Roger Federer was left puzzled by his shock defeat to world No116 Evgeny Donskoy, who saved three match points and climbed from 1-5 down in the third-set tiebreak to claim the biggest win of his career and reach the Dubai quarter-finals.
It was quite literally lights out tennis on Centre Court on Wednesday night as both players battled for over two hours in a clash that saw one of the stadium floodlights go out, halting play briefly, and prompting a sell-out crowd to pull out their phones and turn their flashlights on.
Federer held three match points in the second-set tiebreak, was 5-2 up in the third, served for the win at 5-3, and blew a 5-1 lead in the final-set breaker to hand Donskoy a 3-6, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (5) victory.
“Don't know where to start, really,” a perplexed Federer told reporters moments after stepping off the court.
“I had my chances. I should somehow close it out. Don't know how it got away, but he did very well, and yeah, it's a rough one, for sure.”
Federer still processing his loss to world No116 Donskoy: I'm more just trying to digest why I'm speaking to you about what just happened.— Reem Abulleil (@ReemAbulleil) March 1, 2017
Top seed Andy Murray, fourth seed Gael Monfils and World No15 Lucas Pouille feature in a sparkling quarter-final line-up at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Thursday.
World No1 Murray faces Philipp Kohlschreiber at 7pm while Roger Federer’s conqueror Evgeny Donskoy is in action against Lucas Pouille of France after the completion of that match.
In the earlier games on Centre Court, Robin Haase faces Damir Dzumhur at 3pm.
Gael Monfils also takes on Fernando Verdasco.
See the complete schedule below:
Five-time grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova has been given a wildcard to play in the Italian Open in May, organisers said on Wednesday, which sparked further debate over whether players returning from doping suspensions should be given invitations to tournaments rather than having to work their way back up the rankings.
The former world No1 makes her return to the circuit in Stuttgart in April after completing a 15-month doping ban.
“We officially announce the wildcard for the three-time Rome champion @MariaSharapova into the main draw,“ organisers announced on Twitter.
Sharapova hasn’t played on tour since testing positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open.
An initial two-year ban by the International Tennis Federation was reduced to 15 months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.