World number one, Andy Murray’s Wimbledon title defence evaporated on Centre Court in a painful five-set demise to Sam Querrey on Wednesday as the hip injury that has dogged him throughout the tournament finally got the better of him.
His hopes of becoming the first Briton to retain a grand slam title since Fred Perry in 1936 were shredded as he hobbled helplessly to a 3-6 6-4 6-7(4) 6-1 6-1 quarter-final defeat.
The encounter ended in almost brutal fashion, as Murray struggled to move freely around the court in the final two sets and the big-serving Querrey ruthlessly put him to the sword, wrapping up victory with his 27th booming ace.
Despite the best efforts of the Centre Court crowd to cajole a miracle recovery from the limping Briton, Murray’s troublesome hip proved beyond help and he was swiftly dispatched, with the final two sets taking just under 47 minutes.
Querrey can now lay claim to the title of Wimbledon’s chief giant-killer, after slaying then champion Novak Djokovic last year. He becomes the first American man to reach a grand slam semi-final since Andy Roddick at Wimbledon in 2009.
“I’m still in shock myself,” he said after setting up a semi-final encounter with Marin Cilic.
“I didn’t start my best but kept with it and kept swinging and I hit my groove in the fourth and fifth sets.
“It feels great and it’s a dream come true … to get to a semi-final and have it happen at Wimbledon makes it a bit more special.”
In another quarter final match of the day, Croatian Marin Cilic ended Gilles Mueller’s unlikely Wimbledon run, beating him in five sets.
Cilic, who triumphed 3-6 7-6(6) 7-5 5-7 6-1 will now face Sam Querrey in the semi-finals after the American upset home favourite Andy Murray.
The 34-year-old Mueller was an unexpected presence in the last eight after he pulled off a surprise, five-set win over Rafa Nadal in the fourth round.
Mueller took that form into the contest with Cilic but when his run of 31 service games without a break ended in the third set, the tide turned towards the Croat, who produced some magnificent return play in the final set