Sandgren left wondering after Open exit

Darren Walton
Tennys Sandgren can't believe he blew seven match points against Roger Federer

Not even a half-a-million-dollar pay day was enough to console Tennys Sandgren after the quintessential tennis battler blew the opportunity of a lifetime against Roger Federer at the Australian Open.

It'll be a great party tale, but Sandgren will forever be haunted for squandering SEVEN match points against arguably the greatest player ever in a dramatic, sliding doors quarter-final at Melbourne Park.

"I could just as easily be in the semis right now, but I'm not, so ...," Sandgren rued after his gut-wrenching 6-3 2-6 2-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3 loss to the 20-times grand slam champion at Melbourne Park.

"Back to the drawing board, you know. Back to the drawing board.

"Keep working. Keep trying to improve. Maybe I'll get another look, another shot. Maybe I'll come through."

All seven of Sandgren's match points came deep in the fourth set.

But, to be fair, the underdog didn't do much wrong. Federer, showing why he's widely considered the GOAT - greatest of all time - hung tough.

"Yeah, he played them well. Obviously he played them well," Sandgren said.

"I could have played them better. I've run through them (the match points) a bunch of times.

"He was aggressive on one, passive on a few, came in on one - (I) could have put the volley in a different spot. He read it well, hit two good passes.

"Put me in an awkward spot on the last one I had. Missed the approach. He probably would have passed me anyway. It was in a bad spot.

"Yeah, you know, all credit to him for sure. Tennis is a crazy sport. Seven (match points) is not that many. Was it seven?

"One on my serve. Really not that many. If I had, like, six on my serve, I'd be really pissed off."

But even Federer admitted he was "incredibly lucky" and "didn't deserve" to win.

Not that the great Swiss's confession - nor the career-best $525,000 pay day - were any consolation to Sandgren.

"Not encouraged right now. I have zero encouragement right now," said the 28-year-old, who also missed the priceless opportunity to play Novak Djokovic on one of the world's biggest stages in a grand slam semi-final.

"I mean, I'm sure I'll look back in a couple days and appreciate the tennis I played the last, what, eight, nine days.

"But currently just disappointed. Just disappointed."