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US Open 2020: Federer's First, Nadal's Debut – Last Time QFs Were Without A Grand Slam Champion

For the first time since the famous Wimbledon in 2003, no male grand slam champions made the quarter-finals of a major

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US Open 2020: Federer's First, Nadal's Debut – Last Time QFs Were Without A Grand Slam Champion
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic
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US Open 2020: Federer's First, Nadal's Debut – Last Time QFs Were Without A Grand Slam Champion
outlookindia.com
2020-09-07T07:57:52+05:30

Remember Roger Federer's first grand slam title, or Rafael Nadal's major debut? (More Tennis News)

Both came at Wimbledon in 2003, which is the last time – before this year's US Open – when the quarter-finals of a grand slam did not feature a previous male major champion.

With Federer and Nadal absent in New York, Novak Djokovic stunningly defaulted after hitting a linesperson with a ball in his last-16 clash with Pablo Carreno Busta.

There will be a maiden male grand slam winner for the first time since 2014, when Marin Cilic claimed the title at Flushing Meadows.

READ: Djokovic Defaulted For Hitting Linesperson

While the quarter-finals are set to be packed with talented youngsters, we take a look back at what that tournament at Wimbledon in 2003 looked like.

Hewitt, Agassi fall early

The defending champion and top seed, Lleyton Hewitt was stunned in the opening round at the All England Club.

The Australian fell to Croatian Ivo Karlovic 1-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 6-4 in a huge upset.

Hewitt had won the second of his two grand slams the previous year, but was shocked by the big-serving Karlovic to become just the second defending champion to bow out in the first round of the tournament.

"The first, I was completely – I mean, I was scared," Karlovic said afterwards. "After I saw that I can beat him, I start to play more better."

ALSO READ: Djokovic Left Feeling 'Sad And Empty' After Default

An eight-time grand slam winner whose last success had come at the Australian Open in 2003, Agassi made the fourth round before being edged by Mark Philippoussis 6-3 2-6 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 6-4.

Philippoussis would go on to reach his second grand slam final, but fell short against a 21-year-old Federer.

The other previous major winners in the draw were Juan Carlos Ferrero, who had just won the French Open, Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Gustavo Kuerten.

Ferrero lost to Sebastien Grosjean in the fourth round, Kuerten departed in the second and Kafelnikov in a five-set loss to Raemon Sluiter in the first.

Federer takes his chance as Nadal makes debut

Federer was already the fourth seed heading into Wimbledon, and 2003 would mark the beginning of an era of success.

The Swiss had reached the quarter-finals two years prior, his reputation enhanced by an incredible five-set win over Pete Sampras.

But 2003 was comfortable for Federer, easing into the last eight before wins over Sjeng Schalken, Andy Roddick and Philippoussis.

Philippoussis had gone through five-setters against Agassi and Alexander Popp before beating Grosjean in the semis.

Grosjean had ended Tim Henman's latest home bid in the quarters, while Roddick had cruised past Jonas Bjorkman before falling to Federer.

Federer would win five straight Wimbledon titles and a record eight, while his 20 overall is also the most of men.

The man who would become one of his great rivals, Nadal, made his debut at a grand slam.

The 17-year-old Nadal beat Mario Ancic and Lee Childs before losing to Paradorn Srichaphan. The first of Nadal's 12 French Open titles came two years later, while his Wimbledon successes have come in 2008 and 2010.


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