Federer blames injury after he is dethroned by steely Berdych

The clock on Centre Court showed 3.46pm and 2-1 in sets, 5-4 in games, and advantage to Tomas Berdych, who was preparing to serve in the shadow of the Royal Box end. At the other end Roger Federer was shuffling on the balls of his feet, at quarter-final match point down for the second time in four minutes. On the first occasion the great Swiss master of the grass court game, the defending Wimbledon champion, had saved himself with a volley at the net. Second time round there was no dodging the bullet from the racket of Tomas Berdych.

The 12th seed from the Czech Republic been shooting from the hip all afternoon, serving right-handed howitzers at 130mph plus. The question was: could he hold his nerve afinish off the job and the six-time champion of SW19? The answer was emphatic. Berdych’s bullet reached 138mph, his deadliest delivery of the day. Federer managed to get his racket to the ball and deflect it back across the net but the Czech was left with a gimmie of a forehand, which he duly buried. It was Roger and out.

There would be no final thriller for Federer this year, no place in the record books alongside the two seven-times winners of the men's singles, Willie Renshaw and Pete Sampras. The No 1 seed cut a forlorn figure as he collected his rackets and headed for the exit, briefly turning to acknowledge the crowd as the pain of the scoreline – 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 – sank in.

Federer had seemed ill at ease from the start of his 12th Wimbledon campaign – on the back of his losses to Lleyton Hewitt in Halle (only his second on grass in seven years) and to Robin Soderling at the quarter-final of the French Open at Roland Garros. After his fate was sealed with his first failure to reach the final since 2002 (when he was beaten in the first round by Mario Antic), the man from Basle claimed he had been hamstrung in every respect.

"I am struggling with a hamstring and a little bit of a back issue," Federer maintained. "That does not quite allow me to play the way I would like to. It's frustrating, to say the least. When you're hurting, it's a combination of many things. You just don't feel as comfortable. You can't concentrate on each and every point.

"Under the circumstances I think I played a decent match but I've been feeling bad for the past two, three matches. It's just not good and healthy to play under these kind of conditions. If there's anything good about this it's that I'm going to get some rest; that's for sure."

There will be no rest for the winner. Berdych's prize is a second Grand Slam semi-final date in four weeks, having got to the last four in Paris after disposing of Andy Murray in round four. The 24-year-old will meet the Serbian No 3 seed Novak Djokovic, who made routine work of dismissing Yen-Shun Lu of Chinese Taipei, Andy Roddick's fourth round conqueror, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.

It was not the first time that Berdych had got the better of Federer. He claimed the celebrated Swiss scalp during the Athens Olympics in 2004 and at the Miami Open in January this year. Managing the feat in the Court of the Wimbledon King, though, was an effort that registered on the upper reaches of tennis' Richter Scale.

That Federer was some way below regal par was clear from the opening few games as his groundstrokes and volleys found the net with regularity and as Berdych's rocket serve eluded him. Not that the Czech was blessed with just the one brand of ammunition. He fired off an impressive array of winners on Federer's serve, breaking him in the seventh game of the opening set, twice in the third set, and – crucially – again in the seventh game of the fourth set.

Berdych, the first Czech semi-finalist in the men's singles since Ivan Lendl in 1990, was more surprised by news of Federer's injuries than by his own victory. He was also bemused by the dethroned champion's less than gracious assertion that he had been "unlucky on the big points".

"You can take it both ways," Berdych said. "You can say that he was unlucky, or you can say that maybe the opponent was a little bit better and he just won the big points against him."

News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Extras
indybest
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
music
Sport
football
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home