First came a trouncing at the French Open. Then, a dramatic fifth set loss at Wimbledon to the man who will take over his spot at number one as early as this weekend (with a win in the final here). Now, Roger Federer won’t get a chance to avenge those losses to Rafael Nadal here in Cincinnati. Federer lost in a third-set tiebreaker to Ivo Karlovic of Croatia. The six-foot 10-inch Karlovic blasted Federer with serves of up to 138 miles per hour (some commentators claimed it was actually 148 mph). Bottom line – Federer played a few lose points in the third set, especially in the tiebreak and Karlovic was more than ready to take advantage.
In his post-match press conference, Federer praised Karlovic’s serve. “His trajectory is unbelievable. He’s definitely got the best serve in the game.”
Federer also has some advice for the Croatian, to serve and volley off his SECOND serve.
“I’m surprised he doesn’t serve and volley off it because he could,” Federer said.
Karlovic said he has been gaining confidence all week. He now faces Philipp Kohlschreiber who got a break when Andy Roddick dropped out with an “injury.”
Federer’s performance today had some wondering if he didn’t give it his all, so that he could leave early for China and the Olympics, but his stats certainly were strong – he didn’t lose his serve in the match, and still lost.
But uncharacteristically, he failed to play the big points perfectly. He had rather terse answers to several reporters’ questions. When asked will he follow the rest of the tournament to see how Rafa does, he said simply, “No.”
He’s already looking ahead to the Olympics and then the U.S. Open.
“Those are really the ones that can make this season from a good one to a great one” he said.