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Federer Loses to 'Baby Fed'

'Grigor was able to put me away,' he says after shock defeat
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 4, 2019 12:30 AM CDT
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Grigor Dimitrov, of Bulgaria, reacts during his match against Roger Federer, of Switzerland, during the quarterfinals of the US Open tennis tournament Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, in New York.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
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(Newser) – Betrayed by his 38-year-old body, and his forehand, Roger Federer is done at the US Open. Federer's upper back and neck gave him trouble, he kept missing makeable shots, and he kept giving away the lead against a guy he'd never lost to. It all added up to getting beaten 3-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 by 78th-ranked Grigor Dimitrov in the quarterfinals before a stunned crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Tuesday night. "Grigor was able to put me away," Federer said. "I fought with what I had." Chasing a 21st Grand Slam title, and sixth at Flushing Meadows, Federer appeared to be flexing his upper back after some points and said afterward that he began feeling something in that area in the afternoon, the AP reports. He took a rare-for-him medical timeout after the fourth set, leaving the court with a trainer.

When play resumed after a break of nearly 10 minutes, Federer's form never picked up. "He started slowing down a little bit," Dimitrov said. "For sure, in the end, he was not 100% of himself." Federer had been 7-0 in their head-to-head series, taking 16 of the previous 18 sets against Dimitrov, who is a decade younger and long ago was dubbed "Baby Fed" because of his similar one-handed backhand and all-court game. The No. 3-seeded Federer could have become the oldest man to reach a Grand Slam semifinal since Jimmy Connors was 39 in 1991 at the US Open. "Just disappointed it's over, because I did feel like I was actually playing really well after a couple of rocky starts," Federer said. "It's just a missed opportunity, to some extent."

(Read more Roger Federer stories.)

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