Roger Federer suffered a shock 3-6, 7-6(7), 7-6(5) loss to world number 116 Evgeny Donskoy of Russia in the Dubai Open second round.
Roger Federer squandered three match points in a shock 3-6, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (5) second round loss to Russian qualifier and world number 116 Evgeny Donskoy at the Dubai Tennis Championships on Wednesday.
Federer, who has just won his 18th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, failed to take advantage of three match points in the second set tiebreaker, losing two of the three opportunities on unforced errors.
“I surprised everyone I think today,” Donskoy said. “Whoever win against Roger surprises himself, I think.”
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Adding to the challenge for the Russian was playing against Federer for the first time.
“It was really tough in the beginning, because it was too much pressure,” Donskoy said. “Because it’s Roger, and I never even practice with him.”
Federer netted a forehand on Donskoy’s one set point in the second set tiebreaker to extend the match to a third set.
Donskoy’s dream of a quarterfinal berth seemed over when he forfeited his serve in the sixth game of the third set. But Federer wasn’t able to close out the match when serving for it at 5-3 in the third, and then watched the Russian work his way to victory.
Federer led 5-1 in the third set tiebreaker, but Donskoy refused to fold.
“I had my chances,” Federer said. “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, who skipped last year’s tournament because of arthroscopic knee surgery, was in the hunt for an eighth Dubai title.
The initial excitement in the match occurred with Federer leading 6-3, 3-4 – when one set of the court floodlights went dark. Fans in the crowd turned on their cellphone flashlights and start waving them in the air as if they were at a rock concert.
Both players then agreed to play on despite the problem and by two games later full lighting was restored.
“I felt, if he wants to keep playing, I’m happy to keep playing,” Federer said. “I didn’t want to wait. It wasn’t just, like, dark. It was just darker.”
Donskoy will play seventh-seeded Lucas Pouille in the quarterfinals. Pouille defeated qualifier Marius Copil 6-1, 6-4.
“It’s tough to judge this one, because I could have won in two and I’d be already almost hitting the pillow now thinking about Pouille,” Federer said. “But now here I’m explaining what didn’t go well.”