Article

Federer crashes out, Del Potro into semis

16 February 2013 01:16

Defending champion Roger Federer suffered a shock defeat to Julien Benneteau at the World Tennis Tournament quarter-finals in Rotterdam.

Frenchman Benneteau produced a stunning 6-3 7-5 upset against an out-of-sorts Federer, whose serve was broken in the first game of the match.

The 17-time grand slam champion lost serve on another two occasions in the opening set before Benneteau stormed out to a 3-1 lead in the second.

Federer broke back to level the set at 5-5 before Benneteau staved off three break points to hold for 6-5.

It ended a game later as a Federer double fault set up a match point before a backhand miss at the far corner handed the world number 39 his second career victory over the Swiss great.

"This was a dream match, and I played like a dream," said Benneteau, who lost to Federer in the third round of Wimbledon last year despite leading the match by two sets to love.

"This is for sure my biggest win. He was the favourite, but maybe he played a bit tight. I've been playing well all week, improving with each match.

"I've had a great week here so far and I hope it's not finished."

Benneteau moves on to a semi-final against compatriot Gilles Simon, who benefitted from the retirement of Martin Klizan in their quarter-final.

Simon lost the first set to the 31st-ranked Slovakian before battling back to square the match at one set apiece.

With the score at 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 3-0 in Simon's favour, Klizan retired from cramping.

On the other side of the draw, second seed Juan Martin Del Potro, runner-up to Federer at the ATP indoor hardcourt event last year, took just 90 minutes to book his place in the final four at the expense of Finland's Jarkko Nieminen.

The Argentine's 6-3 6-4 victory set up a meeting with Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, who came from a set down to oust Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-0) 6-3.

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