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The weirdest in Wimbledon history? The best of Day Three

by Nicholas McCarvel
Wednesday 26 June 2013

It is safe to say that Wednesday at the All England Club was a day unlike any other. From Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova's shocking losses to a series of withdrawals from the tournament, we take a look back at the strange day that was at The Championships.

Match of the Day Sergiy Stakhovsky def. [3] Roger Federer 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 7-5, 7-6(5)
It was historic on many levels, but consider this: the last time Roger Federer lost as early in a major tournament was at Roland Garros in 2003 - before he had won a single major title. More than 10 years on, with seven Wimbledon trophies and 17 Grand Slams, Federer went out in dramatic fashion to Sergiy Stakhovsky on Centre Court, before an awe- (and dumb-) struck crowd. The Ukranian played solid tennis throughout, slugging with Federer from the baseline and taking his opporutnities  when they came. It was the earliest defeat for Federer at Wimbledon since losing in the first round in 2002, and snapped a run of 36 straight major quarter-finals, which began at this very tournament in 2004. The loss for Federer was his worst in terms of opponent's ranking (Stakhovsky is the world No.116) since losing to Richard Gasquet, the No.101, at Monte Carlo in 2005.

Honorary Match of the Day: Dustin Brown def. Lleyton Hewitt 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-2
A former Wimbledon champ was looking to come good after a first-round upset of No.11 seed Stanislas Wawrinka, but a qualifier ranked outside the top 100 with his Twitter user name emblazoned on his chest had other ideas. That was the storyline for Lleyton Hewitt and Dustin Brown, the latter a dreadlock-sporting German playing lights-out tennis in front of an inspired No.2 Court crowd, overcoming the Australian veteran with flashy and hard-hitting tennis through four sets. If you could capture the match in one moment it would be Brown's diving volley winner, a dropper that kissed the grass on Hewitt's side of the net to give him the first set on a day when Hewitt's consistency just wasn't enough.

Upset of the Day: Michelle Larcher De Brito def. [3] Maria Sharapova 6-3, 6-4
In a day of one shocking moment after the next, Maria Sharapova's loss was a close second to Mr. Federer's. The 2004 champion here looked in fine form coming into her second round match against Michelle Larcher De Brito. But the 20-year-old from Portugal took her chances and made them, mostly, on No.2 Court, matching the four-time Slam champion with pace and precision and never wilting, even with the pressure of closing out her 26-year-old foe. Sharapova had a slip on the grass in the second set that seemed to throw her (and she receieved medical attention for a hip issue), but gave credit to a youngster who six years ago won her first professional tennis match - at the age of 14. 

Stat of the Day:
Of the 158 singles matches completed, just two of them have gone to "overtime" status. What do we mean by that? Beyond the point of 6 games all in the deciding set. One did on Wednesday, when American Sloane Stephens beat Andrea Petkovic 7-6, 2-6, 8-6. The only other to do so - in both men's and ladies' singles - was a Day One win for Bojana Jovanovski, 3-6, 6-1, 9-7 over Ajla Tomljanovic.

Another Stat of the Day:
In the cringe category, a record was set for the most withdrawals or retirements in one day at a major, with seven players (can you name them?) bowing out of singles action because of injury. Victoria Azarenka, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Radek Stepanek, Steve Darcis, Marin Cilic, John Isner and Yaroslava Shvedova all fell into that category. Checking facts, 17 players pulled out or retired during the US Open in 2011 (only 10 so far this fortnight), the most of any entire major.

Three (Stats) Are a Charm:
After Federer's upset, this marks the first time that neither he nor Rafael Nadal have made the third round of a Grand Slam that they both played in.

Quote of the Day: Roger Federer on his loss:
"It's always a disappointment losing any match around the world and particularly here. What do you do after something like this? 24 hour rule. Don't  panic at this point. That's clear. Go back to work. I'm looking forward to next year, that I can do better here next year. I still have plans to play for many more years to come."

Tweet of the Day:

'Did You Just See?' of the Day:
But really, did you just see that? Perhaps the moment not to miss on Wednesday was when Olympic gold medalist Mo Farah, he of the long distances, showed us he had some ball-catching skills up his sleeve, as well. The London Games winner of the 5,000- and 10,000-metre races was seated in the Royal Box on Centre Court when a ball flew his way and he grabbed it, no problem! Also to be seen in the Box was English comedien Stephen Fry.

And three-time winner Boris Becker was spotted around the grounds, followed by the Wimbledon.com crew to give his own personal tour of the All England Club. Thanks for that, Boris!

Video of the Day:

This wonder-rally between Ernests Gulbis and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

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20:24...But boy, it was a barrow-load of fun. I hope you enjoyed it even half as much as we did. Thank you for all your messages throughout, you've been the glue holding us together as the edges frayed amid the madness. Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for us Brits to raise a toast to Andy Murray and Fred Perry. British sporting legends both.

20:19It was the wackiest of Wimbledons with the most unlikely of headline-makers: Sergiy Stakhovsky, Steve Darcis, Michelle Larcher de Brito, Kimiko-Date Krumm, Jerzy Janowicz, Sabine Lisicki, Marion Bartoli...

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