Federer crashes out
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:56
Federer, who won the title four times in five attempts between 2003 and 2007, had never lost to Davydenko in 12 previous meetings.
And the Russian’s task was made even harder by the scheduling, which saw him take to the court less than 16 hours after beating Robin Soderling in his final round-robin match.
Federer had lost the first set in all his group matches and found himself staring down the barrel again when a double fault and a netted forehand gave Davydenko a shock 4-1 lead.
The Swiss star recovered one of the breaks immediately, his forehand suddenly firing again, but the respite was only temporary and Davydenko made it three breaks in a row before sealing the first set.
Federer gradually began to look more like his old self in the second set, playing his best game to date to move 4-3 ahead with a series of winners.
And, after escaping a potentially sticky situation at 4-4, he claimed the crucial break to win the set, taking it on his second chance following one of the best rallies of the match.
Federer had the advantage of serving first in the decider and at 4-5 the match came alive. A lucky net cord gave him the opening point and an outrageous shot off a Davydenko smash put Federer in sight of the final but he could not take his chance as Davydenko held his nerve to level at 5-5.
And the Russian capitalised fully by creating a break point in the next game, which he took with a stunning backhand return.
Two big serves took the world number seven to 30-0 but Federer was not finished, a brilliant rally resulting in a break point. This time Davydenko excelled, though, blasting a forehand winner, and one big serve later he was at match point, which he took when Federer netted a forehand.