NEW YORK — Right from the start, Roger Federer looked very little like, well, the Roger Federer who routinely reached the final weekend at Grand Slam tournaments.
In the opening game of his fourth-round match at the U.S. Open, the owner of 17 major titles got passed at the net twice, sailed a backhand long, then missed two forehands to get broken. In the second game, the man who has spent more weeks ranked No. 1 than anyone else dumped a backhand into the net, then shanked two other backhands several feet wide.
No longer the dominant presence he once was, Federer lost in the round of 16 at Flushing Meadows for the first time in a decade, surprisingly beaten 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-4 by 19th-seeded Tommy Robredo of Spain on Monday night.
“I kind of self-destructed, which is very disappointing,” said Federer, who made 43 unforced errors and managed to convert only two of 16 break points. “It was a frustrating performance.”
The latest in a series. This caps a poor-by-his-standards Grand Slam season for Federer, whose record Grand Slam trophy collection includes five at the U.S. Open.
He exited in the semifinals at the Australian Open in January, the quarterfinals at the French Open in early June, and the second round of Wimbledon — against a player ranked 116th — in late June. That ended Federer’s record run of reaching at least the quarterfinals at 36 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments.
Now, thanks to Robredo, Federer has a new, unwanted streak: Two consecutive losses before the quarterfinals at majors.
Federer originally was supposed to face Robredo on that main, 23,000-capacity court, but hours of heavy rain in the afternoon muddled the schedule, including prompting the tournament to postpone two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka’s match against 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic until Tuesday.
In the three women’s matches played Monday, No. 10 Roberta Vinci and unseeded Flavia Pennetta set up an all-Italian quarterfinal with victories. Vinci beat yet another woman from Italy, 136th-ranked qualifier Camila Giorgi, 6-4, 6-2, while Pennetta defeated No. 21 Simona Halep of Romania, 6-2, 7-6 (3).
Azarenka or Ivanovic will wind up facing Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia, who got past American wild-card entry Alison Riske, a 23-year-old who grew up in Pittsburgh, 6-3, 5-7, 6-2.
In men’s action, second-seeded Rafael Nadal improved to 19-0 on hard courts in 2013 by come back to beat 22nd-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-3, 6-1. No. 4 David Ferrer, the runner-up to Nadal at the French Open this year, edged No. 18 Janko Tipsarevic 7-6 (2), 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (3). In the quarterfinals, Ferrer will play No. 8 Richard Gasquet or No. 10 Milos Raonic, who played late Tuesday evening.