Roger Federer has ended Marcus Willis’s fairytale Wimbledon run in tennis’s real-life David versus Goliath battle.
The mighty Federer, seven-times champion and 10-times finalist, denied the sentimental favourite and world No.772 in straight sets to join defending champion Novak Djokovic in the third round.
Willis, who captured the hearts of Britain with his charge from pre-qualifying to the second round, at least made Federer sweat in the Swiss master’s 6-0 6-3 6-4 win.
The lowest-ranked qualifier to win a grand slam match in 28 years settled after a nervy first-set bagel to finally clinch his first game after exactly half an hour.
The crowd’s deafening applause after the breakthrough almost raised the closed roof on centre court.
With his unorthodox style of dunks and slices off both wings, Willis even conjured a break point for an improbably 4-2 lead in the third set before Federer’s class prevailed.
The 17-time major champion reeled off four straight games to secure the match in one hour and 25 minutes.
Willis, who took his season earnings from less than £300 to more than £50,000 for his seven wins over the past fortnight, will return to coaching and league tennis in Coventry on Thursday night.
“I can hold my head high. I’ve had a fantastic few weeks,” the 25-year-old said after revelling in the unforgettable experience.
“If I’m playing well and competing with Roger Federer for a couple of sets, I’m doing the right thing.”
While Willis’s captivating run is over, Federer remains on track for a record eighth crown after advancing to the last 32 for a 14th time.
Djokovic earlier eased past Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-5) for his 30th consecutive win at the slams.
Mannarino, ranked 55th, put up spirited resistance in the third set to force a tiebreak before succumbing to the top-seeded holder of all four majors.
In other results on an another rain-interrupted day, eighth seed Dominic Thiem beat Florian Mayer 7-5 6-4 6-4 and 10th seed Tomas Berdych completed a 7-6 (7-5) 5-7 6-1 7-6 (7-2) win Ivan Dodig.
Australia’s 19th seed Bernard Tomic also won, taking out Fernando Verdasco 4-6 6-3 6-3 3-6 6-4 in a first-round match.