Roger Federer crashed out to Spanish left-hander Albert Ramos-Vinolas in a major shock in his opening match at the Shanghai Masters
The defending champion was stunned 7-6 (7/4), 2-6, 6-3 by the 70th-ranked Ramos-Vinolas, who is yet to claim his first career title and has only won three matches in total at grand slam tournaments.
The 34-year-old Swiss gave a thin smile and a wave to the crowd as he exited a shocked Qi Zhong Stadium, where he lifted the trophy last year and also won the Tennis Masters Cup in 2006 and 2007.
– Aus Open: Organisers announce prize money boost
Ramos-Vinolas is the lowest-ranked competitor to beat the world No3 in more than two years, since he lost to Argentina’s 114th-ranked Federico Delbonis in the Hamburg semi-finals in July 2013.
“I just think the first round here in Shanghai has always been historically quite difficult, getting used to the conditions and the surface and the balls,” said Federer, who saved five match points against Leonardo Mayer in his opening match last year.
“The balls play very different than in other places. Last year I got lucky. This year I didn’t. So it’s a pity.”
Federer, who had a bye in the first round, had played Ramos-Vinolas only once before, in the first round of Wimbledon in 2012, dropping just three games in a 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 dismissal of the Spaniard.
But it was a very different story in the Shanghai second round yesterday as he struggled to impose himself in the first set and collapsed in the tiebreak with a string of unforced errors.
Order was seemingly restored as the great Swiss broke early in the second set and again for 5-2, before calmly serving it out to level the match.
But disaster struck as Federer served at 2-3 down in the third, when he his ball clipped the net before Ramos-Vinolas punched away a forehand for his first break of the night.
And Federer caused his own downfall in the final game as he netted a forehand to bring up match point, and then misfired a backhand return to leave a disbelieving Ramos-Vinolas saluting the crowd.
“I played him at Wimbledon before, so I knew him. I’ve seen him play. He’s definitely improved since then. That was a while back and that was not his favourite surface,” Federer said.
“I was aware that he could give me a tough workout and even beat me. I’m always cautious. I don’t under-estimate or lack respect for anybody out there. These guys are all touring professionals, they know what they’re doing.
“The margins are so small, that’s why I sometimes struggle to talk to you guys about, ‘Yeah, I’d like to play Novak (Djokovic) in the finals, Rafa (Nadal) in the semis, (Jo-Wilfried) Tsonga in the second round.’
“It’s not like that. Now you’re not asking me those questions. I wonder why? Because I’m on a flight.”
Know more about Sport360 Application