June 26, 2013

Stakhovsky stuns Federer in 2nd round at Wimbledon

By STEPHEN WILSON / The Associated Press

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.

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Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine reacts as he wins against Roger Federer of Switzerland in their men's second-round singles match at Wimbledon in London on Wednesday.

The Associated Press

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Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine, left, speaks with Roger Federer of Switzerland after he defeated him in their men's second-round singles match at Wimbledon in London on Wednesday.

The Associated Press

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.

(Continued on page 2)

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