It's no doubt little consolation to Janko Tipsarevic after dropping an epic five-set classic to David Ferrer in the U.S. Open quarterfinals Thursday, but the hard-luck Serbian did deliver the shot of the tournament in a losing effort.
At 1-1 in the second-set tiebreaker with Tipsarevic already trailing by a set, Ferrer unleashed a crosscourt backhand that appeared destined to be a winner the moment it left his racquet. Improbably, Tipsarevic not only ran the ball down but also hit a winner of his own, a desperation lunging backhand passing shot that started well wide of the line yet somehow fell inches inside it.
The shot helped eighth-seeded Tipsarevic build the momentum he needed to seize control of the tiebreaker and capture the second and third sets, but he couldn't quite close out the notoriously relentless Ferrer. Even after Tipsarevic built a 4-1 fifth-set lead and had Ferrer at 15-30 on his own serve, the fourth-seeded Spaniard refused to give up, rallying to force a decisive tiebreaker and winning it 7-4.
The comeback from Ferrer coincided with a nasty tumble by Tipsarevic in which he landed hard on his left hip. That was one of the turning points of the match, yet Tipsarevic opted not to use it as an excuse, noting that both men played high-quality tennis from the start of the match until the final point.
"Both of us had chances," Tipsarevic said. "Especially because he played a really good game a 4-2, I really don't think I screwed up in any way, that I played bad or I mishit or I double faulted or something like that. I'm just feeling bad I'm not on the other side of the outcome."
Ferrer advances to face Novak Djokovic on Saturday, a huge opportunity for a player who has lost all three of his previous grand slam semifinal appearances. Tipsarevic leaves New York proud of what he accomplished yet disappointed at what might have been.