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.

Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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.

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions