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5 shock defeats of Roger Federer in hardcourt ATP Masters tournaments

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Roger Federer greets the crowd after bowling out of the Shanghai Masters on TuesdayDefending champion Roger Federer’s Shanghai Masters second round exit at the hands of the 70th-ranked qualifier Albert Ramos-Vinolas left the tennis world stunned. The Swiss had come to China on a high after finishing as runner-up at the US Open and had not lost before the finals in his last four tournaments.Having a 0-15 record against the top-10- players, Vinolas was never considered a major threat which made his upset victory over the World No. 3 all the more unbelievable. However, this is not the first time Federer has had such a shocking loss in a hardcourt ATP Masters 1000 tournament.Let’s have a look at five of those shock defeats the maestro has suffered before his latest disappointment at the Shanghai Masters.

#5 2009 Paris Masters Second Round

Roger Federer waits at the net after losing in the second round

Roger Federers return to the French capital after his 2009 Roland Garros triumph was not one to remember. The Paris Masters, which the Swiss maestro had not been able to master at that point, continued to give him more misery.

49th-ranked Frenchman Julien Benneteau, who had failed to take a single set from the Swiss in two previous meetings, came up with the performance of his life to show the exit door to the Swiss 3-6 7-6(4) 6-4 in the second round.

The then World No. 1, a 15-time Grand Slam champion at that time, was in control in the firstsetbut the Frenchman came storming back to deny Federer the win.

He playedincredibleat the end. Julien went out and got the victory. I definitely had chances. I missed them. I feel fine physically, and mentally I was fresh to do really well here,said Federer after his defeat.

Heres a video from that match:

#4 2008 Indian Wells Masters Semifinals

Roger Federer lost to Mardy Fish in straight sets

Weakened by a bout of mononucleosis, World No. 1 Roger Federer had lost his iron grip on the Tour at the beginning of 2008 and failed to win a title coming into the 2008 Indian Wells Masters. However, he was beginning show flashes of his old brilliance at the Californian tournament and the 98th-ranked Mardy Fish in the semis surely was not an intimidating prospect for the Swiss.

But Fish did the unthinkable! The American was on a brilliant run that fortnight and put up a shocking scoreline against Federer 6-3, 6-2 to advance to his second Masters final v Novak Djokovic. It was Fishs first ever triumph over Roger in six meetings and it also snapped a 41-match win streak that the Swiss enjoyed against American players.

Today its hard tojudge,because Mardy took everything on the rise; not many rallies out there,commented Federer on Mardy Fishs performance.

Heres a video from that match:

#3 2007 Miami Masters Fourth Round

The second setback to the same opponent in the same year

During his heyday, not many players could beat Federer once, let alone beating him twice in the same year! But Guillermo Canas took his Indian Wells shocker a step further by repeating the feat just a few days later in the very next tournament the 2007 Miami Masters.

During this fourth round encounter, Federer did not look as off-colour as he looked at Indian Wells. In fact, the Swiss legend led by 3-1 in the deciding set. Yet he ended up as the vanquished once again as Canas, now ranked 55th, refused to bow out.

After securing a 7-6, 2-6, 7-6 triumph, the Argentine became just the fifth player ever to beat a World No. 1 back-to-back.

I was really expecting to win, it was one of those matches I shouldnt have lost,a disappointed Federer said after the defeat.

Heres a video from that match:

#2 2007 Indian Wells Masters

Roger Federer andGuillermo Vilas near the net after the match

Roger Federer was on an incredible 41-match winning streak at that time and was chasing Argentine legend Guillermo Vilass 46-match winning streak. Besides, thenumero unoplayer was very familiar with the Indian Wells Masters, having won it for the last three years.

But all those records were tossed out of the window by the 60th-ranked lucky loser Guillermo Canas of Argentina who inflicted a 7-5, 6-2 defeat when they met in the second round. The 29-year-old, who once was ranked as high as No. 8, made a return to the Tour inSeptember,2006 after a 15-month doping suspension and had been gaining in confidence ever since.

He continued his surge against Federer who was sluggish throughout the match and his racquet piled on a staggering 43 unforced errors, which became the cause of his downfall.

Its great to beat the number one, I feel perfect. I dream about this, but I didnt expect,said Canas after his memorable victory.

#1 2004 Cinncinatti Masters, Second Round

Roger Federer shakes hands after losing to Dominik Hrbaty at the 2004 Cincinnati Masters

The top-ranked Roger Federer was at the helm of his career in 2004 which makes his 6-1, 6-7, 4-6 defeat to the 21st-ranked Dominik Hrbaty implausible. The Slovak had been a former Roland Garrossemi-finalist,but the Swiss came into the Cincinnati Masters that year, riding on an astonishing 23-match winning streak that included titles at Halle, Wimbledon, Gstaad and Toronto.

Each of Federers defeats in his peak years made news as they were few and far between and this was one of them. Nobody had any inkling that this would be one of those headline-making defeats after the first set as Federer blitzed past Hrbaty 6-1 in 25 minutes.

The scenario, however, changed from there as Hrbaty upped the intensity of his returns. The Bratislava native who had won three titles thatyearbrought all his confidence to complete the upset. Given Cincinnati would turn out to be one of the most successful tournaments for Roger in subsequent years, this was definitely a stunner that was not expected.

I thought I played really well for one and a half sets and missed opportunities in the second set and he made me pay,observed the Swiss after the loss.

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A freelance journalist based in Kolkata who is a diehard Rafael Nadal fan. She is also extremely passionate about India’s progress in sports and hopes to throw light on India’s unsung sports heroes through her articles. When not screaming her lungs out in support of her favourite sports stars, she can be seen reading, watching movies or immersed in planning her next travel destination!
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