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ATP Dubai: Evgeny Donskoy saves three match points to upset Roger Federer, Andy Murray cruises

The fifth-seeded Tomas Berdych was ousted as well.

Roger Federer Dubai
Federer fails to build on the success of the Australian Open

Australian Open champion Roger Federer was handed a shock defeat by 116th ranked Russian qualifier Evgeny Donskoy, who beat him, 3-6, 7-6(7), 7-6(5) in the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Wednesday.

The third-seeded Federer, a seven-time winner of this ATP 500 tournament, looked all set for his ninth consecutive win on the Tour and had plenty of chances to close out the match. He held three match points in the second-set tie-break but was unable to convert any of them as Donskoy put up some brilliant shotmaking. In the third set, the 35-year-old cruised to 5-2 and was in sniffing distance of victory.

After squandering that chance too, the Swiss maestro built a huge lead of 5-1 in the ensuing third set tie-break. However, much to the astonishment of everyone watching, the 18-time Grand Slam champion let the Russian into the contest, who wrapped it up in 2 hours 2 minutes. This was the maiden top-10 win of the 26-year-old Donskoy’s career and he will next take on the seventh seed Lucas Pouille.

With this loss, the currently 10th ranked Federer is in danger of falling out of the top 10 if Gael Monfils defeats Fernando Verdasco in the quarter-finals.

Federer had the better match statistics out of the two. He produced 12 aces, six more than his lower-ranked rival and won an overall 105 points to Donskoy’s 99. While the Swiss converted four out of five break point opportunities, the World No. 116 made use of three of his four chances.

The former World No. 1 played his first competitive tournament in six months at January’s Australian Open as he needed time off for rehabilitation of his left knee on which he had surgery earlier in 2016. It was a fairytale comeback for the legend, who edged his nemesis Rafael Nadal in five sets in the final to win the title.

Murray cruises, Berdych falls

Federer was not the only big name to be sent packing on Wednesday. The fifth seed Tomas Berdych too lost 6-3, 3-6, 4-6 to the 66th ranked Robin Haase. 

Meanwhile, World No. 1 Andy Murray had no such trouble and pummelled Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, 6-2, 6-0 in just 72 minutes to book a quarter-final berth. The top seed will square off against the ever dangerous Philipp Kohlschreiber for a place in the semi-finals.

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