Tennis: Murray crashes out of Wimbledon

Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, left, is congratulated by defending champion Andy Murray of Britain after winning their men's singles quarter-final match at Wimbledon. Photo / AP
Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, left, is congratulated by defending champion Andy Murray of Britain after winning their men's singles quarter-final match at Wimbledon. Photo / AP

Andy Murray's reign as Wimbledon champion is over with the Scot falling to Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov who will play Novak Djokovic for a place in the final.

Dimitrov clinched a 6-1 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 victory over the world No.5 Murray in their quarter-final overnight.

The 23-year-old Dimitrov will play top seed Djokovic on Friday night (NZT) after the world No.2 and 2011 Wimbledon champion dispatched Marin Cilic 6-1 3-6 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 6-2.

Murray had hoped to become the first British man to successfully defend the Wimbledon title since Fred Perry in 1936, but the Scot was completely out-classed in a two-hour masterclass from 11th seed Dimitrov on Centre Court.

The 27-year-old's unexpected exit snapped his 17-match winning streak at the All England Club, a magical sequence which had brought him Olympic gold and a first Wimbledon title, and also ended his hopes of reaching a sixth consecutive semi-final at the grasscourt grand slam.

"I'm very disappointed with the way I started. I felt that gave him confidence at the beginning," Murray said.

"I felt fine in the warm-up but got off to a bad start. It's a lot easier for him to settle down when he's two sets up.

"He played a very solid match, making few mistakes and a lot of returns. I just wish I'd made it tougher for him. It wasn't a great day."

"I am excited and happy to win through in straight sets. It's never easy against Andy in front of his home crowd but today I was fortunate," 11th-seeded Dimitrov said.

"I sensed in the warm up that his game was not at the highest level but I was already confident I could play at a high level and play good tennis.

"The first set I had good rhythm and held my ground in the tie-break which was crucial and the third set I had it under control."

Only once before had Murray lost a Wimbledon quarter-final - against Rafael Nadal in 2008 - and this was his first defeat against a player ranked outside the top 10 at a grand slam since 2010.

After years of struggling to live up to the vast potential that has earned him numerous comparisons with Roger Federer, this was a thrilling performance from 23-year-old Dimitrov, who finally secured his first win over a top-10 player at a grand slam at the fifth attempt.

The world No.13 was playing in his first All England Club quarter-final, but he is a former junior Wimbledon champion and had underlined his grasscourt pedigree by winning the Queen's Club title last month.

Meanwhile Federer avoided joining Wimbledon's growing list of Centre Court casualties as the Swiss star hit back to reach the semi-finals with a 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 6-4 victory over compatriot Stan Wawrinka.

Federer dropped a set for the first time in this year's tournament, but eventually emerged unscathed on Wimbledon's showpiece arena just hours after Murray walked off defeated.

Murray's loss was the latest in a long line of shocks on Centre Court over the past nine days, with world No.1 Rafael Nadal and former Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova also among those bowing out.

But fourth seed Federer ensured his name wasn't added to the list with a come from behind victory in the last eight to secure his 35th grand slam semi-final appearance.

"It's always nice to play on Centre Court and in England, I have had amazing support since I first came in 1998," said Federer.

"Stan played great in the first two sets but maybe he struggled with his fitness a little. "We know our patterns so well so it's hard to get by."

Federer admitted he has been especially motivated at Wimbledon this year following his surprise second round loss to Sergiy Stakhovsky 12 months ago.

"Last year was a disappointment as Wimbledon is always a highlight of the year for me. I didn't come close and I was very deflated," he said.

"So it's good to come back and have a chance of going further."

- AFP

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 29 Dec 2014 01:28:09 Processing Time: 568ms