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Federer tops big exits at Wimbledon

LONDON — It was already one of the most tumultuous days in Grand Slam history, with seven players forced out by injuries, two of the top three seeded women eliminated and six former No. 1s leaving early.

So what else could happen to make this a day like no other at Wimbledon?

Here's what: the world's greatest grasscourt player losing on his favorite Centre Court — the most famous stage in tennis — to a 116th-ranked qualifier who had never beaten a top-10 player.

Seven-time 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 Ukrainian outplayed Federer, serving and volleying to a 6-7 (7-5), 7-6 (7-5), 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) victory that stands out as one of the sport's biggest upsets.

"Magic," said Stakhovsky, 27. "I couldn't play any better (Wednesday)."

Federer's loss ended his record streak of reaching at least the quarterfinals at 36 consecutive Grand Slams, 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 (Wednesday)."

The result capped a chaotic day of injuries, walkovers, retirements and shocking results.

Third-seeded Maria Sharapova fell to a 131st-ranked qualifier. No. 2 Victoria Azarenka was among the seven injury withdrawals.

Two days ago, two-time champion Rafael Nadal was bounced in the first round by 135th-ranked Steve Darcis. Darcis withdrew a few hours before his scheduled match against Lukasz Kubot. Darcis said he hurt his right shoulder in his win against Nadal.

"Not to go on the court (Wednesday), it's maybe the biggest disappointing thing I have to do," Darcis said.

After three days of play, five of the top-10-seeded women and four of the top-10 men are 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. Federer, 31, said he 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'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.

Stakhovsky fell onto his back in celebration. He later bowed to the crowd as Federer walked off the court with a quick wave.

"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."

Sharapova, the 2004 Wimbledon champion, was stunned 6-3, 6-4 by Michelle Larcher de Brito in the second round. Sharapova slipped and fell several times on Court 2 and received medical treatment from the trainer in the second set.

"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."

Tampa resident John Isner, seeded 18th, retired during his second-round match vs. Adrian Mannarino after two games. That came three years after Isner beat Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in the fifth set at Wimbledon in the longest match in tennis history.

"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.

.today

Featured matches

Women: Serena Williams (1) vs. Caroline Garcia; Agnieszka Radwanska (4) vs. Mathilde Johansson; Li Na (6) vs. Simona Halep; Sam Stosur (14) vs. Olga Puchkova; Sabine Lisicki (23) vs. Elena Vesnina; Peng Shuai (24) vs. Marina Erakovic

Men: Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Bobby Reynolds; David Ferrer (4) vs. Roberto Bautista Agut; Tomas Berdych (7) vs. Daniel Brands; Juan Martin del Potro (8) vs. Jesse Levine; Richard Gasquet (9) vs. Go Soeda; Kei Nishikori (12) vs. Leonardo Mayer; Tommy Haas (13) vs. Jimmy Wang; Grigor Dimitrov (29) vs. Grega Zemlja

TV: 7 a.m., ESPN2

. Fast facts

Unlucky 7s

. Seven players left Wimbledon on Wednesday because of injury withdrawals or mid-match retirements, believed to be the most in one day at a Grand Slam in the 45-year Open era: Victoria Azarenka (knee), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (leg), John Isner (knee), Marin Cilic (knee), Steve Darcis (shoulder), Radek Stepanek (hamstring) and Yaroslava Shvedova (arm).

. Seven players who have been ranked No. 1 left the tournament because of injury or loss: Azarenka, Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova, Caroline Wozniacki, Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic and Lleyton Hewitt.

Federer tops big exits at Wimbledon 06/26/13 [Last modified: Thursday, June 27, 2013 12:58am]
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