Evgeny Donskoy of Russia saved three match points in the second set before knocking out Australian Open champion Roger Federer of Switzerland 3-6 7-6(7) 7-6(5) in the second round of the Dubai International on Wednesday.
Federer, playing his first tournament since winning his 18th grand slam title at the Australian Open in January, raced into a 5-1 lead in the opening set after twice breaking the world number 116’s serve. Donskoy responded with a break of serve himself, but Federer was able to serve out in his next game to take the set 6-3 in just 24 minutes.
After play was briefly halted in the eighth game of the second set because of a partial floodlight failure, the set went to a tiebreak after neither player dropped their serve. Federer served for the match at 6-4, but save both match points, and after saving one more, the Russian took the tiebreak 9-7 to level the match.
In the final set, Federer seemed to have regained control when he broke to lead 4-2, but Donskoy broke back when Federer served for the match at 5-3.
The players held serve to go into a tiebreak and again, it looked as though Federer was set to win when he led 5-1. Remarkably, Donskoy won the next six points to take the match for the biggest win of his career after just over two hours of play.