Andy Murray's reign as Wimbledon champion is over after he was thrashed in three sets by Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov in their quarter-final encounter.
A grisly 37 unforced errors from the Scot saw him slump to a 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 defeat on Centre Court that took just two hours. The defeat to the 23-year-old Dimitrov, ranked 11 in the world, brought to an end Murray's 17-match winning streak at the All England Club that stretched back to the London Olympics in August 2012. It is also the first time since 2008 that the Wimbledon men's singles semi-final will not feature Murray.
In front of Prince William and his wife, the 27-year-old Murray had no answer to the unerring accuracy of his opponent's booming serve, though he didn't help himself with a string of uncharacteristic errors.
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Asked if the occasion had got to him, Murray retorted: "I handled the pressure fine. I started the tournament well. I was playing good tennis. Today was a bad day, from my side. I made many mistakes, unforced errors, and then started going for too much and taking chances that weren't really there.
"I think I hit maybe one backhand winner the entire match, which isn't normally what I do, especially on this surface, so it was a tough day all around."
The result means Dimitrov advances to his first Grand Slam semi-final, and a clash with No 1 seed Novak Djokovic, who clawed back a two sets to one deficit to see off the challenge of Croatia's Marin Cilic.
Though he was the underdog going into Wednesday's quarter-final, the Bulgarian revealed he felt the force was with him from the first game while he sensed Murray was there for the taking.
"I think it's just a feeling," said Dimitrov. "I've practised quite a few times with him. I know how he's striking the ball when he's at his best. I know how he's playing when he's not at his best…today was one of those days when I was pretty steady for the whole match and came out the winner."
The other semi-final on Friday will pair seven-time champion Roger Federer against either eighth seed Milos Raonic or Australian teenage wildcard Nick Kyrgios, slayer of Rafa Nadal on Tuesday.
It will be Federer's 35th Grand Slam semi-final and is a timely reminder to those people who said last year that the 32-year-old was past his best following his shock exit from Wimbledon in the second round. "Last year was a major disappointment because Wimbledon is one of my major goals of the season," admitted the Swiss star. "It was rough and went back to practise and I'm happy to be back in the semis."
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