Roger Federer’s Wimbledon Championship dream run ended on Wednesday with a 7-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4) loss to Hungarian qualifier Hubert Hurkacz.
The Swiss ace had been the favorite to win a record eighth Wimbledon singles title. But Federer was undone by a daring left-handed forehand which landed beyond the baseline as Hurkacz hit an under-powered backhand which nearly brushed the baseline before spinning out of play.
Hurkacz is a 32-year-old journeyman who won a Challenger title last year, which makes his Wimbledon 2017 performance remarkable. Previously, Hurkacz had won just one singles Challenger title in 18 years of competition.
Federer, who equaled Jimmy Connors’ record of eight Wimbledon titles, next heads to the US Open, where he is one of the favorites. He has never failed to advance beyond the semifinals of the US Open.
Hurkacz, who broke a two-match losing streak to Federer, unleashed some lethal shots at crucial times. In the first set, which Federer won in a tiebreak, Hurkacz pounded the ball at some 103mph, which the Swiss star barely managed to return. At 5-4 in the first set, Federer got a scare as Hurkacz matched him by hitting an over-the-shoulder forehand that Federer could not return. Federer was never the same after that point.
In the second set, the outcome was ultimately decided by the slip the Swiss star allowed Hurkacz. Federer was serving at 5-2 when a forehand hit the baseline and then settled on the grass. Hurkacz was due to return the ball the next point, but Federer was down and it took a forehand smash to get him out of trouble.
Hurkacz staved off three set points in the second set before going ahead with two more break points at 4-4, but Federer saved both with backhand winners and a backhand pass that clipped the baseline. Hurkacz dominated the tiebreak as he hit an accurate backhand which Federer had no chance to return.
In the third set, the ninth-seeded Federer broke the experienced opponent’s serve twice and led 5-2, but he kept saving break points. In the tiebreak, Federer saved the first two set points but it was Hurkacz who found a second serve to send Federer to the end.
If Federer had been confident about his chances entering the match, he made no such comment as he walked back to his seat, without shaking the hands of Hurkacz or any of the other players. His losing streak extended to four matches, and it came after a disappointing run at the French Open in which he was knocked out in the quarterfinals.
Follow WashingtonPost.com’s day-by-day coverage of Wimbledon at The Back Story blog. To sign up for The Back Story email newsletter, click here.