Competing in Halle for the 18th time in June, Roger Federer failed to reach the quarter-final for the first time following a tough 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!
Felix played 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, finding his A-game in sets two and three to sail through. Pam Shriver said Roger played way below his best after the opener, struggling on serve and return to hit the exit door.
Federer withdrew from Roland Garros after three wins to preserve energy for the grass swing. Still, he did not look good on his most desired surface in the opening two matches, struggling against Ilya Ivashka and losing ground against Auger-Aliassime after the opener.
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.
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.
Roger Federer failed to reach quarters in Halle for the first time in 18 trips.
Serving at 5-4, Roger fired two winners at 15-40 to erase break points and bring the set home with a volley winner.
Raising his level, 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 and kept the pressure on the other side.
Roger could not match that pace in his games, struggling more and more and getting broken twice to find himself 4-0 down. The Canadian never looked back and sealed the deal with an ace and 5-2 to serve Roger's earliest Halle exit.
"I do not think Roger should compete if he's significantly below Roger Federer-level, and I thought the final two sets in Halle were way below his best tennis," Pam Shriver said.