Shocking Wimbledon loss for Roger Federer
LONDON — Seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer was stunned by Sergiy Stakhovsky in the second round at the All England Club on Wednesday, his earliest loss in a Grand Slam tournament in 10 years.
The 27-year-old Ukrainian, a 116th-ranked qualifier, outplayed Federer, serving and volleying his way to a 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-5), 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) victory that stands out as one of the sport’s biggest upsets.
‘‘Magic,’’ Stakhovsky said. ‘‘I couldn’t play any better today.’’
Federer’s loss ended his record streak of reaching at least the quarterfinals at 36 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments, a run that began at Wimbledon in 2004, shortly after a third-round exit at that year’s French Open.
‘‘It’s always a disappointment losing any match around the world, and particularly here,’’ Federer said. ‘‘I’ve had some great moments here, but also some tougher ones. Can’t have ’em all. It was a tough loss today.’’
Only two days ago, two-time champion Rafael Nadal was bounced in the first round by 135th-ranked Steve Darcis.
After only three days of play, five of the top 10 seeded women and four of the top 10 men are already out of the draw.
The owner of a record 17 major titles and the defending champion, Federer hadn’t been beaten in the second round or earlier at a Slam since a first-round defeat at the 2003 French Open.
The 31-year-old Federer said he won’t ‘‘panic’’ and will work hard to come back stronger.
‘‘I’m looking forward to what’s to come,’’ he said. ‘‘Looking forward to next year, that I can do better next year.”
Federer said the end of his quarterfinal run does not represent the end of an era.
‘‘I still have plans to play for many more years to come,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s normal that after all of a sudden losing early after being in the quarters 36 times, people feel it’s different. ‘’
Federer’s defeat was his earliest at the All England Club since a first-round loss in 2002 to 154th-ranked Mario Ancic. Stakhovsky is the lowest-ranked player to beat Federer at any event since then.
Most shocking: Wednesday’s defeat came on the same grass court Federer has made his own for nearly a decade.
It ended with Stakhovsky converting on his second match point, a 13-stroke rally that finished with Federer hitting a backhand wide.
Stakhovsky fell onto his back in celebration. He later bowed to the crowd as Federer walked off the court with a quick wave.
Federer converted only one of eight break points against Stakhovsky, who broke the Swiss star twice. The Ukrainian piled up 72 winners against 17 unforced errors, while Federer had 56 winners and 13 errors.
While few play serve-and-volley these days, Stakhovsky used the tactic with great success throughout the match to keep Federer off balance. He won 61 out of 96 points at the net.
‘‘I’m still in disbelief,’’ Stakhovsky said. ‘‘When you play Roger Federer at Wimbledon it’s like you are playing two persons. First you play Roger Federer, then you play his ego, and on the Centre Court of Wimbledon, where he is historical. So that’s like playing two against one.’’
Federer’s defeat was the biggest shock on a day full of shocks.
Among the players to drop out: No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (retirement, left knee), John Isner (retirement, left knee) and Darcis (walkover, right shoulder). Also out: 10th-seeded Marin Cilic (walkover, left knee) and 2006 quarterfinalist Radek Stepanek (retirement, left hamstring).
‘‘Very black day,’’ Cilic said about the spate of injury withdrawals. ‘‘The other days, other weeks, there were no pullouts. Everything just happened today.’’
There were a few moments of normality on this crazy day at the All England Club.
Second-seeded Andy Murray advanced easily to the third round with a 6-3, 6-3, 7-5 victory over Yen-hsun Lu of Taiwan on Court 1.
Murray served 11 aces and had 41 winners against only 14 unforced errors for his second consecutive straight-set win. With Nadal and Federer now out of his half of the draw, the US Open champion remains on course in his bid to become the first British man to win Wimbledon in 77 years.
Murray’s victory came not long after his potential quarterfinal opponent, Tsonga, retired because of a left knee injury while trailing Ernests Gulbis, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Darcis withdrew a few hours before his scheduled match against Lukasz Kubot of Poland. He said he hurt his right shoulder while diving for a shot in the first set of his win against Nadal.
‘‘Not to go on the court today, it’s maybe the biggest disappointing thing I have to do,’’ Darcis said.
The tournament also lost 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt, who was ousted by 189th-ranked German qualifier Dustin Brown, 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 6-2.
Isner, the 18th-seeded American, retired during his second-round match against Adrian Mannarino of France after only two games.
The retirement came three years after Isner beat Nicolas Mahut, 70-68, in the fifth set at Wimbledon in the longest match in tennis history.
Now, Isner is out after one of the shortest matches at Wimbledon.
‘‘I always serve and land on my left leg, like I have done 20 million times playing this game, and this is the first time I just felt this sharp pain,’’ he said.