Competing in Halle for the 18th time, Roger Federer failed to reach the quarter-final for the first time following a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 loss to Felix Auger-Aliassime in an hour and 44 minutes. It was the first encounter between the players who share birthdays and Federer's first match against the opponent born in the 2000s.
The Swiss praised the Canadian before the clash, and Felix did his best to confirm those words, playing well in sets two and three to oust the ten-time champion and advance into the last eight a week after playing the Stuttgart final.
Federer withdrew from Roland Garros after three wins to preserve energy for the grass swing. Still, he doesn't look good on his favorite surface, struggling against Ilya Ivashka in the opening round and losing ground against Auger-Aliassime after the opener today.
The young gun fired 13 aces and faced only one break point that cost him the first set. After that, he had a massive advantage and sailed through his games while converting three out of 15 break chances to leave Federer behind and move into the last eight.
The more experienced player defended all four break chances in the opening set and seized his only opportunity on the return to build the advantage. Servers barely lost a point in the opening five games before Federer faced two break points at 2-3.
For the first time ever, Roger Federer won't play in the Halle quarter-final.
He saved them with booming serves and brought the game home to level the score at 3-3. The Swiss created the only break chance with a forehand down the line winner in the next game (150 km/h) and converted it with a backhand down the line winner for a 4-3 advantage.
Serving at 5-4, Roger fired two winners at 15-40 to erase break points and brought the set home with a volley winner. Felix lost only seven points behind the initial shot in set number two, keeping the pressure on the other side and seizing the ninth break chance since the start of the clash to grab the set and gain momentum.
Federer struggled on serve in games four and six and fell on the fifth break chance to find himself 4-2 down. Felix closed the set in style and pushed even harder in the decider when he lost only two points behind the initial shot. The Canadian grabbed two early breaks to race into a 4-0 lead, playing well and moving over the top with an ace at 5-2.