Wimbledon 2014: Feeble David Ferrer's unexpected fall is more than handy for Andy Murray

 

tennis correspondent

Twelve months after the men's draw opened up for Andy Murray en route to his historic Wimbledon triumph, the next highest-ranked player in the Scot's quarter of the draw was knocked out here.

David Ferrer was a potential quarter-final opponent for Murray, but the world No 7 was beaten 6-7, 6-0, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 by Andrey Kuznetsov, a 23-year-old Russian who is through to the third round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in his career.

Kuznetsov, the world No 118, won the junior title here five years ago, though this is the first time in his senior career he has won back-to-back matches on grass. After losing in the first round of qualifying at Halle and Eastbourne, Kuznetsov won his opening match here against Britain's Dan Evans. He now plays Argentina's Leonardo Mayer.

Ferrer was playing in his 47th consecutive Grand Slam tournament. The 32-year-old Spaniard had been attempting to reach the third round of a Slam event for the 19th time in a row but did not play a warm-up tournament in the build-up to Wimbledon because of illness. A quarter-finalist here for the last two years, Ferrer said he had fallen ill at the end of the French Open and had been unable to practise on grass until he arrived here.

The next highest-ranked player in Murray's quarter is now Grigor Dimitrov. The Queen's Club champion won in straight sets for the second round in a row, beating Australia's Luke Saville 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. The Bulgarian said afterwards he had felt "honoured" to play on Centre Court.

"It's every kid's dream," said the world No 13. "I was just really happy to get out there and play a match like that."

Dimitrov's next match promises to be one of the most entertaining of the third round. He faces unpredictable Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov, who beat Benjamin Becker 6-7, 7-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Murray or Roberto Bautista Agut will face a fourth-round meeting with either South Africa's Kevin Anderson or Italy's Fabio Fognini, whose third-round encounter will be a real contrast of styles. Anderson, who beat édouard Roger-Vasselin 7-6, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, has a big game and a huge serve, while Fognini, who beat Tim Puetz 2-6, 6-4, 7-6, 6-3, is flashy but unpredictable.

Novak Djokovic, the top seed, was pushed hard by veteran Czech Radek Stepanek but won 6-4, 6-3, 6-7, 7-6 after more than three-and-a-quarter hours.

Stepanek, who beat Murray at Queen's Club a fortnight ago, came from behind to win the tie-break in the third set and made the Serb fight all the way in the fourth.

Djokovic is on course for a quarter-final against Tomas Berdych, who won a potentially tricky second-round clash against Australia's Bernard Tomic 4-6, 7-6, 7-6, 6-1.

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