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Stakhovsky Ends Federer's Record Run

Wimbledon, England

Stakhovsky© Getty ImagesSergiy Stakhovsky recorded his first Top 10 win in 21 attempts.

Sergiy Stakhovsky dealt Roger Federer his earliest Grand Slam exit in 10 years with a superb serve and volley display on Wednesday evening at The Championships. The Ukrainian lost serve just once as he knocked Federer out 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 7-5, 7-6(5) in the second round at Wimbledon.

"I'm in disbelief that it happened," said a stunned Stakhovsky in a post-match interview. "I was playing my best tennis I ever played and it almost wasn't enough to beat Roger. I'm incredibly happy.

"When you play Federer at Wimbledon, it's like you're playing two people: Federer and his ego on Centre Court at Wimbledon, where he's historical. I was hoping I would have a chance to be in the match at the beginning. I was just hanging in there on my serve, trying to get to tie-break. I was a little tight up a break in the fourth [set], it was hard to pull it out. I'm really happy I'm able to go through.

"It was magic. I couldn't play any better today. I played everything I needed and wanted to do. I volleyed incredibly well today. It was a fantastic day for me."

It was World No. 116 Stakhovsky’s first Top 10 win in 21 attempts and ended Federer’s run of reaching 36 successive Grand Slam quarter-finals. It was the Swiss’ earliest loss at a Grand Slam championship since falling in the 2003 Roland Garros first round (l. to Horna). One month later, he won the first of his 17 Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon.

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Federer’s exit follows Rafael Nadal’s shock defeat on Monday at the hands of Steve Darcis, while sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was also a bottom half casualty on Wednesday.

Despite winning the first set, Federer failed to create a break point on Stakhovsky’s serve until the 11th game of the second set at 15/40. The Ukrainian defied Federer with two unreturned serves and went on to level the match. Federer had only committed one unforced error to 14 winners in the set. 

Stakhovsky fought off Federer pressure on his own serve and claimed the first service break of the match in the 11th game as Federer made costly groundstroke errors. The Ukrainian then nervelessly served out the set to 15, punching away a forehand volley to the delight of the crowd. 

Stakhovsky went up an early break in the fourth set, leading 2-1, but seven-time Wimbledon champion Federer would not go down without a fight. The Swiss finally broke through Stakhovsky’s defences and levelled at 3-3. He then had a set point chance at 30/40 on Stakhovsky’s serve in the 12th game, but the Ukrainian’s wrist and forearm were rock solid as he punched away another volley winner before pushing the set to a tie-break. 

Stakhovsly drew first blood in the tie-break, engineering a 3-1 lead with a backhand winner. He earned two match points with a 6-4 lead as Federer netted a backhand pass. Federer saved the first, on Stakhovsky's serve, with a forehand winner, but faltered on a backhand down the line to give Stakhovsky victory in three hours.

It is the earliest defeat for the defending Wimbledon champion since Lleyton Hewitt was beaten in the 2003 first round by Ivo Karlovic. It also counts as Federer’s worst defeat at a tour-level event since losing to World No. 154 Mario Ancic in the 2002 Wimbledon first round. 

The 27-year-old Stakhovsky matched his best Grand Slam showing by reaching the third round at Wimbledon for the first time. He goes on to face Austrian Jurgen Melzer in a first career meeting. The Ukrainian had won only seven tour-level matches this season coming into Wimbledon and has seen his Emirates ATP Ranking plummet to World No. 116 from a career-high No. 31 (September 2010).

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