Wimbledon: Reigning champion Roger Federer beaten by Sergiy Stakhovsky in second round
Last Updated: 27/06/13 9:52am
Roger Federer's hopes of retaining his Wimbledon title came to a rather premature end when he was humbled by Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-7 (5/7) 7-6 (7/5) 7-5 7-6 (7/5) in the second round.
On a day of big-name exits at SW19, Federer's departure was the most surprising of all as he went down to a player ranked 116 in the world.
Centre Court was left stunned as Stakhovsky bounced back from losing a tie-break in the opening set to KO the seven-time champion after exactly three hours.
The defeat ends a run of 36 consecutive grand slam quarter-final appearances by the Swiss while it is his earliest exit from a major since losing in the first round of the French Open 10 years ago.
It also continues to clear the way for Andy Murray to reach the final at the All England Club for a second successive year - the Brit, booked his place in the third round earlier on Wednesday with a routine win over Lu Yen-Hsun, could have possibly faced the man that beat him in last year's final in the semis.
Marin Cilic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, two potential opponents for the second seed further down the line, were both forced to withdraw from the tournament due to injury.
Rafael Nadal - who had been scheduled to meet long-time rival Federer in the last eight had they both progressed that far - had already been dumped out in the opening round by Belgian Steve Darcis.
Stakhovsky simply showed no signs of nerves as he sealed the biggest victory of his career; his reward is a third-round clash with Austrian Jurgen Melzer.
Exploiting opportunities to come to the net whenever he got them, the 27-year-old overcame the failure to take two break-point chances in the second set to level matters in a tie-break.
Both players had their chances in a see-saw third before Federer was unable to get out of a jam in the 11th game, making a mess of a simple backhand to open the door to his opponent.
Stakhovsky duly seized upon it to move ahead, then claimed a crucial break in the third game of the fourth set as Federer continued to flounder; his display was summed up when, facing the possibility of falling behind, he inexplicably netted what seemed certain to be a winner.
The 31-year-old then wasted two chances to break back in the fourth game but he levelled the set in the sixth to make it 3-3.
In the end another tie-break was needed to settle the set, with Stakhovsky drawing first blood with an early break. He showed tremendous composure to remain ahead before the mother of all Wimbledon upsets was sealed when Federer sent a straightforward backhand wide at 6-5 down.