German Championships: Surprise defeat leaves Roger Federer plenty to ponder

 

Hamburg

Roger Federer suffered a shock defeat to Argentinian qualifier Federico Delbonis 7-6 (7) 7-6 (4) in the semi-finals of the German Championships yesterday.

Federer, a four-time champion on the clay courts of Hamburg, was outplayed by the left-hander –  114 in the world rankings. Delbonis will now play in the first final of his professional career.

“He played well, he was a little more aggressive,” Federer said.

The Swiss took a wild card for this tournament after being knocked out in the second round at Wimbledon. The 31-year-old dropped to world No 5 earlier this month, his lowest ranking in a decade. He has won one title this year, on grass in Halle, Germany.

Federer, then the defending Wimbledon champion, lost at SW19 to world No 116 Sergiy Stakhovsky – a player who failed to qualify for Hamburg. It was Federer’s earliest Grand Slam defeat in 10 years, and his first loss to a player ranked outside the top 100 since 2005.

Federer changed his racket after Wimbledon, going for a bigger frame. But he has struggled here, going to three sets in two of his previous three matches.

Delbonis could scarcely believe he had beaten the 17-time Grand Slam champion. “I feel like I’m dreaming,” the 22-year-old said. “My key was to enjoy the match and enjoy playing this kind of  player, because he’s the best of all time.”

In the final, Delbonis will meet Italy’s Fabio Fognini, who moved within one victory of his second title in two weeks when he beat third-seeded Nicolas Almagro.

Delbonis was playing only the second semi-final of his pro career but maintained his composure and gave Federer only two break points, one of which he saved. Federer broke for a 2-1 lead but was broken right back and had to save two set points to force the tie-breaker. He squandered a 4-2 lead, was unable to convert his one set point and saved three with service winners before Delbonis converted his fourth with a smash after some well-played points.

Federer came under pressure immediately in the second set and had to fend off three break points in his opening service game and another in the sixth. Delbonis saved one break point in the next game with a superb volley winner.

In the tie-breaker, Federer made two straight groundstroke errors and he netted a forehand on Delbonis’s first match point.

Delbonis will jump to a career-high ranking of around world No 59 after reaching the final, according to the ATP.

Serena Williams – who, like Federer, also experienced a surprise exit at Wimbledon – defeated Klara Zakopalova 6-0 6-4 in the semi-finals of the Swedish Open to reach  today’s final, where she will take on home favourite Johanna Larsson. After losing the first eight games, the Czech managed to break Williams’s serve and then tie the set at 2-2 before Williams powered to victory.

Larsson had to come from behind to beat Italy’s Flavia Pennetta to win 2-6 6-3 6-4.

Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
Al Pacino in ‘The Humbling’, as an ageing actor
filmHam among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey fans rejoice, series five returns later this month
TV
Arts and Entertainment
booksExclusive extract from Howard Jacobson’s acclaimed new novel
News
i100
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.

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor