David Ferrer, who has reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals on his last two appearances, was knocked out on Wednesday by Russian Andrey Kuznetsov, who pulled off a stunning performance to beat the experienced Spaniard in five sets 6-7(5), 6-0, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
In his previous round Kuznetsov had to beat both Britain’s Dan Evans and the partisan Wimbledon crowd on No.2 Court. Back on the same court for the second round against the No.7 seed, the 2009 junior Wimbledon champion who has previously struggled with the transition into the senior game was in magnificent form. Since joining the pro tour, he had never beaten a top 10 player or won a five-set match - here he achieved both.
It was a classy performance. A break down early in the first set, Kuznetsov became increasingly grumpy. He seemed to be giving himself a fairly hard time given the size of the task. The opponent he faced was ranked 111 places above him.
But underdog status suited him. Relaxing into the set, he serve-volleyed beautifully. Pouncing on any ball that had the temerity to sit up, the pace and finish he generated was outstanding.
It became clear that Kuznetsov could seriously see himself winning this. Though he couldn’t convert four break points on Ferrer’s serve that would have given him the set, he did not let this check his momentum. When the canny 32-year-old secured the first set after 67 minutes, Kuznetsov hit back brilliantly, securing the second in 23 minutes without losing a game.
Nine years Kuznetsov’s senior, Ferrer is one of the best players in the world, but he recovered from the ignominy and promptly took the third. But back came the Russian to take the fourth set, taking advantage of the flagging Ferrer serve and taking control with some power hitting to force a decider.
As he served out the final game to love, preventing a stunned Ferrer from reaching the third round in a Grand Slam for the 18th consecutive time, the crowd roared. The slight unassuming man had reached that stage for the first time.
In his defence, the Spaniard had a tummy bug after Roland Garros that made his grass-court preparation impossible. Twice a winner at ’s-Hertogenbosch, he was forced to pull out this year. But he stamped on any suggestions that illness contributed to the outcome: "The match, I lost because my opponent, he was better,'' Ferrer said. "I think I had a good game. But he surprised me and he played very well. He made a lot of winners."
Laid-back Kuznetsov declared himself a fan of the No.2 Court. "Today I played second time already on the same court, so probably it was a little bit of an advantage for me as well. I won the junior in 2009. Back then it was my first experience on grass, and suddenly I liked it. So, since then, I do like the grass very much!"
"I'm pretty happy. It was probably the biggest win in my career.’
20:08It brings me no pleasure but it's time to bring the curtain down for another year. Seemed somehow appropriate to leave the last word to Roger Federer. Thanks a billion for reading. What a fortnight, what a final, fast forward to 2015 please...
20:03"I already have seven. It's not like I need another one. But it would have been awfully nice to have it. I think that's what the feeling was of the people, and I felt that... I know they love tennis. They love tennis after we're all gone."View all