Home News Federer knocked out by Gilles Simon at Rogers Cup

Federer knocked out by Gilles Simon at Rogers Cup

Published on 24/07/2008

24 July 2008

TORONTO -Top-ranked Roger Federer was knocked out of the Rogers Cup with a 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 loss to France’s Gilles Simon in a second-round match Wednesday night.

Federer, who won the tournament in 2004 and ’06, was playing his first match since losing the Wimbledon final in five sets to Rafael Nadal.

Federer, a finalist here last year, became the first top seeded player to lose in his first match here since Lleyton Hewitt in 2002.

"The problem was my game today," Federer said.

It was the biggest surprise of a soggy day at the tournament that saw play disrupted for nearly six hours by thundershowers.

Second-seeded Nadal is the obvious favourite now, though he didn’t appear stellar in his first match Wednesday, struggling early on before ousting Ottawa-born qualifier Jesse Levine 6-4, 6-2.

In other notable upsets Croatian Marin Cilic ousted 12th-seeded Spaniard Tommy Robredo 6-3, 6-4; Sweden’s Robin Soderling defeated No. 13 Fernando Verdasco of Spain 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-4; Argentina’s Jose Acasuso beat 14th-seeded Fernando Gonzalez of Chile 6-3, 3-6, 6-3; and Russian Igor Andreev got past 16th-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.

Of course, nothing compares with eliminating Federer.

"For sure, this is my best victory," Simon said. "I don’t think that you win so many times against the No. 1 in the world. It happens maybe in the career of a player maybe two, three times if you are lucky."

The match started off smoothly for Federer until Simon broke his serve to go up 4-2 in the second set. Federer returned the favour and held serve to 4-4 and then 5-5, but Simon held serve in the 11th game and broke Federer in the 12th to take the set.

"As the match went on I struggled a little bit to put the forehands away," Federer said.

"He’s a good baseliner. We saw that today. He moves well. He’s deceiving because he’s kind of thin and tall but moves really well for his height. He flicks a lot of balls with his backhand as well, so when you come in you can’t see where he plays."

Not in the last four years has the Swiss star seemed so beatable, and he seems frustrated, too. He buried his head in his hands and bristled after one question in the news conference.

"You wouldn’t have asked me that if I would have won, right?"

Suddenly, Federer’s side of the draw is wide open.

Fourth-seeded Nikolay Davydenko is the highest ranking player remaining there. He defeated Germany’s Tommy Haas 6-3, 7-6 (6) on Wednesday. Seventh-seeded James Blake was also a winner, beating Sweden’s Jonas Bjorkman 1-6, 6-1, 6-2.

On the other side, there’s defending champion Djokovic, as well as fifth-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer, eighth-seeded Andy Murray of Britain, and ninth-seeded Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka – who won their matches Wednesday – and of course, Nadal.

The Spaniard seemed to have the support of the fans at the beginning of his match against Levine. One fan waved a Spanish flag with "Vamos Rafa" scrawled across it.

Levine said he was rolling until he stopped to think about who he was playing, and where.

"I was in that zone, not sure really where I was, and then I kind of came to my senses and realised that I’m playing Nadal on centre court," he said. "Obviously, nerves got a little bit of me there."

Levine took advantage of an uncharacteristically sluggish Nadal early. He broke the Wimbledon champion in the fourth game before taking a 4-1 lead in the first set.

But then he failed to capitalise on a break-point chance in the next game. Up 4-3, he missed another break point, and Nadal took over from there.

Still, Nadal was impressed by Levine, who is ranked No. 123 in the world.

"He’s young, so he can be a very good player," Nadal said. "Today wasn’t my best match obviously, but I didn’t feel very bad after the beginning," he said. "If I don’t play better, I’m going to have a lot of problems."

[AP / Expatica]