Roger Federer didn’t enjoy the best start of 2009 season, losing to Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic in the latter stages of five tournaments and failing to win the title before May. Then, his luck had changed in Madrid where he beat Rafael Nadal in the final before conquering the “Channel Slam,” winning both Roland Garros and Wimbledon to compensate all the setbacks from the first part of the season and write history books once again.
Roger came to Montreal with a 19-match winning streak, defeating Frederic Niemeyer and Stan Wawrinka to reach the quarter-final against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. This was only their second meeting (they would play more often in the years to come) and the Frenchman stunned world no.
1 7-6,1-6, 7-6 in two hours and 19 minutes, despite the fact Roger led 5-1 in the decider! After losing the opening set, Federer regained the composure and stormed over the opponent to grab the second set in no time at all, using that momentum to open a 5-1 advantage in the final set and move closer to the finish line.
Roger was two points away from the triumph on serve at 5-2 and 5-4 before having to save three match points in game 12 to set up the tie break that he lost 7-3 after a double fault to propel Jo-Wilfried into the second Masters 1000 semi-final!
Federer had ten break chances and won nine points more than his rival although it wasn’t enough to carry him over the finish line, never wasting such a massive lead in a career. This tournament will stay written down in the history books as the first since the introducing of the ranking in 1973 with eight best-ranked players in the quarter-final.
“Well, it happens in tennis,” Roger said. “It’s never over until it’s over. I thought it was a very up-and-down match and that I should have won the first, especially with Jo completely losing his game for an hour there through the second and third sets.
It was unfortunate I couldn’t serve it up, I thought it was a decent match, I didn’t think it was bad, but it wasn’t great either. I should never have allowed him to come back but it did happen, so it’s a pity.
I think I got off bad starts on all of my service games towards the end, I was down maybe 30-0 in each service game and that was a problem for me. I had to scramble each time and have to start playing safe a little bit, and that’s exactly kind of what he needed because otherwise, I was just going to hand it over to him.
This way, he made me work for it and did well to come back. It’s not something I go through very often, being up 5-1 and ending up losing, get broken back to back after having not broken throughout the whole match. It’s tough, you know, but you’re still in it with a chance. I served horribly in both tie breaks and I guess that cost me the match in the end.”