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

Community cardiac awareness dinner and show to be held

Continued focus to bring cardiac catheterization lab to Red Deer

Red Deer businesses react to 2.02 per cent tax increase for 2018

Chamber would prefer zero increase, while DBA thinks it’s reasonable

Bring on the rodeo says Red Deer County mayor

Canadian Finals Rodeo’s move to Red Deer good for whole region, says Red Deer County Mayor Jim Wood

Watch: Red Deer woman target of robbery in broad daylight, near police station

He looked me in the eye and said ‘I am going to kill you.’

Carjacking suspect arrested

Suspect behind failed carjacking attempts among long list of people arrested over last 10 days

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

RDC chosen to host 2019 men’s volleyball national championship

Sports enthusiasts in Red Deer will have more to look forward to… Continue reading

Police is still looking for Second World War army passport owner

No one has claimed a rare Second World War German army passport… Continue reading

DJ Sabatoge and TR3 Band kick off Sylvan Lake’s Winterfest 2018

Central Alberta’s youngest DJ will open for TR3 Band kicking off Town… Continue reading

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month