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Roger Federer says he will pursue elusive Olympic gold in Tokyo

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Roger Federer will turn 40 in 2021, but before then, he wants to play once more in the Olympics, he confirmed Monday.

As with all athletes, especially those in their late 30s, he added the qualifier “if healthy.”

“I’ve been thinking about it for weeks now,” Federer said.

Federer said he needed time to consider the schedule and how to juggle his family life, the U.S. Open, the grass-court season and the clay-court season.

An Olympic singles gold is one of the few medals to elude the Swiss star in his career, though he has a silver medal from 2012 and a doubles gold from 2008. He reached the semifinals as an unseeded 19-year-old in his first appearance in 2000 but lost in the second round in 2004 and the quarterfinals in 2008. He advanced to the final for the first time in 2012, losing to Britain’s Andy Murray.

He missed the 2016 Olympics with a knee problem that kept him sidelined for much of the year.

The Olympics also hold sentimental value for him — he met his future wife, Mirka Federer, in Sydney in his first Olympic appearance. He also has twice carried the Swiss flag in Olympic opening ceremonies before declining the honor in 2012. 

Barring injury, qualification shouldn’t be an issue. The top 56 players in the ATP singles rankings will qualify as long as they are in the top four within their own country.

Federer will need an exemption to the rule that players must have played a set number of Davis Cup ties in the Olympic cycle, but the qualification criteria include an exemption for players who have demonstrated a commitment to the Davis Cup in the past. He’s sure to meet that requirement, given his 27 prior appearances, his Davis Cup commitment award and his 2014 title with Stan Wawrinka.

The 2020 Olympic competition will take place on hard courts specifically DecoTurf, the surface used at the U.S. Open. Of his 102 career titles, 70 have been on hard courts, including five consecutive U.S. Open wins from 2004 to 2008.

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Roger Federer stunned by Grigor Dimitrov at U.S. Open

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NEW YORK — Roger Federer shanked. He took an off-court medical timeout for treatment on his upper back and neck. He straight up stopped playing on one point. Federer was anything but himself, falling in five sets in the U.S. Open quarterfinals on Tuesday night.

Grigor Dimitrov, a former world No. 3 whose ranking has fallen to a seven-year-low 78, pulled off the stunner 3-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 to make his third Grand Slam semifinal and his first since January 2017.

“[Federer] kind of started slowing down a little bit,” said Dimitrov, the lowest-ranked U.S. Open men’s semifinalist Jimmy Connors was No. 174 for his memorable 1991 run at age 39. “For sure at the end he was not 100 percent.”

Dimitrov, whose game was so similar to the Great Swiss that he was nicknamed “Baby Fed” years ago, was 1-7 in his last eight matches going into the U.S. Open and 0-7 against Federer in his career.

Federer’s U.S. Open ended five days earlier than expected. With Novak Djokovic out, his path was open to the final, potentially against Rafael Nadal for the first time at Flushing Meadows.

“Just disappointed it’s over because I feel like I was actually playing pretty well,” said Federer, who finished his two previous matches in a crisp 79 and 80 minutes, respectively. “Just a missed opportunity to some extent.”

Instead, Dimitrov gets No. 5 seed Daniil Medvedev in Friday’s semifinals. Nadal is the only man left in the draw who has made a Grand Slam final. He plays Argentine Diego Schwartzman in the quarterfinals on Wednesday night.

Federer was all over the place Tuesday night, reminding everyone of his age (38). He dominated at times, reeling off highlight shots. He sprayed balls into the seats at others with 60 unforced errors.

He took a rare medical timeout, leaving the court for several minutes before the final set. Then he dropped the next four games, a hole he could not climb out of.

“This is Grigor’s moment and not my body’s moment,” Federer said. “I fought with what I had.”

It all means that Federer failed to win a Grand Slam in a calendar year for the first time since 2016. His lead in the career Slam titles count is more precarious than ever.

He has 20. Nadal is at 18 and now heavily favored to get to 19 (and to at least 20 before next summer). How many more chances will Federer get to win Slams?

“I don’t have the crystal ball,” he said.

U.S. OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women

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Serena Williams holds opponent to 0 winners, into U.S. Open semifinals

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NEW YORK — Has Serena Williams ever been this dominant? She held 18th seed Wang Qiang to zero winners in a 44-minute 6-1, 6-0 victory in the U.S. Open quarterfinals on Tuesday night.

Make it 100 U.S. Open match wins for Williams, who by the way had 24 winners Tuesday. She said that when she debuted here in 1998, at age 16 (and won the title the next year), she never would have imagined reaching the century mark.

“It didn’t cross my mind that I would still be out here,” she said.

Wang, who will be ranked in the top 15 after the U.S. Open, was asked afterward what surprised her the most in her first match against Williams (and her first time playing at Arthur Ashe Stadium).

“Power,” she said. “I cannot handle it. Just too much for me.”

The most important numbers: 24 (Williams is two wins from a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title) and one (Williams is looking for her first tournament title since becoming a mom).

She gets the highest seed left in the draw, No. 5 Elina Svitolina, in Thursday’s semifinals. The eighth-seeded American showed no affects from rolling her right ankle in the fourth round on Sunday.

Williams, who has made the semifinals of 10 straight U.S. Open appearances, is now one U.S. Open match win shy of Chris Evert‘s record 101. She is 100-12 all-time at Flushing Meadows.

She is also the only woman among the quarterfinalists who has Grand Slam final experience. Perhaps that will help her after losing all three of her Slam finals since returning from life-threatening childbirth last year.

“I”m definitely more ready than last year, although I thought I was playing really well last year,” Williams said. “After a small hiccup this year, I’m starting to play a little bit better.”

Svitolina, the highest-ranked woman yet to reach a Slam final, dispatched British 16th seed Jo Konta 6-4, 6-4 earlier Tuesday. Svitolina beat Williams in their last meeting at the Rio Olympics.

In men’s action Tuesday, fifth seed Daniil Medvedev became the first Russian man to make a Grand Slam semifinal since Mikhail Youzhny at the 2010 U.S. Open. Medvedev took out 2016 U.S. Open champion Stan Wawrinka 7-6 (6), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1. Medvedev gets Roger Federer or Grigor Dimitrov in the semifinals.

U.S. OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women

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