Paris: Roger Federer crashed to his earliest French Open defeat since 2004 on Sunday when he was bundled out in the last 16 by controversial Latvian Ernests Gulbis.
Roger Federer after his fourth round loss to Ernests Gulbis at Roland Garros yesterday. Pic/AFP.
Gulbis won 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/3), 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 to reach his first quarter-final at a major since he made the last-eight in Paris six years ago.
Federer, 32 years old and the 2009 champion, last failed to make the quarter-finals in 2004 when he was demolished in the third round by Gustavo Kuerten.
Victory on Sunday would have put the 17-time major winner into a record 42nd Grand Slam quarter-final. But 25-year-old Gulbis, who had claimed on the eve of the match that he would not be intimidated by Federer’s legendary status, showed no fear as he set up a last-eight clash against Czech sixth seed Tomas Berdych. He unleashed 13 aces and 53 winners with Federer further undone by an uncharacteristic 59 unforced errors as he lost a five-setter in Paris for the first time.
“It’s the biggest win of my career,” said Gulbis. “It was a tough match and I’m sorry as I know that most of you wanted Roger to win.” Gulbis, the 18th seed, was a break ahead in the first set at 4-2 before Federer retrieved it in the seventh game.
59: The number of unforced errors committed by Roger Federer in the match against Latvian Ernests Gulbis