It was a tough loss, but I have to move on: Federer

Tennis - Dubai Open - Men's Singles - Roger Federer of Switzerland v Evgeny Donskoy of Russia - Dubai, UAE - 01/03/2017 - Roger Federer leaves. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

It felt like someone had just died if you saw the look on Roger Federer’s face after the Swiss maestro’s inexplicable defeat against a little-known Russian who had never beaten a top 10 player in the past.

Federer had three match points and yet lost to Evgeny Donskoy.

Federer was serving on 5-1 in the third set tie-break and yet lost the next six points.

The Russian threw the racquet in the air after Federer’s 31st unforced error of the night gave him the greatest win of his life.

No wonder the 18-time Grand Slam winner looked shattered at the post-match press conference.

“Look, it could be anything right now. It’s tough to judge this one, you know, because I could have won in two sets and I’d be already almost hitting the pillow now thinking about (Lucas) Pouille. But now here I’m explaining what didn’t go well,” Federer said.

“Clearly I can become quite negative about it, but I won’t. It was a tough loss today. Donskoy did well. I just have to move on from here. Clearly I would have liked to do much better here this week.”

The match against Donskoy in the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships was only his second game of tennis since that stunning win over his great rival Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final.

The seven-time Dubai champion admitted that the one month gap probably played a part in his struggle to find his best form here.

Federer said he is no stranger to such defeats in a sport where margins can be small.