Wimbledon 2014: Andy Murray Wimbledon defence broken by Gregor Dimitrov who wins in straight sets

Defending champion simply could not get going against Grigor Dimitrov

Andy Murray's Wimbledon defence came to a miserable end in the quarter-finals at the hands of rising star Grigor Dimitrov.

After the high of last year, when he ended Fred Perry's 77-year reign as the last British man to win the singles title, this was a sad way for the third seed to bow out.

Murray never managed to find anything like his best form while Dimitrov played an inspired match to win 6-1 7-6 (7/4) 6-2 and reach his first grand slam semi-final.

How did Prince William react to the defeat?

The defeat ended Murray's 17-match winning streak at the All England Club and was his first slam loss to a player ranked outside the top 10 in four years.

Murray lost his first set of the tournament as Grigor Dimitrov stormed into an early lead in their Wimbledon quarter-final.

Video: Who will Dimitrov play in the semi final?

The defending champion simply could not get going against an opponent playing high-class tennis and the 6-1 scoreline made it the most one-sided set Murray has lost at the All England Club since his debut in 2005.

Murray had reached the last eight without dropping a set for the second straight year but his form had been even better than 12 months ago.

This was the match-up that created excitement when the draw was made - defending champion against tennis' pin-up boy.

Touted as Baby Federer and one half of the sport's glamour couple with Maria Sharapova, Dimitrov has been making headlines on the court over the past year.

Tough Australian coach Roger Rasheed has helped the 23-year-old develop the physical side of his game to go with his exceptional racquet skills.

He made a tentative start to his first Wimbledon quarter-final but Murray was unable to take advantage of a break point and he was made to pay for that in the fourth game.

 

Dimitrov played a terrific return game and broke the Murray serve when he forced the Scot to guide an attempted backhand pass wide.

The Scot was making more errors than he had in his previous four matches while Dimitrov was not missing a beat.

Three more break points arrived for the Bulgarian in the sixth game and he only needed one, Murray putting a forehand into the net.

That left Dimitrov serving for the set and, although Murray saved one set point, the Bulgarian put away a simple smash on the second.

Andy Murray pictured during his defeat to Gregor Dimitrov Andy Murray pictured during his defeat to Gregor Dimitrov  

This was not an unfamiliar position for Murray, who at the same stage last year trailed Fernando Verdasco by two sets before fighting back to win.

Nerves seemed to be coursing through the champion's body, and the crowd feared the worst when he served two awful double faults in the third game of the second set, but he did enough to come through it.

Perhaps the scoreline was not too surprising given their respective seasons - Dimitrov having won three titles, including his triumph at Queen's two weeks ago, while Murray has not made a final since having back surgery last September.

Dimitrov looked so much more confident and he broke for the first time in the set for 4-3.

Murray played his best point of the match to save the first break point but on the second he served a 93mph first serve and then erred with a horrible backhand slice.

Andy Murray pictured during his defeat to Gregor Dimitrov Andy Murray pictured during his defeat to Gregor Dimitrov  

He looked towards his support camp with arms held wide as if looking for answers, and he found them in the next game, with some help from his opponent.

Having been rock solid, Dimitrov's backhand let him down, allowing Murray to level straight away at 4-4.

Centre Court held its collective breath at 30-30 in the next game as the pair pulled each other all over the court in a 31-stroke rally.

Murray won it, and then served an ace to hold, but the pressure was relentless and he needed two big serves to save break points at 5-5.

A tie-break would settle it, and it was Dimitrov who made the first meaningful move with a backhand pass to lead 5-4.

A delightful drop volley gave the Bulgarian two set points, and he took the first for 7-4 as a desperate attempt at a pass from Murray found the net.

Murray had come back from two sets behind to win matches seven times before but against a player playing at Dimitrov's level it was a seriously tall order to do it again.

Gregor Dimitrov celebrates his win over Andy Murray Gregor Dimitrov celebrates his win over Andy Murray  

The 23-year-old's defence had been exceptional, more evidence of the improvements made under Rasheed, who Murray came close to hiring in 2011 before opting for Ivan Lendl.

Things went from bad to worse for Murray when, from 40-15, he lost four points in a row to drop serve at 3-2 behind, ending on a double fault.

He looked a beaten man, and another double fault gave Dimitrov a first match point after exactly two hours.

Murray saved that with one of his best forehands of the match but then netted a forehand to hand Dimitrov an unexpected but thoroughly deserved victory.

Murray sat disconsolately in his chair before trudging off alongside Dimitrov, pausing to bow to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in the Royal Box and wave to the crowd, who cheered their fallen hero.

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project