LONDON, July 12 ― Roger Federer's hopes of a ninth Wimbledon title bit the dust as South African Kevin Anderson recovered from two sets down to win a quarter-final cliffhanger 2-6 6-7 (5) 7-5 6-4 13-11 on a tension-filled Court One yesterday.
Or was it the court?
Eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer says he "did not see defeat coming" before a shock quarter-final exit against Kevin Anderson.
Anderson was sticking to his guns, though, and after saving match point the eighth seed secured another break of the Federer serve and snatched a set back. Even when he managed to do that in the second game of the second set, Federer recovered to break back and take it to a tiebreak, which the No. 1 seed won.
And he didn't stop there.
Anderson becomes the first South African since Kevin Curran in 1983 to reach the Wimbledon semifinals.
And, despite his two-set advantage, the 20-times grand slam victor never looked entirely comfortable, despite having never previously lost a set to Anderson in four other meetings. It's just the third time he's lost a major match after being up two sets to none.More news: Trump Says Baby Blimp Makes Him Feel ‘Unwelcome’ in London
"Down 2-0 I tried my best to keep fighting and was able to scrape through and by the end I thought I did a great job".
After two years of physical and mental struggles, Djokovic appears fit and confident and ready to try to add to his tally of 12 grand slam titles. Anderson then saved three break points, hitting an ace to force a fourth set.
Djokovic looked in control in the first set.
"I don't think it really mattered, to be honest", he said. You feel like it's getting closer with [Angelique] Kerber and players like that but you just feel Serena wants to define history.
"Anything could have happened, so this is a big achievement for me to get to the semi-finals at Wimbledon". "I don't know how long it's going to take me [to get over it]" he said. With Federer serving for the match at 5-3, 40-15, he hit a wide serve that Djokovic slapped back recklessly, nearly carelessly, for a victor.
However, the 31-year-old Serbian raced through the third and fourth sets to advance in two hours and 34 minutes.
Federer and Nadal are favourites to meet in Sunday's final - 10 years after their epic 2008 showdown - but Wilander believes Del Potro could throw a spanner in the works.More news: Cuomo signs executive order to protect women's reproductive rights
Earlier in the day, Novak Djokovic ended his near two-year absence from grand slam semi-finals by booking a place in the last four at Wimbledon.
Yet Anderson, the eighth seed, was meant to pose a far greater threat to Federer than his previous four opponents, and so it proved.
Three-time champion Djokovic will open the Centre Court programme against Kei Nishikori followed by two-time victor and world number one Rafael Nadal facing Juan Martin del Potro. It is the first time since 2015 that the eight-time champion will play away from Centre Court.
The Spaniard came through a mammoth encounter with Juan Martin del Potro yesterday, making the final four for the first time in five years after a five-set clash which spanned almost five hours.
"I had my chances", Federer said, "so it's disappointing".
"It's always like a big war for me", said Nishikori on facing Djokovic. "But I feel like my commitment to the kind of tennis I wanted to play throughout the match, it got definitely better as the match progressed", Anderson said at his post-match press conference.More news: Man dies as listeria outbreak recalls frozen food