Dubai: Federer out, Murray saves seven match points to win

2017-03-03 07:05

Swiss star fails to bury chances en route to quick Dubai departure

Dubai: Federer out, Murray saves seven match points to win

Roger Federer of Switzerland looks dejected during his second round match against Evgeny Donskoy of Russia on day four of the ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on March 1, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Sluggish Roger Federer blamed a "crazy" failure to bury three match points as the main reason for his stunning three-set loss to Russian qualifier Evgeny Donskoy in Dubai on Wednesday.

Former world No 1 Federer, 35, who lifted his 18th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January, had match points in the second-set tiebreak and also led 5-1 in the third-set breaker.

But world-ranked No 116 Donskoy battled back to stun the third seed and set up a quarterfinal clash against Lucas Pouille of France with a thrilling 3-6, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (5) victory.

"I surprised everyone today. I think whoever wins against Roger surprises himself," said Donskoy, 26.

"I can say it's a dream come true, because you always want to win, even if it's Roger."

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."

It was just the third time since 2007 that Federer lost to a qualifier.

"I just never really got going tonight and sort of felt tired and heavy. But look, those matches happen frequently, where you just got to somehow find a way to come through," said the Swiss legend, who was chasing a record eighth title at the Dubai Championships.

"I was convinced that if I came through I was going to feel better tomorrow. I came (to Dubai) early. I was perfectly prepared, it's just a tough loss. So many chances. It was crazy."

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