Surprise loss for Federer at Shanghai Masters
The Swiss tennis player says his defeat is not caused by his back problems but a brilliant game played by Frenchman Gilles Simon.11 November 2008
SHANGHAI - Title holder Roger Federer fell to a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 defeat in his opening Red group match at the Masters Cup on Monday as Gilles Simon turned the tables for victory.
It was the second straight year that the Swiss got off to a surprisingly poor start at the season-ending event he has won four of the last five years.
The victory in two hours, seven minutes was a horror show for Federer, who has been treated for more than a week with back pain.
But the Swiss said he was not bothered by that problem - it was more the game of his opponent.
"Actually, there was no pain," said Federer, who lost his opening match a year ago against Fernando Gonzalez before going on to lift the title.
"I was happy the way it held up. I was sort of sceptical going into the match because the practise sessions haven't been hard at all. I really tried to not push it at all. I was actually happy that the back felt okay.
"The better you play, the better he plays. He's quite a unique player and he makes you work hard and runs very well."
The top seed in the absence of Rafael Nadal committed 50 unforced errors and converted on only two of ten break point chances.
Simon also beat the Swiss in their first meeting, a second-round upset in Toronto last summer on hard court.
"Today shots maybe I missed, I normally don't miss," said Federer. "I think that's just lack of practise and just uncertainty where my back was today.
"All this comes together at the end the day, sometimes against top players it's not enough. Now at least I have a match under my belt, especially three sets, and I hope I can play better in the next one."
Federer's rivals in the round-robin grouping were due for a later match, with Andy Roddick taking on British form player Andy Murray.
The loss was only the fourth for Federer at a year-end event, his record now standing 27-4.
[dpa / Expatica]