STUTTGART, Germany (AP) Roger Federer squandered two match points and lost to Dominic Thiem 3-6, 7-6 (7), 6-4 in a rain-interrupted Mercedes Cup semifinal on Saturday.
Thiem led 5-0 in the second set before allowing the top-seeded Federer to pull even by winning five straight games. In the tiebreaker, Federer wasted one match point with a smash into the net. On the second, he tried to serve and volley behind a second serve but was passed by an impeccable return. Thiem won the set with a smash.
“I was incredibly nervous. I was fortunate in the tiebreaker but you need good luck to beat the best player on grass,” Thiem said.
Thiem beat Federer in the third round of the Italian Open before Federer took a month off to deal with a back injury. That win was on clay, while Saturday’s came on grass, Federer’s favorite surface.
“I can’t believe that I beat him on grass,” said Thiem, who has little experience on grass. Federer is a seven-time Wimbledon champion.
Thiem won the match when Federer sent a backhand wide on Thiem’s second match point. The match was twice interrupted by rain, both times for 30 minutes. The second delay came right after Thiem broke for 4-3 in the third set.
Federer was still without a title this year. He had knee surgery after losing in the semifinals of the Australian Open to Novak Djokovic and was forced to skip the French Open because of the back injury. He’s ranked No. 3.
Thiem, with three ATP titles this year, reached his maiden Grand Slam semifinals at the French Open, and the Austrian has jumped to No. 7 in the world.
Thiem will play either Juan Martin del Potro or Philipp Kohlschreiber for the title.
ATLANTA — Second-seeded John Isner beat Canada’s Vasek Pospisil 6-3, 6-4 on Wednesday night in the 6-foot-10 former University of Georgia star’s opening match in the BB&T Atlanta Open.
Coming off a victory Sunday in the Hall of Fame Open in Newport, Rhode Island, Isner is seeking his fourth Atlanta title in five seasons. He lost to Nick Kyrgios in the final last year.
Isner set up a quarterfinal match at Atlantic Station against Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko, a 6-3, 6-1 winner over sixth-seeded Donald Young. The American has 11 career titles, all at the ATP World Tour 250 level.
Third-seeded Gilles Muller of Luxembourg and Tommy Paul also reached the quarterfinals. Muller beat France’s Quentin Halys 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-3, and Paul topped Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-3.
In the top half of the draw, top-seeded Jack Sock will open play Thursday with a second-round match against Israel’s Dudi Sela.
NEWPORT, R.I. — Top-seeded John Isner beat Australian qualifier Matthew Ebden 6-3, 7-6 (4) on Sunday for his third Hall of Fame Open title.
The hard-serving American also won the grass-court event in 2011 and 2012. He has 11th career titles, all at the ATP World Tour 250 level.
“It’s hard to win a tournament,” Isner said. “It’s no small feat to come out here and be the last man standing. I’m very happy about that. It’s been two years since I won a tournament, so I had that weighing on my mind.”
Isner became the second player to win an ATP title without facing a break point since records began in 1991. Tommy Haas also accomplished the feat in Memphis, Tennessee, in 2007.
“I’m very happy with how I played all week,” Isner said. “It was a perfect week and I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
Ebden was playing his first tour-level final.
“It’s a lot of reward for a lot of hard work, a lot of years of sacrifice,” Ebden said. “It’s disappointing, but at the same time I have to be happy with my week.”