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."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
News
i100
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
Extras
indybest
Sport
Lionel Messi looks on at the end of the final
football
News
Richard Norris in GQ
mediaGQ features photo shoot with man who underwent full face transplant
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Your picture is everything in the shallow world of online dating
i100
News
The Swiss Re tower or 'Gherkin' was at one time the UK’s most expensive office when German bank IVG and private equity firm Evans Randall bought it
news
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.

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on