NEW YORK, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- Roger Federer had won all of his previous 10 meetings with Tommy Robredo, losing only three sets in total. That record made his straight-set loss to the Spaniard even more surprising.
The five-time U.S. Open champion was kept out of the last eight after losing to the Spanish veteran 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, 6-4 on Monday.
Federer, the winner of a record 11 Grand Slam singles titles, for the first time missed all four Grand Slam finals in one season since 2002. Additionally, his nine-year U.S. Open quarter-final appearance record also came to an end.
Federer was beaten in the Australian Open semifinals, the quarter-finals at the French Open and the second round of Wimbledon.
"Confidence ... takes care of all the things you don't usually think about," Federer said. "But I just think it's been a difficult last three months, you know. Maybe ... my consistency is just not quite there."
"I think I started badly, which put me down a break," said he said.
"I struggled throughout, which is not very satisfying, to be honest. Tommy did a good job to keep the ball in play and make difficult for me today."
The difficulty for Federer started from the very beginning of the match, in which Robredo survived a couple of long rallies to break the 32-year-old Swiss in the first game. Federer was able to break back in the fourth game, and the two tied until the tiebreak. The tiebreak seemed to stay in favor of Federer at the beginning, but Robredo managed to catch back, powering an ace to end the first set 7-6 (7-3).
The second set was another miserable one for Federer. Actually the former world number one forced three break points in the fifth game, but he converted none. Robredo took chance to hold serve, and then responded to Federer's generosity with a break in the eighth game, serving out the set 6-3.
"I missed so many chances," said Federer. "Rhythm was off. Yeah, when those things happen, clearly it's always going to be difficult."
The Louis Armstrong court became the home court of Federer. The Swiss, who had ever won 40 straight matches at U.S. Open, enlightened the spectators by forcing five break points in the third game. But he, again, missed them all.
Robredo let go no chance, breaking in the seventh game, and kept his following service games to end the 2-hour-24-minute match 6-4.
"It was amazing," said Robredo.
"For me Roger for the moment is the best player of all times. To beat him in a huge stadium like the U.S. Open and in a Grand Slam, a match of five sets, it's like a dream."
Federer outnumbered Robredo 43-26 in unforced errors. The man famous for "beautiful tennis" took risk to go to net 52 times throughout the match, more than three times of Robredo, but missed 20 of them.
Federer's loss doomed hopes for a quarter-final match with 12-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal.
"To be honest, it's going to be great if we were able to play a final because I felt that in our rivalry for so many years we were able to play in all the best scenarios, stadiums, around the world," said Nadal, who reached the quarter-finals with a 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 win over Philipp Kohlschreiber.
"Didn't happen. (That doesn't) mean cannot happen in the future. We'll see. Hopefully," Nadal said. "But (it) is true that we are getting older, so the chances are less today than five years ago."