Andy Murray was blown away by big-serving American John Isner in four sets as his Wimbledon campaign ended in a blur of aces.
wo-time champion Murray failed to reach the third round for the first time as 6ft 10in missile launcher Isner secured a first career victory over him at the ninth attempt.
Murray threatened another of his epic, late-night comebacks from two sets down when he won a third-set tie-break.
But this time he was unable dip into that seemingly endless well of reserves as Isner clung on for a 6-4 7-6 (4) 6-7 (3) 6-4 victory.
Isner, at 37 two years older than his opponent, crashed down 36 aces among 60 unreturned serves to leave Murray in a daze.
In fact the Scot managed to win only 15 points against the relentless Isner first serve.
But there was so much more to the 20th seed’s victory, with a host of neat drop shots and deft touches at the net leaving Centre Court stunned.
Murray’s serve needed to be firing as well, but too often in the early stages he gave Isner a look at his second attempt, and it was a searing return which was too hot for the home favourite as he was broken in the third game.
It was only the second time Isner had broken the Murray serve in 25 sets of tennis over the last 12 years.
The second set whizzed by with neither player laying a glove on the other, but Isner drew first blood in the tie-break and when Murray got a solitary chance to retrieve the damage he dumped a simple pass into the net.
On set point Murray actually did well to get a racket on the 136mph rocket, but the return floated wide and Isner had a 2-0 lead.
In the inevitable third-set tie-break errors from Isner crept in for the first time, a long forehand and a volley into the net giving Murray the initiative and the fired-up former champion jumped wildly in delight as he halved the deficit.
However, he was crestfallen soon after when another simple backhand pass crashed into the tape to hand Isner break point, which he took with a return that Murray could only net.
With Isner leading 4-2 and the light fading the roof was closed. Ten minutes later so was the latest chapter in Murray’s Wimbledon odyssey.