Photo: Paul ZimmerRoger Federer (SUI)
In an astonishing day at the All England Lawn Tennis Club the bottom halves of both the men's and women's singles draws were left decimated as seven former world No. 1s were put to the sword.
Perhaps the most surprising loss of all came late in the day on Centre Court as world No. 116 Sergiy Stakhovsky produced the performance of his life to bring an end to Roger Federer's title defence with a 67(5) 76(5) 75 76(5) triumph.
The Swiss, who had reached the quarterfinals or better at each of the last 36 majors, suffered his earliest Grand Slam exit for over 10 years but he tried to remain upbeat despite the loss.
“What do you do after something like this?" said Federer." Do you do the 24‑hour rule? You don't panic at this point, that's clear. Just go back to work and come back stronger really. Somewhat simple. Hard to do sometimes.
“But usually I do turnarounds pretty good. I'm looking forward to what's to come, you know. I hope I can play a good summer, a good end to the season. This is clearly not what I was hoping for here today at this tournament. Unfortunately it does happen. Looking forward to next year, that I can do better.”
Federer's shock departure would normally be the story of the day but this was no ordinary Wednesday at Wimbledon.
Maria Sharapova was felled by Portugal's Michelle Larcher de Brito 63 64, Victoria Azarenka was forced to withdraw after not recovering from the right knee injury sustained in a fall on Monday.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, seeded No. 5 and scheduled to face Britain's Andy Murray in the quarterfinals, retired with a left knee injury when he was two-sets-to-one down against Ernests Gulbis.
Marin Cilic, John Isner, Radek Stepanek, Yaroslava Shvedova and Steve Darcis were all also forced out due to injury to leave certain sections of both draws wide open.
And as well as injuries there were unlikely wins for Dustin Brown, ranked No. 189, over former Wimbledon champion and world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt, and last year's girl's champion Eugenie Bouchard overcame Ana Ivanovic in straight sets.
On the men's side the only big name to remain unscathed was world No. 2 Murray, who cruised by Yen-Hsun Lu. The Brit's path to the final has got considerably easier on paper with the next highest seed in his half being No. 15 Nicolas Almagro - a clay court specialist.
For the women, 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova's route to the last two looks remarkably less troublesome than it had two days ago.
But this year's grass court major has shown that the gap between the top 10 and the chasing pack is very small indeed.
The International Tennis Federation provides men's information to the media at Grand Slam events. For a full list of this year's notes click here.