Stakhovsky crashes, Robson keeps Britain dreaming
Sergiy Stakhovksy, the man who caused one of the greatest Wimbledon sensations by knocking out seven-time champion Roger Federer, was dumped at the All England Club exit door himself on Friday.
The 27-year-old world number 116 went down 6-2, 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 to experienced Austrian Jurgen Melzer in the third round.
Instead of the Centre Court, where he had ended Federer’s run of 36 successive quarter-final appearances at the majors, Stakhovksy was exiled to Court Three where his challenge wasn’t helped by falling heavily on the slippery surface.
That required his ankle to be strapped and his challenge eventually petered out as 32-year-old Melzer reached the fourth round for the second time in his career where he will meet dangerous Pole, Jerzy Janowicz.
The 24th-seeded Janowicz made the fourth round for the second successive year by beating Spanish 15th seed Nicolas Almagro, 7-6 (8/6), 6-3, 6-4.
“I was broken early in the first set. I was nervous, but I was able to come back,” said Janowicz.
“Right now I’m playing really good tennis and I’m really confident.”
Spanish fourth seed David Ferrer, meanwhile, reached the third round with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 7-5 win over compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut in match held over from Thursday because of rain.
Heavy rain also delayed play on the outside courts on Friday with Bulgarian 29th seed Grigor Dimitrov staging a temporary sit-down protest to register his anger at conditions on Court Three before he lost a five-set second round thriller.
Dimitrov, watched by superstar girlfriend Maria Sharapova, who was knocked out on Wednesday, went out 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 3-6, 6-4, 11-9 to Slovenia’s Grega Zemlja.
When the tie resumed following Thursday’s suspension, 22-year-old Dimitrov, watched by the sunglasses-wearing Sharapova, slipped and fell in his service action at 8-9 in the final set to give up the third match point of the tie.
He then stomped off to the sidelines and sat in his courtside chair.
The umpire and tournament referee then decided to wait out the drizzle before play resumed 10 minutes later.
But it didn’t change Dimitrov’s luck as Zemlja took victory on a sixth match point with a fine forehand passing shot.
“It started raining during the warmup. I kind of thought the umpire would say something,” said Dimitrov, a former boys champion at Wimbledon.
“When I slipped, I fell down, I hurt my hip. I told him, I’m not serving.”
Dimitrov, long touted as a future star of the sport, paid a heavy price for converting just two of 18 break points.
Zemlja, the first Slovenian to make the third round at Wimbledon, goes on to face Argentina’s eighth seed Juan Martin del Potro for a place in the last 16.
“I think a lot of people are talking about the surfaces,” added Dimitrov.
“It’s kind of tough sometimes I think for the aggressive movers. I consider myself as a pretty aggressive mover on the court.
“It’s tough when the grass is really slippery. I think you got to adjust. That’s the one thing. I mean, you know it’s not going to change much except the headlines.”
Britain’s Laura Robson made the third round with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Colombian qualifier Mariana Duque-Marino and goes on to face Marina Erakovic of New Zealand for a last-16 spot.
“I’ve lost to her on grass before. She’s got a big game, a huge serve, a good slice as well. Pretty much a perfect game for grass,” Robson said.
Kaia Kanepi of Estonia, a quarter-finalist in 2010, knocked out German seventh seed, Angelique Kerber, who made the semi-finals last year, 3-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-3.
“I had my chances in the second set but I didn’t take them,” said Kerber, who was 5/1 up in the tiebreaker. “In the third she was playing unbelievable and I couldn’t do nothing. “
Later Friday, second seed Andy Murray, looking to become Britain’s first men’s champion since 1936, faces Spanish veteran Tommy Robredo on Centre Court hoping to seal a place in the last 16.
The world number two is in the bottom half of the draw which has seen seven-time champion Federer, reigning French Open champion Rafael Nadal, dangerous sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and 10th seed Marin Cilic all depart.
The bottom half of the women’s draw has been similarly devastated after world number two Victoria Azerenka withdrew with a knee injury and world number three, Sharapova, slumped to shock defeat against Portuguese qualifier Michelle Larcher De Brito.
The highest-ranked player left in that section is the 2011 champion Petra Kvitova, seeded eighth, who faces Ekaterina Makarova, the Russian 25th seed, for a place in the last 16.
Larcher De Brito faces Italy’s Karin Knapp, while former finalist Marion Bartoli, the 15th seeded Frenchwoman, tackles Italy’s Camila Giorgi.