Roger Federer lost in four sets to Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals of… (Charles Krupa / Associated…)
NEW YORK — Tomas Berdych giggled after he hit good shots on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday night. Sometimes it almost felt as if a situation comedy were being filmed.
The sixth-seeded Berdych, who had shocked Roger Federer at the Wimbledon quarterfinals two years ago, tickled and teased the top-seeded Federer with whipping forehands and timely volleys until he upset him again with a 7-6 (1), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 victory in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open on Wednesday night. And then Berdych couldn't stop smiling.
Federer seemed unable to find a rhythm with his serve and was often overpowered by Berdych's confident forehands.
And when it seemed nerves might slow Berdych, after he served some crucial double faults to lose the third set, the 26-year-old from the Czech Republic stepped up and won four straight points on his final service game, including an ace to set up match point.
"I'm disappointed, you know," said the 31-year-old Federer, who hadn't lost here before the semifinals since 2003.
"I really expected myself to play better. Such an amazing summer I had, I really thought I was going to come out and play a solid match. I didn't do that. Obviously, there is a bit of a letdown now."
Federer won his 17th major championship at Wimbledon this summer and took back the world No. 1 ranking shortly afterward.
"So many moments I thought, 'Man, it's just not happening for me.' It was just a very disappointing match," Federer said.
Berdych, who had never gone further than the fourth round at the U.S. Open, said, "Everything was just right today. I lost the third set, but, you know, I cannot count on beating Roger in straight sets and not to get in any trouble."
Before Federer's surprising loss, Serena Williams continued playing her casually overpowering tennis. She has played efficient tennis as well at the Open. She hasn't lost a set and has almost not had a nervous moment.
Wednesday night, Williams served 12 aces and sent home 12th-seeded Ana Ivanovic, 6-1, 6-3. Right before she took the court, Williams said she bumped into the newly retired Andy Roddick. That, she said, "made me cry."
Roddick lost in four sets to Juan Martin del Potro and ended his tennis career earlier Wednesday.
"I've known Andy since I was 8 years old," Williams said. "That's a long time."
But Williams wiped away her tears and quickly tore into Ivanovic. The first set lasted only 25 minutes and Ivanovic could never make an impression against Williams' game.
Williams said she was most pleased with how she ran around the court against Ivanovic.
"I'm moving faster," she said. "Felt good. I felt solid. I felt like in the second set I could have stayed focused a little more, but she played better also."
Earlier in the day, third-seeded Maria Sharapova, who trailed 11th-seeded Marion Bartoli 4-0 Tuesday when rain stopped their match, came back firing aces and deep, deep ground strokes from both her forehand and backhand sides, to advance to the women's semifinals with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win.
Sharapova will play first-seeded and top-ranked Victoria Azarenka in Friday's semifinals.
Sara Errani, a 25-year-old from Italy and seeded 10th, advanced to her first-ever Grand Slam semifinal with a quick 6-2, 6-4 win over fellow Italian and doubles partner Roberta Vinci. Up next for the 5-foot-41/2-inch Errani in the semifinals will be Williams.
In Thursday's two men's quarterfinals, Roddick-conqueror Del Potro will play second-seeded and defending champion Novak Djokovic, who beat 18th-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka 6-4, 6-1, 3-1 (retired). Eighth-seeded Janko Tipsarevic, who, like Djokovic, is from Serbia, will play fourth-seeded David Ferrer.
Third-seeded Andy Murray, who overcame a deficit of a set and a break, eliminated 12th-seeded Marin Cilic, 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2, 6-0, in another quarterfinal Wednesday. Murray will face Berdych in the semifinals.