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Federer laments blown chances in US Open final loss

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NEW YORK —¬†Roger Federer wonders what might’ve been if only he’d converted any of those three break points in the last game of the U.S. Open final.

The crowd roaring, Federer rolling, Novak Djokovic reeling – maybe he could have come all the way back from down two breaks in the fourth set to win in five.

But the Swiss great knows one thing for certain.

“I should have never been down in the first place two sets to one and 5-2,” Federer lamented late Sunday night, still stuck on 17 major titles for at least 4 1/2 more months.

He fell so far behind because his opponent was simply better in the biggest moments. The top-ranked Djokovic was 6 for 13 on break points; Federer was 4 of 23.

“Surely I am very disappointed,” Federer said. “I had my chances on my racket.”

Djokovic won 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 in a match that followed a similar script to their Wimbledon final – Federer wins the second set but falls in four.

His serve was shaky in the early going Sunday. Federer’s coach, six-time Grand Slam champ Stefan Edberg, said the conditions contributed to that. After a rain delay of more than three hours, the air was cooler and the court slower.

“That’s the way it goes,” Edberg said.

In the fourth set, Federer got one break back the first time Djokovic tried to serve out the match. He had three break points in Djokovic’s next service game to potentially even the set at 5-5. But it was only appropriate that the match ended with Federer creating break-point chances and Djokovic saving them.

“He’s always going to be out there making you play your best if you want to win,” Djokovic said.

After 33-year-old Flavia Pennetta announced her retirement during the women’s trophy presentation Saturday, it was hard not to speculate about the 34-year-old Federer’s future. He quickly answered that question during Sunday’s award ceremony, telling the crowd: “I’ll see you guys next year.”

The fans in New York badly wanted to see him get No. 18. They even cheered Djokovic’s missed first serves Sunday.

“They kept me going, and that’s definitely one of the reasons I still keep playing, because of these moments, goose bump moments,” Federer said later.

He hasn’t felt the goose bumps of a major title since 2012 Wimbledon. But everything the second-ranked Federer sees in his game and his results offers encouragement that he’ll eventually add to his record.

“You still cannot count him out,” Edberg said. “If he keeps playing at this level, he’ll get another shot.”

Boris Becker to head men’s tennis for German federation

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FRANKFURT, Germany — Boris Becker has been hired for the new position of head of men’s tennis by the German tennis federation.

The six-time Grand Slam champion will advise all top male players from the country and help its Davis Cup team.

The federation announced Becker’s appointment Wednesday, as well as Barbara Rittner’s move from Fed Cup captain to head of women’s tennis.

Jens Gerlach takes over Germany’s Fed Cup team.

Becker won three titles at Wimbledon – including at age 17 in 1985 – two at the Australian Open and one at the U.S. Open. He also reached No. 1 in the ATP rankings.

He played his last Grand Slam tournament in 1999. Becker turns 50 in November.

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Top-seeded Radwanska gets past Bouchard at Connecticut Open

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Top-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska survived a second-set comeback bid from Eugenie Bouchard to advance to the quarterfinals of the Connecticut Open on Tuesday.

The 10th-ranked Radwanska, who won the title in New Haven last year, defeated Bouchard 6-3, 7-5 in 1 hour, 45 minutes. The Polish veteran is 4-0 in her career against the Canadian, who needed a wild card to enter the tournament.

Bouchard fought off two match points but was broken while serving to force a tiebreak.

Also advancing were Australia’s Daria Gavrilova, who needed 2 hours, 12 minutes to defeat Timea Babos of Hungary 7-5, 7-6 (6), and Elise Mertens of Belgium, a straight-sets winner over Russia’s Daria Kasatkina.

The Connecticut Open is the final women’s tuneup for the U.S. Open, which begins on Monday.