16 SPORT WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM THE INDIAN EXPRESS, WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2018 Heat-broken A sluggish Federer, struggling to deal with soaring mercury and a relentless Millman, crashes out of the US Open CHRISTOPHERCLAREY SEPTEMBER4 ROGERFEDERERhasdefiedtheyearsandtennislogicforsolongnowthatitwasjarringtosee him looking his age for a change on Monday night. He was late to the running forehand; shaky on his serve; brittle under pressure and quick, far too quick, to opt for the drop shot insteadof thecutandthrustof anextendedrally. Therewasevenamissedsmashfromclose rangeintothenet.Federer,winnerof 20Grand Slamsinglestitlesandunquestionablythegreatestmen’splayeroftheOpenera,foundhimself inallkindsofawkwardanduncustomarypositionsinthisfourth-roundU.S.Openmatch.The fanswhohadcomeenmassetowatchFederer giveaneveningrecitalinArthurAsheStadium againsttheAustralianveteranJohnMillman,an unseededandpresumablyovermatchedopponent, instead found themselves gasping and groaningasthemaestrokepthittingthewrong notesonahot,brutallyhumidnightatFlushing Meadows. Federer, seeded No. 2 at age 37, looked disgruntled. He looked leg weary and at the very end, perhaps oddest of all, he looked resigned to a major upset as he failed to hold his early fourth-setedgeandthenproducedalastflurry ofgaffesinthefinaltiebreakertolose3-6,7-5,76(7),7-6(3). InFederer’sview,hisperformance—oneof hispoorestonabigstageduringhisremarkable career—hadnothingtodowithageandeverythingtodowiththedraining,stillconditionsinside Ashe Stadium, which remained draining andstillevenaftermidnight. “WasjustoneofthosenightswhereIguess IfeltIcouldn’tgetair;therewasnocirculationat all,” Federer said when he arrived at the interviewroomat1:45a.m.withthehumidityoutdoors still above 80 percent. “I don’t know, for some reason, I just struggled in the conditions tonight. It’s one of the first times it’s happened tome.” Millman,29,andplayinginhisfirstroundof 16atamajor,saidhehadbeenfeelingoutofsorts himself intheearlyphasesof thematch. “A bit of a deer in the headlights to begin with,tobehonestwithyou,”Millmansaid.“Feet weren’tmoving.Rogerhadmeonastring.”But thatwasbeforeFedererservedforatwo-setlead at5-4andfailedtoconvertontwosetpointsat 40-15 and eventually lost the game and momentum on a double fault. Millman raised his level considerably from there, chasing down shotaftershotandrippingawaysuccessfullyon big points, and not just with his stronger twohandedbackhand. Intheend,hefinishedwith28unforcederrorstoFederer’seye-popping77. “Nice to know he’s human,” Millman said. “But it’s really important when someone does haveanoffdaythatyoucapitalize,andhe’sprobably one of the guys it’s toughest to do so against.”Millman,ranked55th,isthefirstplayer outside the top 50 to beat Federer at the U.S. Open. Just two days after Federer defused the dangerous Nick Kyrgios in straight sets in the thirdround,Federer’slevelplummeted.Healso had10doublefaultsandputonly49percentof hisfirstservesinplaywiththenadircomingin thepivotalsecondset,whenheputjust17of55 firstservesinplay(31percent). “When you feel like that, everything is off,” Federer, wilting in the suffocating humidity, exitied a Grand Slam before the quarter-finals for just the fifth time since 2004. AP/PTI he said of his serving. “But look, I’ve trained in tougher conditions. I’ve played in the daytime, youknow,at120.Somedaysit’sjustnottheday wherethebodycancopewithit.” “Idobelievesincetheroofisonthatthereis noaircirculationinthestadium,”hecontinued. “IthinkthatjustmakesitatotallydifferentU.S. Open. Plus conditions maybe were playing slower this year on top of it. You have soakingwetpants,soaking-weteverything.Theballsare in there, too. You try to play. Everything gets slower as you try to hit winners.” But Federer was also complimentary of Millman, who trainedwithhimearlierthisyearinSwitzerland attherequestofFederer’sco-coachSeverinLüthi asFedererpreparedforthegrass-courtseason. “John,well,Ilovehisintensity,”Federersaid. “HeremindsmeofDavidFerrerandthoseother guysthatIadmirealotwhenIseethem,when France face Germany in Nations League opener REUTERS BERLIN, SEPTEMBER 4 GERMANY START to rebuild their battered reputation on Thursday in the opening match