London: Three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka was knocked out of Wimbledon on Wednesday, falling in five sets to 6'11'' Reilly Opelka.
Two-time quarter-finalist 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 she was 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 from cramping. Although she bravely tried to continue, the Russian, who has undergone three knee surgeries in her career, was forced to quit.
"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.
Updated Date: Jul 04, 2019 00:00:28 IST