World shocked by Federer's loss to Anderson

Lynette Rowe
July 12, 2018

What looked at first like another straightforward, straight-set victory over Kevin Anderson, the big-hitting South African veteran, eventually morphed into a five-set Wimbledon upset for the ages.

Federer had won his last seven five-set matches.

Anderson became the first South African to reach the semi-finals at Wimbledon in 35 years, following in the footsteps of Kevin Curren back in 1983.

And then, slowly, over the next two-plus hours, all the way until the fifth set reached its 24th game, as the temperature dropped and the spectators' cries of "Let's go, Roger!" echoed through the shadows, everything came apart for the eight-time champion.

The victor of this one will face either John Isner or Milos Raonic in the semifinals on Friday.

Rafael Nadal, the reigning champion, was forced out of the 2014 U.S. Open with an injury, clearing Federer's side of the draw for what appeared to be a cakewalk to an inevitable final against Novak Djokovic.

Anderson v Isner will be played at Centre Court, of course, a spot Federer knows well. "That's the worst feeling you can have as a tennis player".

Federer, meanwhile, had his serve broken four times - the first four times his serve was broken during this Wimbledon run.

"I think I was sort of on the border of actually going on to Australia (in 2017)".

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Speaking to the BBC immediately after the match, Anderson said: "I'm not sure what to say right now".

Federer's first double fault of the match was perhaps the most costly error either player made.

The three-time champion spoke to Serbian media after his straight sets victory over Khachanov and revealed he has put in a request to play on Centre Court, having played there only once in this year's tournament.

"It's just not one of my best days", he said.

That took great self-belief, he added, knowing that he had never taken a set off 20-time major victor Federer in four previous meetings. Del Potro had opportunities in both to break Nadal's serve, and both went on for over nine minutes, but Nadal persevered to stave Martin del Potro off from tying the set.

When asked if he thought he was flying under the radar at this tournament, Djokovic said, "I'm really not thinking about being an underdog or being a favorite". 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.

"I don't think it would have changed if I played there previous year".

It will be the 31-year-old Serb's first semi-final at a Slam since the 2016 French Open when he completed the career Grand Slam. I feel like I'm getting better and better with every match.

Now 33, Isner had never gone beyond the last eight of a Grand Slam, but fought back from a set down to beat Raonic 6-7 7-6 6-4 6-3 and take his place in the last four with the chance of a first major final. "I hope I can get a chance to fight for a trophy". That's my problem really, the 36-year-old said.

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