Lletyon Hewitt said it, I didn’t:
“Roger’s a hell of an opponent; his grass-court record speaks for itself. Any time you play Roger on a grass court you know you’re in for a hell of a battle and I was lucky to get out of today’s match.”
World No. 32 Lleyton Hewitt defeated Roger Federer 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 on Sunday in the finals of the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany. It really was one hell of an upset. Before today, Roger hadn’t lost to Hewitt the past 15 times they’d played, his last defeat against the Australian coming in a 2003 Davis Cup semifinal. Roger hadn’t lost a match in Halle since 2002, winning the title five of the last five times he’d entered the tournament. Since Hewitt won the Wimbledon title in 2002, Roger’s ruled the surface, amassing a 76-1 winning record on grass – the only loss coming to Rafael Nadal in the 2008 Wimbledon final. (stats via the ATP)
What the hell? Given Roger’s winning history and the tournament’s lightweight field (the only other Top 10 player in this week’s draw was a rusty Nikolay Davydenko) the Gerry Weber Open was supposed to be a foregone conclusion, a routine victory, a good, old fashioned Federer romp of the first order.
“You always have a chance and that is the beauty of sport.” Hewitt reminded us afterwards. “Roger also only has two arms and two legs.” (via Gerry Weber Open)
And one hell of a haircut. Federer, who has always had a soft spot for his junior rival, claims not to be bothered by the loss, which was riddled with his own errors:
“He played fantastic and deserved to win,” Federer admitted after the match.
“I was unfortunate not to come through today, but the loss here does not worry me in any way,” Federer added. “I thought it was a good tournament for me. I have got to ensure I draw the right conclusions for Wimbledon.“ (via NBCSports)
But what conclusions are the rest of the players drawing? Sam Querrey, who beat out buddy Mardy Fish 7-6 (3), 7-5, in Sunday’s Queen’s Club final, was asked if Roger Federer’s upset gave him added hope if they should meet across the net at Wimbledon (via Guardian):
“Not really.” Querrey said. “Maybe he’s lost a little bit of his game but he’s still the greatest player ever and definitely the guy I am going to fear more than any other.”
After losing his semifinals streak just over a week ago, I admit that Roger’s surprise loss on grass is settling about as well with me as a stomach full of sour milk. In some ways, this result bugs me more than last week’s defeat to Soderling at Roland Garros. Roger Federer is grass court tennis, and he (and his fans) would have gained invaluable confidence and pre-Wimbledon mojo if he had won Halle while recent Wimbledon rivals Andy Roddick and Rafael Nadal were bounced early in London.
So what do you think about Roger’s loss to Hewitt in Halle? Is this result yet another fluke, a measure of Roger’s ever-narrowing focus on the Majors or a harbinger of doom for Fedophiles everywhere?
Novak Djokovic scored the lone title this week for the ATP’s Top 10, winning the Queen’s Club doubles title with first-time partner Jonathan Erlich against Karol Beck and David Skoch: 6-7(6), 6-2, 10-3. In case you think it was all just fun and games for the World No. 3:
“It’s a first grass court title for me, in singles or doubles; I’d been in two finals.” said Novak after the match. “It’s important to me.”
Besides being his first grass court title, it’s also – surprisingly – Novak’s first career doubles title.
In Halle, Sergiy Stakhovsky and Mikhail Youzhny won their first doubles title as a team defeating Martin Damm and Filip Polasek 4-6, 7-5, 10-7.
In Birmingham, England, Li Na defeated Maria Sharapova 7-5, 6-1 in the finals of the 2010 AEGON Classic. Li defeated Sharapova in the semifinals of last year’s tournament. In the doubles, the team of Cara Black and Lisa Raymond won when No.1 seeds Liezel Huber and Bethanie Mattek-Sands retired due to Huber’s left knee injury.