Stan Wawrinka has become the latest star to suffer a shock exit from Queen’s Club as the French Open champion was beaten 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (13-11) by South Africa’s Kevin Anderson.
Just 24 hours after Rafael Nadal’s first round defeat against unheralded Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov, it was Wawrinka’s turn to succumb to an unexpected loss at the Wimbledon warm-up event in west London.
The Swiss second seed had swept through his first round clash against Australian Nick Kyrgios in just 49 minutes as he looked to follow his memorable final triumph over Novak Djokovic in Paris with his first ever grass-court title.
But, in the second round on Wednesday, Wawrinka couldn’t find a way to subdue the big-serving Anderson, who fired down 22 aces en route to his first win over a top five ranked opponent this year.
Wawrinka had been hoping to extend his winning run to nine matches, but the towering Anderson, who defeated Australian veteran Lleyton Hewitt in the first round, had won their last three meetings, all in 2014, and he proved a thorn in the 30-year-old’s side again.
A hard-fought first set looked to have swung Wawrinka’s way when he secured two set points at 6-5, only for the Swiss to let Anderson off the hook as the 29-year-old raced through the subsequent tie-break.
The superstitious Wawrinka was still wearing his ‘lucky’ pair of garish red, white and grey checked shorts that caused a stir during his triumphant run in Paris, but his fortune took a turn for the worse in the second set.
In a dramatic second set tie-break, Wawrinka saved five match points and Anderson rescued two set points before the South African finally sealed his win.
In the quarter-final, Anderson will play either world No.79 Dolgopolov or Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
Earlier, French seventh seed Gilles Simon ended Thanasi Kokkinakis’s emotional Queen’s Club debut with a 6-4 6-2 second round victory over the Australian teenager.
Next up for world No.13 Simon in the quarter-finals will be the winner of Wednesday’s meeting between Canadian third seed Milos Raonic and France’s Richard Gasquet.