Roger Federer brings down curtain on his career with a defeat, but still dazzles alongside longtime friend and rival Rafael Nadal, who he defeated 7-6 (8), 6-2, 6-4. Rafa and Federer were scheduled to face off for the second time in as many years in the US Open final after reaching the final of the tournament in 2004 and 2007. Nadal had never lost to Federer.
Federer’s first-round opponent was Nikolay Davydenko – another one of the greatest players of all time. This marked the first Federer-Davydenko match in the US Open final since their 2001 final at Wimbledon. In some ways it was a game of two halves: for half the game Davydenko looked like he was on the way to becoming a legend after a long and successful career, and Federer got his revenge on the man who nearly crushed him in the 2004 Wimbledon final. For the second half, however, Federer, with his calmness and composure on Court No. 2 at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sunday, put on a master class in mental strength that reminded everybody of the young Nadal.
It didn’t last. Federer, who will reach the final when he faces Nadal on Monday, was just as brilliant when his shot selection got out of control. He played one of his best matches of the tournament, but he wasn’t able to put a toe past Davydenko. Federer’s confidence and his calmness on the court, which he had shown in earlier matches of the tournament, were his saving graces on Sunday.
“He’s a tough opponent. He comes every year for three weeks,” Federer said. I can’t really say it. I can’t explain it. But he was so aggressive today. And I was calm. And I had chances. And he didn’t take them. It was just unbelievable.