LONDON -- For a day, they were the pair who ran Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova out of town.
And then, suddenly, he was plain ol’ 116th-ranked Sergiy Stakhovsky again and she was 131st-ranked Michelle Larcher de Brito.
Less than 48 hours after affixing their stamp on one of the most stunning days ever at Wimbledon, Stakhovsky was sent out to Court 3 for a third-round match against Jurgen Melzer and Larcher de Brito went to court 17 to play Karin Knapp.
Stakhovsky, the man from Ukraine who served and volleyed like John McEnroe in dispatching Federer, opened his encore with a pair of double faults in his first service game -- a sign of worse things to come en route to a 6-2, 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 loss to 37th-ranked Melzer.
De Brito, the woman from Portugal who yelled every bit as loud as Sharapova and matched her groundstroke for groundstroke, went down meekly, 7-5, 6-2 to 104th-ranked Karin Knapp on Friday.
As the results showed, it’s not so easy playing the match after "The Match."
"I think I was coming in quite slow, because of the emotions coming off the match with Roger," Stakhovsky said. "You expect yourself to play a little different, maybe."
He’s certainly not alone.
Last year, it was Lukas Rosol who stunned the tennis world, coming in with his No. 100 ranking in and knocking Rafael Nadal out of the second round in five sets. Two days later, Rosol lost to Philipp Kohlschreiber, and this year, he returned and lost in the first round.
Meanwhile, the man who sent Nadal packing this year -- Steve Darcis -- heck, he didn’t even play his next match, sidelined by a shoulder injury he said he made worse when he barrel-rolled into a shot against Nadal in the first set.
Maybe Darcis, ranked 135th, had it right. Hard to top moments like he had.
"At one stage, I had to turn my phone off," Larcher de Brito said. "I had almost an hour and a half of press after the match. I practiced and tried to take it easy the next day. But I guess I didn’t realize how big the win was."
Another enduring a similar fate Friday was Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard, the reigning junior champion who, two days earlier, had a match on an outside court moved to Centre Court, then went out and dispatched 12th-seeded and former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic in straight sets. Two days later, on Court 18 in front of about 14,000 fewer spectators, Bouchard went down 7-5, 6-2 to 19th-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro.
"I think that was in the back of my mind, yeah," Bouchard said. "It’s a totally different situation. Not on Centre Court, not against a big, big player. But I knew that ahead of time. I tried to prepare like it was just another match, which it was. But, yeah, I just think I didn’t play as well as I know I can."
Larcher de Brito felt the same way.
After battling back from down a break to 5-5 in the first set, she was ahead 30-0 but let her service game slip. Knapp served out the set, broke to open the second, then the rain set in. A few hours later, with the sound of Friday night jazz spilling over from the Wimbledon mezzanine, Knapp had no trouble putting away the match.
Over on Court 3, Stakhovsky lunged awkwardly for a volley in the first set and, moments later, was calling for the trainer to tape his right ankle. He insisted that had little to do with his loss.
More, he said, it was the lack of mental composure -- a result of the hectic 24 hours after the Federer win, during which he took every phone call, granted every interview, signed every autograph.
"I was not ready for such a turnover," Stakhovsky said.