Latvian Ernests Gulbis handed Roger Federer his worst French Open loss in a decade as he beat the Swiss 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-3), 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 in Sunday’s fourth round.
Fourth seed Federer’s previous worst loss at Roland Garros came in 2004 when he went out to Gustavo Kuerten in the third round.
The defeat in three and three-quarter hours blocked the 32-year-old from a 10th consecutive quarterfinal in Paris and dropped his tournament record to 61-15.
It was only the fourth time over the last 41 grand slams that Federer has failed to reach the last eight stage (2013 Wimbledon and 2013 US Open). He had won all six of the five-set matches he had played at Roland Garros Gulbis, who also upset the 17-time grand slam champion in Rome 2110, used his huge forehand to best advantage as he stayed level with the Swiss throughout.
Federer led 5-2 in the fourth set but was broken a game later on one of his 59 unforced errors. But the experienced campaigner pulled the set out of the fire to stay alive two games later to level at two sets each on a volley winner.
His momentum did not hold up in the fifth set as the 17th-ranked Gulbis got on top early with a break for 2-0.
Try as he did, Federer was never able to close the gap. A Gulbis ace set up two match points and a Federer backhand wide ended the frustrating effort for the 2009 champion.
“This was probably the best win of my career,” said Gulbis, who told the pro-Federer crowd: “I’m sorry I had to beat Roger, but that’s sport.” Gulbis will next play Tomas Berdych as the sixth seed kept making his way quietly through the draw with a defeat of American 10th seed John Isner, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.
The Czech will be playing his first Paris quarterfinal since 2010.
“Of course I’m confident. If you win four matches, then you feel good. I’m going to be ready and I’m going to try to do my best and play good tennis,” he said.
A sleep-deprived Andy Murray finished off an interrupted third-round match as he beat Philipp Kohlschreiber 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 12-10.
Murray, seeded seventh, admitted that he slept “maybe five hours” and said he kept waking up at 4 or 5 am ready to take to the court after the match was stopped at 7-7 in the fifth set on Saturday night.
Kohlschreiber saved a match point in the 18th game before losing in four hours, seven minutes.
“It was an extremely tough match. We did a lot of running. I was up a break in every set,” said Murray.
But going out there to finish was difficult. It ended up as a very high standard match.” Murray said he was cramping in the closing stages the night before.
“Physically in the fifth set I was struggling. So I was disappointed obviously that I wasn’t able to finish in four sets.” Fernando Verdasco concluded a 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 win over French 12th seed Richard Gasquet, who did not play at all on clay before Paris due to a knee injury which kept him out since late March.
In the women’s draw, Australian Open semifinalist Eugenie Bouchard hammered German eighth seed Angelique Kerber 6-1, 6-2 to earn her first win over a top 10 player at a Grand Slam and her third of the season.
Bouchard needed just 52 minutes for the victory and next plays Spanish 14th seed Carla Suarez Navarro, who defeated Croatian Ajla Tomljanovic 6-3, 6-3.
Bouchard earned the win in 52 minutes with 30 winners and 11 unforced errors, breaking Kerber four times and earned a revenge win after losing to the seed at the US Open in the second round in 2013.