Argentine Guillermo Canas, who slipped into the main draw as a lucky loser from qualifying, crushed Roger Federer's hopes of winning a fourth consecutive Pacific Life Open title and setting a new Open era-record winning streak with a 7-5, 6-2 victory Sunday. Federer, who also was chasing a record-equaling eighth straight tournament victory, was last beaten in the second round of ATP Masters Series Cincinnati last summer.
Canas, who has now won 11 of 13 matches this year, claimed his seventh ATP title last month at Costa do Sauipe (d. Ferrero). He returned to competition last September after a 15-month drug suspension. Canas lost to Federer in Indian Wells two years ago but defeated the Swiss en route to the ATP Masters Series Canada title in 2002.
Safin, Hewitt Follow Federer Out
Canas produced some of his best tennis on the big points and took advantage of an unusually-high rate of unforced errors from Federer.
Canas is the first Lucky Loser to defeat a World No. 1 since Sandon Stolle defeated No. 1 Thomas Muster in the Dubai first round in 1996.
Canas, 29, broke Federer twice in both sets, jumping on the World No. 1's second serve. Federer won just 68 percent of points on his first serve and 36 percent of points on his second serve. Canas was broken just once in the first set and did not face a break point in the second set.
Canas said: "It's my first Masters Series after I start again, and to beat the No. 1 in the world, and to play like this is great for me. And it gives me a lot of confidence to finish this year with my goal: to finish in the top 20 in the ranking."
Federer said: "He played very well. I missed my chances, and I'll pay the price later on.
I think he played very well and I didn't think I was playing poorly at all. So it's okay."
Asked about the pressure of trying to break Guillermo Vilas' 46-match winning streak, Federer said: "I'd rather face it, to be honest. You think it's pressure. It's no pressure at all because I take it match by match. And you guys think it takes a win to break the record. I'm concerned about winning my first round match against a lucky loser. There you go. It just shows you how tough it is.
"Today was just a grind for me from the start. I was struggling, but it was tough. First round match is always difficult, but I've had an incredible run, not losing in the first round for, I think, over two years. So I'm really happy about that. Sooner or later it had to happen, so it's okay. It's no problem."
Canas is just the 11th player to defeat Roger Federer since the Swiss took over as the No. 1 in the ATP Rankings on Feb. 2, 2004. Canas joins Tomas Berdych, Albert Costa, Richard Gasquet, Tim Henman, Dominik Hrbaty, Gustavo Kuerten, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal (6 times), David Nalbandian and Marat Safin as the only players to defeat Federer as a No. 1.
This is only the 16th defeat Federer has suffered since becoming No. 1 in the ATP Rankings on Feb. 2, 2004. This is the first opening match loss for Federer since ATP Masters Series Cincinnati in 2004 (l. to Hrbaty).