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Wednesday wipe-out at Wimbledon

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Roger Federer. Picture: Reuters/Toby Melville

Roger Federer. Picture: Reuters/Toby Melville

Roger Federer. Picture: Reuters/Toby Melville

Roger Federer's dream of winning a record eighth Wimbledon title was shattered last night as the defending champion lost to world number 116 Sergiy Stakhovsky on Centre Court.

Having seen Rafael Nadal bow out of the tournament, Federer seemed to have an easy route to the semi-finals, but Ukrainian Stakhovsky stunned the Swiss with a 6-7 (5/7) 7-6 (7/5) 7-5 7-6 (7/5) win in the second round.

Federer's earliest exit at Wimbledon for 11 years comes as a huge boost for Britain's Andy Murray, who earlier saw his potential quarter-final opponent Jo-Wilfried Tsonga pull out through injury. Murray advanced to the third round with a 6-3, 6-3, 7-5 victory over Yen-hsun Lu of Taiwan yesterday.

With Maria Sharapova and Tsonga exiting the tournament earlier, the Wimbledon crowds must have thought they had seen all the day's shocks.

Even the most optimistic of Stakhovsky supporters could not have expected him to derail the 'Fed Express' and cause one of the biggest shocks in Wimbledon history.

The 27-year-old, who had only made the second round once before, played a superb serve-and-volley game that ended Federer's run of 36 consecutive grand slam quarter-final appearances.

Stakhovsky was good value for the win, with Federer having no answer to his opponent's movement and precision.

Stakhovsky said: "I am in disbelief that it happened. It was the best tennis I played and incredible.

 

HISTORICAL

"When you play Roger Federer at Wimbledon he's historical, it's like two against one. I hoped he wouldn't get too far from me, that was my plan.

"I hung in there, tried to go to tie-breaks.

"I got a little tight when I got up a break in the fourth and I am really happy to go through.

"It's magic. I couldn't play any better. I did everything I needed, it was a fantastic day for me."

Wimbledon's genteel surrounds resembled Saturday night on a casualty ward as injuries saw seven players withdraw or retire, affecting both men and women.

The medical bulletins came thick and fast from the moment stricken American marathon man John Isner, who needed 183 games to beat Nicolas Mahut in 2010, survived only two before his knee buckled and he quit against Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.

Next it was Belgian man-of-the-moment Steve Darcis whose challenge began with a bang by beating Nadal but ended with a whimper as he withdrew before his second-round match against Poland's Lukasz Kubot with a shoulder injury.

Women's second second Victoria Azarenka's Centre Court withdrawal was followed by news of Czech veteran Radek Stepanek retiring injured against another Pole, Jerzy Janowicz, with a hamstring injury and then dangerous Croatian 10th seed Marin Cilic declaring himself lame before facing Frenchman Kenny de Schepper.

'Wipe-out Wednesday' was unrelenting and Frenchman Tsonga was the next victim, the fifth seed retiring with knee trouble while trailing two sets to one against Latvian Ernests Gulbis.

 

TANGLED

Murray's path looks a lot less tangled with Nadal's first-round defeat and Tsonga's demise and 'Murray Mania' will move up a level in the coming days as the draw opens up.

Tsonga had looked in control against Gulbis, winning the first set 6-3.

After losing the second set by the same score he needed strapping on his left knee but after going two sets down the Frenchman threw in the towel.

After yesterday's woes 10 singles players have withdrawn or retired from the tournament in the first three days.


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