Grigor Dimitrov took advantage of an apparently ailing Roger Federer to beat the Swiss for the first time in his career and book a place in the US Open semi-finals.
The Bulgarian recovered from trailing two sets-to-one to post a 3-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory over the third-seeded Federer, who struggled physically during the three-hour, 12 minute match under the lights at Flushing Meadows.
The match swung in the Bulgarian’s favour after a lengthy game towards the end of the fourth set, which took its toll on Federer.
“After that he started to slow down a bit,” Dimitrov said. “By the end for sure he was not 100% himself.”
The 38-year-old Federer took a medical timeout after the fourth set, leaving the court with a trainer. It was not immediately clear what might have been wrong with him, although he did appear to flex his back after some points.
When play resumed after a break of nearly 10 minutes, Federer’s form never picked up. He finished with 61 unforced errors, 33 on the forehand side.
Federer had been 7-0 against Dimitrov, taking 16 of their previous 18 sets.
Federer would have been the oldest grand slam semi-finalist since 1991 when Jimmy Connors was 39. He also was trying to add to his totals of five US Open championships and 20 major trophies in all.
Instead, Dimitrov advanced to his third major semi-final, and his first in New York. He will next meet Russia’s fifth seed Medvedev for a place in the final.