Roger Federer crashed out of Wimbledon in the quarter-finals at the hands of Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz on Wednesday, potentially bringing down the curtain on the Swiss legend’s All England Club career.
Federer, the 20-time Grand Slam title winner who turns 40 next month, lost 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 6-0 to a player 15 years his junior.
It was only the eight-time Wimbledon champion’s 14th defeat at the tournament in 119 matches and his first straight-sets loss since an opening round exit against Mario Ancic in 2002. It was also the first time he had lost a set 6-0 at Wimbledon.
“It’s super special to have played Roger here, it’s a dream come true,” said Hurkacz. “He’s done so many special things here.”
World number 18 Hurkacz, 24, had never got beyond the third round of a Grand Slam before this Wimbledon. However, boosted by having defeated world number two Daniil Medvedev in five sets in the last 16, he was a break up on a sluggish-looking Federer in the sixth game of the opening set.
The Swiss star, who underwent two knee surgeries in 2020, carved out a break for 2-0 in the second set.
He couldn’t hang on and Hurkacz levelled in the seventh game from 1-4 down before dominating the tiebreak.
Federer looked off-colour and he was quickly down 0-2 in the third set before Hurkacz wrapped up the decider in just 29 minutes.
He is only the second Polish man to reach the semi-finals at Wimbledon – Jerzy Janowicz being the other in 2013.
Up next is a clash with Matteo Berrettini of Italy, who defeated close friend Felix Augier-Aliassime 6-3, 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 to reach the semi-finals for the first time. The 25-year-old is only the second Italian to reach the last four after Nicola Pietrangeli in 1960.
“I noticed the mis-hits, awkward looking points from Roger and obviously the last set of course, 6-0,” said former champion Boris Becker commentating on Federer’s performance.
“He would never ever say if there was a niggle, but I don’t know if we will ever see the great man again here.”
Berrettini’s quest to become the first player since Boris Becker in 1985 to win Queen’s on debut and then Wimbledon moved a step closer.
“He’s probably one of my best friends on Tour so it’s never easy to play against him,” said Berrettini.
“We know each other pretty well. Today was really tricky. Good luck to him but I’m really happy for me. Felix today played some parts of the match better than me. I asked myself to be tough. I just cared about the win.”
In a match that blew hot and cold in terms of the quality – both players committing a swathe of unforced errors – Auger-Aliassime produced the more memorable ground strokes.
However, Berrettini is not all brute force as he demonstrated with some deft touches and subtle drop shots. He will though be worried that his previously almost unbreakable serve – he had dropped it just twice prior to Wednesday – was broken three times by Auger-Aliassime.
Auger-Aliassime can be content with having reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final but may rue a chance missed and of joining compatriot Denis Shapovalov in the last four.
Berrettini acknowledged that with Hurkacz’s form he will need to be at his very best on Friday.
“He beat Federer which means he’s playing well but I’m feeling confident. Good luck to him and we will see.”
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