No. 10 seed Marin Cilic also withdrew before his match.
No. 18 seed John Isner retired after two games of his match against Adrian Mannarino.
Radek Stepanek retired in the middle of his match against No. 24 seed Jerzy Janowicz.
Yaroslava Shvedova — who reached the fourth round last year before losing to Serena Williams in a tight three-setter — quit before she got on court against No. 8 seed Petra Kvitova.
Federer ran into unheralded Sergiy Stakhovsky, who served solidly and kept Federer at bay throughout the match. Stakhovsky won in four tense sets — 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5), 7-5, 7-6 (5).
Injuries did not appear to factor into Federer’s downfall, though Stakhovsky did slip and fall at one point late in the fourth set, needing a minute before getting back on his feet. Maybe it was the shoes’ fault.
Sharapova made it through her 6-3, 6-4 loss against Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal, but she was beset by problems on the slick courts, at one point heading into the locker room for treatment:
Sharapova slips yet again. Now lying on back while trainer checks her out
What was the cause for the rash of injuries? The finger-pointing has begun, with commentators and reports suggesting that the courts are too slick. Wimbledon got a new groundskeeper before this year. The players, too, were attributing their difficulties to the courts:
I’m not only one saying courts r dangerous. I asked Azarenka. She said they aren’t in good condition, wants someone to check them
Eddie Seaward was the head groundskeeper at Wimbledon for 22 years before retiring after last year.
So much for the possibility of a Serena-Sharapova final. The seas certainly have parted for Serena on the women’s side with the other two of the top three seeds bowing out.
This is also great news for men’s No. 2 seed Andy Murray. The talk before the tournament was the difficult draw in the lower half of the men’s draw. But with No. 5 seed Nadal also out in stunning fashion, the path is clear for Murray, who won in straight sets Wednesday. No. 15 Nicolas Almagro is the highest-seeded player besides Murray left in that half.
Stakhovsky was 0-20 against top-10 players before beating Federer, who saw his incredible streak of 36 straight Grand Slam quarterfinals reached come to an end. Is this the end of the line for the Federer era? Our guy thinks so:
Sergiy Stakhovsky knocks out Federer at Wimbledon. That’s it for the Roger era. Over. Done.