“I kind of feel like I beat myself,” he added, moments later.
“I kind of self-destructed, which is very disappointing,” he continued.
Perhaps trying to convince himself as much as others, Federer tried to offer a positive outlook toward the end of his news conference.
“I’ve definitely got to go back to work and come back stronger. Get rid of this loss now as quick as I can, forget about it, because that’s not how I want to play from here on,” he said. “I want to play better. I know I can.”
Robredo has been ranked as high as No. 5, albeit back in 2006, and this is his seventh trip to the quarterfinals at a major. But he had been 0-7 in the U.S. Open’s fourth round. Against Federer, he managed to win only three of the 27 previous sets they’d played.
Here’s the way Robredo described the atmosphere at Armstrong, where the match was played because of rain-provoked scheduling shifts: When he walked out onto the court before the match, “it was like 2 percent of noise,” while when Federer arrived, it sounded “like a concert.”
The weather delays also prompted the tournament to postpone two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka’s fourth-round match against 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic until Tuesday. The winner will face Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia, who got past American wild-card entry Alison Riske, a 23-year-old who grew up in Pittsburgh, 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 on Monday.
Two women’s quarterfinals are Tuesday: defending champion and No. 1-seeded Serena Williams against No. 18 Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain, and 2011 French Open champion Li Na of China against No. 24 Ekaterina Makarova of Russia.
The last four men’s fourth-round matches also are on Tuesday’s schedule, including No. 1 Novak Djokovic against 43rd-ranked Marcel Granollers of Spain, and defending champion Andy Murray against 65th-ranked Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan.
In men’s action Monday, No. 4 David Ferrer of Spain, the runner-up to Nadal at the French Open this year, moved on by beating No. 18 Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia 7-6 (2), 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (3). In the quarterfinals, Ferrer will play No. 8 Richard Gasquet, who entered the day 1-15 in fourth-round Grand Slam matches but erased a match point and withstood 39 aces from No. 10 Milos Raonic to win 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4), 2-6, 7-6 (9), 7-5 on Court 17.
A long line of fans snaked across the grounds when Federer-Robredo was shifted to Armstrong, which holds about 10,000 spectators and has a lot less room separating the playing surface from the stands. Federer, accustomed to playing in Ashe, last competed in Armstrong in 2006.
He said that was not a factor in Monday’s outcome, though. The blame, instead, belonged with his inability to hit his strokes the way he wanted.
Federer was particularly ineffective when he had chances on Robredo’s serve. Time and again, Federer would get an opening, a chance to begin the long climb back into the match. And he kept letting those opportunities slip by.
“We all know the way he plays, how easy he can do everything,” Robredo said. “But I think the difference today was the break points conversion.”