Andy Murray knocked out of Wimbledon in quarter-finals
The Scot lost 3-6 6-4 6-7 (4/7) 6-1 6-1 to American Sam Querrey on Centre Court.
Defending champion Andy Murray has lost 3-6 6-4 6-7 (4/7) 6-1 6-1 to American Sam Querrey in the Wimbledon quarter-finals.
The result might have been different had Murray capitalised on a lead in the second set but, although he won the third, the physical stress took its toll.
Murray must now hope Novak Djokovic does not win the title or he will lose his world number one ranking.
The Scot made a flying start, winning the opening three games and not facing a single break point as he took the first set 6-3.
Querrey, the 24th seed, was nervous, spraying errors as Murray won eight of the first nine points. He improved significantly thereafter and dominated his own service games but could not break Murray.
There were not many rallies and not too much for the crowd to get into as Murray probed away at the Querrey serve early in the second set.
In the seventh game he found some magic with a backhand pass threaded down the line to bring up three break points but Querrey saved them all.
A beautifully feathered lob helped him create a fourth chance and this time he took it, drawing the error as he forced the tall American to volley off his toes.
Querrey had not come close to breaking the Murray serve but, just when he looked in total control, he allowed his opponent back into the match.
A limp drop shot prompted Murray to hit his head and foot with his racket in frustration and Querrey seized his chance.
The 29-year-old's big forehand was coming into play as he started to push Murray around behind the baseline and then charge the net.
Murray had gone right off the boil, his first serve and forehand deserting him, and it was Querrey skipping back to his chair after a backhand winner gave him the set 6-4.
The crowd were stunned by the sudden turnaround but Murray ensured his malaise did not linger with an immediate break of the Querrey serve at the start of the third set.
He held on to his advantage comfortably until he came to try to serve out the set at 5-4.
Suddenly Murray slipped back into passive mode and Querrey, hitherto unknown as a man capable of hitting searing backhand winners, found another one at a crucial moment to break back.
Murray held comfortably to force a tie-break and reaped the rewards of getting one more ball back in play when Querrey dumped a simple smash into the net to trail 3-1.
Murray was cruising at 6-1 but Querrey saved three set points before the Scot took it on the fourth, winning the tie-break 7-4.
Any thoughts that Murray was on the home stretch were quickly dispelled when Querrey broke to love in the third game of the fourth set.
The Scot was clearly not at his best physically and seemed to be having particular trouble moving to his backhand side.
He barely even connected with a shot as Querrey secured the double break for 4-1, and moments later the set slipped away 6-1.
Murray was struggling with every part of his game and Querrey made it nine games in a row by opening up a 3-0 lead in the decider.
The Scot battled to get on the board and stop the rot but he was barely moving for Querrey's serves and, under no pressure, the American was racing towards the finish line.
Another break left Querrey serving for the biggest victory of his life and he clinched it with his 27th ace after two hours and 42 minutes.