Andy Murray's defence of his Wimbledon crown has been brought to an emphatic end in the quarter finals following a straight sets defeat to Grigor Dimitrov.
After easing his way through the earlier rounds without dropping a single set the third seed was unable to live with his 23-year-old opponent's dominant serve as he succumbed to a 6-1 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 defeat on Centre Court.
Murray had been on course to win his 18<sup>th consecutive match but that streak, along with his hopes of becoming the first Brit to defend the Wimbledon crown since 1936, were ended by an inspired Dimitrov.
After dropping the first game Murray held serve to immediately level before 11th seed Dimitrov surged into a commanding lead. A powerful backhand forced the Briton onto the back foot where he could only net his return. A vicious wide shot then had Murray scrambling at break point before the Bulgarian took a 3-1 lead.
Pinning Murray to the baseline, Dimitrov continued his opening set assault as he took three break points before condemning the Scot to his first dropped set of the tournament inside 24 minutes in front of a shocked crowd at SW19.
Murray showed signs of resurgence in the second but Dimitrov's peerless service games ensured he maintained a pace with the British no.1, racing through his second without dropping a point to level at 2-2.
With 18 unforced errors to his name already, Murray drove another forehand wide for break point before Dimitrov took the advantage with a powerful first serve. An unrelenting Murray however immediately broke his opponent in the next game and for the first time in the contest, sparking a roar and a few fist pumps from the resurging Scot.
A 31 shot rally ensued, resulting in Dimitrov finding the net before Murray found an ace to edge in front once again. An inevitable tie break saw another early set of exchanges before a ripping backhand gave the challenger an advantage before Murray poorly netted a return to fall two sets behind.
At the same stage of Wimbledon this time last year Murray needed to fall two sets behind before summoning a comeback to topple Fernando Verdasco. It wasn't to be the case this year, however.
Dimitrov's service game remained as emphatic as it had been at the start of the contest as he sealed another break point to take a 5-2 advantage. An error-strewn final set came to an end as Murray netted on the second serve, denying him what would have been his sixth consecutive semi-final in the captial.