of the inaugural Nations League but their long road to recovery begins with perhaps the toughest of first steps with the visit of World Cup champions France. The Nations League, brainchild of European soccer body UEFA, aims to boost interest in the autumn and spring internationals, which were seen by clubs and fans as disruptive to the domestic football season. To be held every two years, it features all 55 of Europe’s national teams divided into four divisions -- Leagues A to D -- that are themselves split into four groups, to be played between September and November. There is promotion and relegation between each league while the top division, which includes France and Germany, will finish with a fourteam mini-tournament, to be held in June next year, to decide the Nations League champion. Initially greeted with scepticism because of its seemingly complex format, it was given a warmer reception by coaches when the draw was made in January, with teams receiving financial bonuses as they progress in the competition. The Germans, world champions in 2014, crashed out in the group stage of the World Cup in Russia in June for their earliest exit in 80 years. Coach Joachim Loew decided to stay on and has pledged to successfully overhaul the team and turn it back onto the road to success, with the Nations League being their new start. He has added three new players and dropped midfielders Sami Khedira and Sebastian Rudy among others. But he could not have picked a harder opponent than France, who are brimming with confidence after lifting their second World Cup after their 1998 success. Boasting some of the world's most talented players, including Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe, it will be France's first game since being crowned world champions in Moscow on July 14 after a 4-2 victory over Croatia. Italy, who did not even make it to the World Cup, will start their own road to recovery with a tie against Poland in Bologna on Friday. Coach Roberto Mancini called up five new players, including 17-year-old Monaco forward Pietro Pellegri. World Cup semi-finalists England host Spain a day later while Switzerland take on Iceland in the other League A clash on the first matchday. Ozil conundrum The under-pressure president of the German Football Association (DFB), Reinhard Grindel, has said he is confident the controversy over Mesut Ozil's international retirement will not have a negative impact on Germany's bid to host Euro 2024. Ozil, capped 92 times, walked away from the Germany set-up in the wake of their disastrous World Cup campaign, complaining of facing "racism and disrespect" and being made a scapegoat for the team's failure. That was after Ozil and teammate Ilkay Gundogan, born in Germany but of Turkish origin, sparked a political storm in May by meeting Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and being photographed together. Arsenal star Ozil took aim at Grindel in a statement announcing his retirement, saying that "in the eyes of Grindel and his supporters, I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose". The DFB chief has vehemently rejected accusations against him of racism, and has dismissed calls to resign over the issue. In July, Germany's biggest selling newspaper, Bild, questioned whether Grindel staying on "represents a threat" to the Euro bid, with Turkey the other contenders. I see how they train, the passion they have for thegame.” Even before Millman got an extended chance to practice with Federer this year, he pushed him hard in the round of 16 in 2015 in Brisbane, Australia, before losing in three sets. BrisbaneisMillman’ssteamyhomecity. “Hemaybecomesfromoneofthemosthumidplacesonearth,”Federersaid.“IknewIwas inforatoughone.Maybewhenyoufeellikethat, as well, you start missing chances, and I had those.Thatwasdisappointing.But,look,atsome point also I was just happy that the match was over,Iguess.” That was quite a confession from a champion who again skipped the clay-court season thisyeartostayfreshandmaximizehischances atWimbledonandtheU.S.Open. NYT ‘Mad Scientist’ DeChambeau claims second straight victory in Playoffs ASSOCIATEDPRESS NORTON,SEPTEMBER4 GOLF'S LATEST search for a breakout star has come to the quirky little laboratory of Bryson DeChambeau. The 24-year-old physics major known as the “Mad Scientist'' wonhissecondstraighteventintheFedExCup playoffs on Monday, shooting a 4-under-par 67 at TPC Boston to win the Dell Technologies ChampionshipbytwostrokesoverJustinRose. It was the third win of the year for DeChambeau, who also won the playoff opener at Ridgewood and is guaranteed the No.1seedfortheTourChampionshipregardlessofwhathappensinthethirdround.Andhe solidifiedhisclaimtobeoneofJimFuryk'scaptain'spicksfortheAmericanRyderCupteam, where he would join the likes of Dustin Johnson,RickieFowler,JordanSpieth,back-tobackU.S.OpenwinnerBrooksKoepkaandothers who have staked a claim to follow Tiger Woods as golf's next big thing. “Peoplecanputthattitleonme,butI'mnot going to. Never will,'' DeChambeau said after finishing at 16-under 268 to claim his second straight $1.62 million first prize. “I'm just a player out here trying to do my absolute best. And I'll say that every single time,''hesaid.“Itiscooltohavepeoplesaythat to you. And it is an honor, it really is. At this moment going forward, though, I'm just going to keep going about my business and doing what I can do.'' DeChambeau is the first persontowinthefirsttwotournamentsinthe FedExCupsince2008,whenadifferentpoints systemallowedVijaySinghtoeffectivelywrap up the title before the final playoff event. DeChambeau still has work to do; he leads Johnson by almost 2,400 points, but the new systemkeepsthe$10millionbonusinfluxuntil the finale at East Lake Sept. 20-23. Still, the back-to-back wins probably eliminate any doubt about the Ryder Cup team. DeChambeauattendedthelastRyderCup,out- A physics major at Southern Methodist, Bryson DeChambeau brings an unconventional but scientific approach to his game. USA TODAY Sports sideofMinneapolis—asaspectator. “Iwanted toexperienceit,''heexplained.“Iwantedtobe apartofthatatmosphereandgetcomfortable withthat.Sohopefullyif Idomakeitthisyear thatallthingsconsideredI'dbemorecomfortable when I got there. That was really the reason why I went there.'' A physics major at Southern Methodist, DeChambeau brings an unconventional but scientific approach to his game, peppering his comments with referencestobiomechanicsanderrortoleranceand filling his bag with clubs that are all the same length(34inches,orroughlythelengthofa7iron) so he would only have to master one swing.Thedecisionhaditsdoubters,frompotential college coaches who turned him aside tohisfather.(NowtheelderDeChambeauuses one-length clubs, too.) “I've had quite a bit of resistance,'' DeChambeau said. “There's only been a few people that have really helped keep pushing me in the right direction, saying ‘Hey, Bryson, you'redoingtherightthing,Keepdoingit.Just keep figuring things out.''' He seems to have done that. After starting the year at No. 99 in the world, DeChambeau moved to No. 7 with the win Monday, one spot past Rory McIlroy. “He's facing the biggest and best fields,'' said Rose, who birdied three of his last four holes for a 68 and second place. “There's a lot of conjecture about how he goes about it. But whenhedeliversasheisnow,itjustprovesit.'' R.N.I. No. WBENG/2005/20789 VOL. XIV No.143. Printed by V.Srinivasan and Published by V.Srinivasan on behalf of The Indian Express (P) Limited and Printed at The Indian Express Private Ltd., JL No.29 & 30, N.H.-6, Mouza - Prasastha & Ankurhati, Vill. & P.O. - Ankurhati, P.S.-Domjur, Howrah - 711 409 and Published at The Indian Express Private Ltd., JL No.29 & 30, N.H.-6, Mouza - Prasastha & Ankurhati, Vill. & P.O. - Ankurhati, P.S.-Domjur, Howrah - 711 409. Ph: (033)66043800 Fax: (033) 66043825 & 66043847. Chairman of the Board : Viveck Goenka, Chief Editor : Raj Kamal Jha,Editor : Unni Rajen Shanker, Editor ( Kolkata): Rakesh Sinha *(* Responsible for selection of news under the PRB Act)Copyright : The Indian Express (P) Limited. All rights reserved. Reproduction in any manner,electronic or otherwise,in whole or in part,without prior written permission is prohibited. The Indian Express(R)
Indian Express Limited is an Indian news media publishing company. It publishes several widely circulated dailies, including The Indian Express and The Financial Express in English, the Loksatta in Marathi and the Jansatta in Hindi.