Roger Federer loses at Wimbledon to 116th-ranked Sergiy Stakhovsky
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LONDON -- Seven-time champion Roger Federer was stunned by 116th-ranked Sergiy Stakhovsky in the second round of Wimbledon on Wednesday, his earliest loss in a Grand Slam tournament in 10 years.
The 27-year-old Ukrainian outplayed Federer on Centre Court, serving and volleying his way to a 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5), 7-5, 7-6 (5) victory that stands out as one of the biggest upsets in Grand Slam history.
"Magic," Stakhovsky said. "I couldn't play any better today."
The result capped a chaotic day at Wimbledon when seven players were forced out by injuries, and former champion Maria Sharapova fell in the second round to a qualifier.
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.
The owner of a record 17 major championships, Federer hadn't been beaten in the second round or earlier since a first-round defeat at the 2003 French Open.
Federer's shocking defeat was his earliest at the All England Club since a first-round loss in 2002 to No. 154-ranked Mario Ancic. Stakhovsky is the lowest-ranked player to beat Federer at any event since then.
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 managed only one break of serve 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.
"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."
The third-seeded Sharapova was knocked out by a 131st-ranked qualifier. The 2004 Wimbledon champion was beaten 6-3, 6-4 by Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal in the second round.
Sharapova slipped and fell several times on the grass on Court 2 and received medical treatment from the trainer in the second set.
It wasn't serious enough to force Sharapova to quit, as so many others did.
Among the casualties: second-seeded Victoria Azarenka (walkover, right knee), men's No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (retirement, left knee), John Isner (retirement, left knee) and Steve Darcis (walkover, right shoulder). Darcis was the man who stunned two-time champion Rafael Nadal in the first round Monday.
Also out: 10th-seeded Marin Cilic (walkover, left knee); 2006 quarterfinalist Radek Stepanek (retirement, left hamstring); and Yaroslava Shvedova (walkover, right arm).
The International Tennis Federation said the seven players forced out is believed to be the most in one day at any Grand Slam event in the 45 years of the Open era.
"I would say (it's a) very black day," Cilic said of the spate of injury withdrawals. "The other days, other weeks, there were no pullouts. Everything just happened today."
If that wasn't enough, the tournament lost five former No. 1 players Wednesday: Sharapova, Azarenka, Caroline Wozniacki and Ana Ivanovic among the women, and Lleyton Hewitt among the men.
With Azarenka and Sharapova gone, the prospect of Serena Williams lifting the women's trophy for a sixth time look even stronger. Williams, who is riding a 32-match winning streak, had already been considered the overwhelming title favorite.
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. The U.S. Open champion remains on course in his bid to become the first British man to win Wimbledon in 77 years.
The 20-year-old Larcher de Brito played the match of her life against Sharapova on Court 2 to reach the third round of a Grand Slam for only the second time.
Larcher de Brito held her nerve in the final 10-minute, 18-point game to serve out the match. She saved two break points and finally converted on her fifth match point when Sharapova hit a forehand into the net.
"I can't believe it," Larcher de Brito said. "I just tried to stay calm. I just played so well. I just hung in there. In the last couple of points or games I just gave it my all and went for it."
Sharapova tumbled several times on the grass. Trailing 3-2 in the second set, her right leg gave way behind the baseline and she did the splits.
Sharapova took a medical timeout and complained to the umpire about the grass conditions. She said later she believed she strained a hip muscle.
"I don't think I've ever fallen three times in a match before in my career, so that was a little strange," Sharapova said. "But that's certainly not an excuse.
"I think today I've seen a lot of players fall and take a few hits and a few injuries. So I think that's just part of the game, part of what we have to deal with."
Azarenka, the two-time Australian Open champion, pulled out after hurting her right knee in her opening-round win against Maria Joao Koehler. She withdrew minutes before her second-round match against Flavia Pennetta.
Azarenka reached the semifinals at Wimbledon the last two years and had been seeded to face Williams in the final.
It's only the second time in the Open era that a women's player seeded in the top 2 has conceded a match by walkover at any Grand Slam. The last time it happened was in 1974 at the French Open when second-seeded Nancy Richey pulled out before a match.
In her match against Koehler, Azarenka did the splits near the baseline, then crumpled to the grass, clutching her right knee and sobbing. She recovered after a medical timeout to win.
Azarenka said on Wednesday that medical tests showed she had a bone bruise rather than a tear but was unable to recover in time.
Murray's victory came not long after his potential quarterfinal opponent, Tsonga, retired with 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.
"After the match, a few hours after, I start to feel so much pain, I couldn't sleep that night," he said. "I saw the physio, the doctor, yesterday. They did a good job. It's a little bit better today. But no chance I can play."
Darcis had become an overnight sensation after beating the eight-time French Open champion.
"I was playing maybe the best tennis in my life here," Darcis said. "Not to go on the court today, it's maybe the biggest disappointing thing I have to do."
The tournament also lost 2002 champion Hewitt, who was ousted by 189th-ranked German qualifier Dustin Brown, 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-2.
The dreadlocked Brown, who switched nationality from Jamaica in 2010, was in tears after beating the Australian.
"I cried like a little girl," said Brown, who has played mainly on the lower-tier challenger circuit in 2013 and had never won a match at Wimbledon until this year.
Ninth-seeded Wozniacki slumped to a 6-2, 6-2 loss to 196th-ranked Czech qualifier Petra Cetkovska, continuing her disappointing run since finishing 2011 as No. 1.
The Dane said she slipped during the match and her foot was bothering her.
"I didn't feel 100 percent out there after I slipped," she said. "I overstretched the foot a bit."
In another women's match, Canadian teenager Eugenie Bouchard picked up the biggest victory of her career, beating 12th-seeded Ana Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open champion, 6-3, 6-3 to reach the third round.
Isner, the 18th-seeded American, retired during his second-round match against Adrian Mannarino of France after only two games.
Isner took a medical time out during the second game and a trainer taped the knee. But he was clearly hobbled and decided to quit after serving the first point in the third game.