LONDON: Three-time major winner Stan Wawrinka was knocked out of Wimbledon on Wednesday, falling in five sets to 6ft 11in (2.1 metres) Reilly Opelka.
Two-time quarterfinalist Wawrinka, 34, was beaten 7-5, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 8-6 by his American opponent, the tallest man in the sport and 13 years his junior.
Opelka fired 23 aces and 59 winners and goes on to face either 2016 runner-up Milos Raonic of Canada or Robin Haase of the Netherlands.
Opelka will be appearing in the third round at a Slam for the first time having never won a grass court match in his career prior to coming to Wimbledon.
Wawrinka won warm applause for giving a line judge a warm embrace after accidentally colliding with her as he sprinted to hit a backhand.
“I was a bit too far to return a serve. I think I went against her, so I was sure she had some pain and was not happy, so I gave her a little hug,” said the genial Swiss.
Also feeling the pain was Russia’s Margarita Gasparyan who was forced to retire when just two points from victory against Ukraine eighth seed Elina Svitolina.
World number 62 Gasparyan was 7-5, 5-4 ahead when she collapsed to the ground on Court Three, suffering with cramping.
Although she bravely tried to continue, the Russian, who has undergone three knee surgeries in her career, was forced to quit.
‘Unfortunate for her’
“I was a little bit shocked, it’s never nice to get this when someone is injured like that,” said Svitolina who goes on to face Greece’s Maria Sakkari for a place in the last 16.
“It’s really unfortunate for her.”
Czech third seed Karolina Pliskova reached the last 32 with a 6-0, 6-4 win over Puerto Rico’s Olympic champion Monica Puig.
Pliskova, one of four players who could end Wimbledon as world number one, will face Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan for a spot in the fourth round.
In a match which opened proceedings on Centre Court, 52nd-ranked Puig was clearly over-awed, winning just nine points in a 20-minute first set.
Former world number one and double Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka swept past Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic 6-2, 6-0.
Azarenka, now at 40 in the world, was a semifinalist at the All England Club in 2011 and 2012.
Next up is a last-32 clash with either fellow ex-world number one Simona Halep or Mihaela Buzarnescu.
It’s the first time that 2018 French Open champion Halep has ever met a fellow Romanian at a Slam. — AFP
Men (second round)
David Goffin (BEL x21) bt Jeremy Chardy (FRA) 6-2, 6-4, 6-3
Reilly Opelka (USA) bt Stan Wawrinka (SUI x22) 7-5, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 8-6
Benoit Paire (FRA x28) bt Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 – retired
Jirí Vesely (CZE) bt Pablo Cuevas (URU) 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 6-4
Women (second round)
Elina Svitolina (UKR x8) bt Margarita Gasparyan (RUS) 5-7, 6-5 – retired
Maria Sakkari (GRE x31) bt Marie Bouzkova (CZE) 6-4, 6-1
Karolina Muchova (CZE) bt Madison Brengle (USA) 6-3, 6-4
Anett Kontaveit (EST x20) bt Heather Watson (GBR) 7-5, 6-1
Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE x28) bt Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 7-6 (7/3), 6-3
Karolina Pliskova (CZE x3) bt Monica Puig (PUR) 6-0, 6-4
Victoria Azarenka (BLR) bt Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) 6-2, 6-0