Roger Federer’s French Open campaign was derailed by reformed playboy Ernests Gulbis Sunday when the Swiss suffered his worst result at Roland Garros since 2004 in a 6-7(5) 7-6(3) 6-2 4-6 6-3 defeat in the fourth round.
The 2009 champion and fourth seed was the second best for most of the match and made an unusually high number of unforced errors — 59 — on the Philippe Chatrier show court to hand the 18th seed from Latvia the biggest win of his career.
“I was a bit all over the place,” admitted Federer. “I’m clearly very disappointed and have a lot of regrets now. It was a tough match and Gulbis did a good job to hang around and come back.”
“On my side, I wished I could have played a bit better. I feel I should have done better from the baseline and I didn’t really get into his service games.”
Gulbis chased down every shot, struck his groundstrokes with real venom and fully deserved his first grand slam quarter-final place since 2008, also in Paris. A man who freely admits he wasted his talent since his breakthrough at Roland Garros six years ago, Gulbis said earlier in the week that he was “jumping on the last-chance train” at 25.
He plays Tomas Berdych of Czech Republic in the last eight after the sixth seed beat American John Isner in straight sets. “It is the biggest win of my career,” said Gulbis. “I have been playing well in France, winning tournaments in Marseille and Nice and I hope the next one will be here.” Federer last failed to reach the quarter-finals here in 2004 when he was knocked out in the third round.
Gulbis went 4-2 up in the first set when a Federer backhand sailed long as the Swiss peppered the court with unforced errors. Federer, however, broke straight back as a Gulbis forehand went wide and the two players upped the tempo in the tie-break.
Djokovic has it easy
World No. 2 Novak Djokovic of Serbia continued his French Open stroll when he decimated local favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-1 6-4 6-1 on Sunday to reach the quarter-finals.
Djokovic, chasing the only grand slam title to elude him, was never troubled by the 13th-seeded Tsonga, who suffered an embarrassing defeat in 89 minutes one year after making it to the last four in Paris. The Frenchman’s ordeal ended on the first match point when he sent a backhand long as Djokovic reached the quarter-finals of a grand slam for the 20th consecutive time. He will next continued…