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THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

MASON, Ohio – Roger Federer lost another three-set match and, perhaps, his longtime grip on No. 1.

The top-ranked player had another subpar showing Thursday, a 7-6 (8), 4-6, 7-6 (7) loss to Ivo Karlovic that left the six-foot-10 Croat exulting on his back.

The outcome opened the way for Rafael Nadal to take over the top spot by winning the Cincinnati Masters. Since his epic five-set loss to the second-ranked Nadal at Wimbledon, Federer has lost in the second round at the Rogers Cup in Toronto and now failed to make the quarter-finals at a tournament he won last year.

Federer has been ranked No. 1 for a record 235 consecutive weeks, a streak that will end if Nadal – who was scheduled to play Thursday night – adds to his run of five consecutive tournament titles.

Federer needed three sets to get through his first match in Cincinnati, then fell behind again Thursday to the hard-serving Karlovic. Federer has won all six times they played previously, taking 13 of their 15 sets, but many of them were close. Nine of those 15 sets ended with tiebreakers.

He got the worst of the most recent ones. When his backhand return sailed long to end the match, Karlovic plopped on his back and raised his arms.

source

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