LONDON — Andy Murray’s reign as Wimbledon champion ended Wednesday with a straight-set loss in the quarterfinals to Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov, who is making his breakthrough after years of being touted as the game’s next top player.
Two other former champions, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, came from behind to win in four sets and move into the semifinals once again at the All England Club.
In women’s play, French Open runner-up Simona Halep and Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard advanced to the semifinals in straight sets.
Dimitrov completely outplayed Murray on Centre Court, winning 6-1, 7-6 (4), 6-2 to reach the semifinals of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time.
The 11th-seeded Dimitrov broke Murray five times — including in the final game — to become the first Bulgarian man to advance to the final four of a major. It was his first victory over a top 10 player at a Grand Slam.
“He was the better player start to finish,” Murray said.
Murray last year became the first British man to win Wimbledon in 77 years. He came into the quarterfinals riding a 17-match winning streak at the All England Club, had not dropped a set this tournament and was bidding to become the first British player to retain the title since 1936.
“To win any tournament back-to-back, let alone back-to-back on a surface like this which sometimes rests on a few points in a set, it’s not always going to go your way,” Murray said.
With Prince William and his wife Kate watching from the Royal Box, Dimitrov lived up to his promise on the biggest stage in the game.
Dimitrov’s win marked a huge step forward for a player nicknamed “Baby Fed” because of a style of play — especially the one-handed backhand — resembling that of Federer. The 23-year-old Dimitrov is also well-known for being the boyfriend of Maria Sharapova.
“Today was a bad day,” Murray said. “I made many mistakes. I think I had one backhand winner the entire match which isn’t normally what I do, especially on this surface.”
Dimitrov will next face top-seeded Djokovic, who came from two-sets-to-one down to beat 26th-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia 6-1, 3-6, 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-2 and reach the Wimbledon semifinals for the fifth consecutive year.
Federer, chasing a record eighth Wimbledon title, advanced to his 35th Grand Slam semifinal with a 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4 win over fellow Swiss player and Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka.