the election to come… Continue reading

Kelowna picked to host 2021 Brier

Kelowna, B.C., is set to host the Canadian men’s curling championship for… Continue reading

Opinion: Progress at city hall provides good reason for optimism

In May, the City of Red Deer hired its new city manager,… Continue reading

Canada wins doubles match to advance to Davis Cup semifinals

MADRID — Canada has advanced to the semifinals at the Davis Cup… Continue reading

Nova Scotia’s Barbara Hannigan already has a Grammy, but this nod is especially personal

Picking up her third Grammy nomination is wonderful in itself, but for… Continue reading

Some binge-worthy options for holiday gift season

NEW YORK — Chances are there’s at least one TV binger on… Continue reading

Humphries formally selected for USA Bobsled’s national team

Kaillie Humphries is officially part of USA Bobsled’s national team. The two-time… Continue reading

Most Read