Wimbledon 2018: Roger Federer wastes match point, exits in quarterfinals
The defending champion was in stunning form and had not dropped a set coming into the match and on course to win his ninth Wimbledon title. But his hopes were dashed by a towering South African with an epic win over Roger Federer in five sets.
No one saw that coming until the South African Kevin Anderson fought back from two sets and a match-point down in the third to win an absolute thriller to take the fifth set 13-11.
Federer was surrounded by a foreign atmosphere as he played out of his favourite centre court since a 2015 quarterfinal victory over Gilles Simon.
There was no sort of evidence that the match would end with sudden death as Roger Federer stormed through the opening set while breaking Anderson's serve twice in the process, which took the Swiss maestro just 26 minutes.
In the second set, Anderson slowly grew into the game as he found his tempo and made the rallies last longer eventually made Federer error-prone and broke him and gone up 3-0. But that didn't last long when Federer made things even and took the second set to a tie-breaker and went on to win it by 7-5.
Anderson took positives from the second set and started hitting more winners off groundstrokes and his rocket serve made his service games hard to break for Roger Federer, slowly unforced errors started to creep into his game.
But Federer has won more points and had four break point opportunities, the fourth one was a match point, Anderson's serve got him out of trouble and a couple of backhand errors from Federer let him down and Anderson converted the breakpoint opportunity and took the third-set 7-5.
Anderson grew confident with his service games were hard to break for Federer, Anderson won 79% of his service points and played aggressive tennis when it mattered most, and he earned a breakpoint in the process and consolidated his service games.
Federer only lost once at Wimbledon after leading 2-0, and that loss came against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 2011 and only twice in his entire career the other one in U.S. Open semi-final, also in 2011.
This must take a mammoth and incredible effort to beat the defending champion on his best surface, even if statistics are on Federer's side and the match lived up to its dream with neither of them giving easy points on their service, which took the match to an extra mile until 11-11 and Anderson earned the only break point of the set and served up to take the fifth set 13-11.
“I just kept on telling myself I have to keep believing and I kept saying that today was going to be my day because you really need that mindset taking the court against somebody like Roger,’’ said Anderson.
"He played the match of his life," - Former Wimbledon champion Boris Becker.
"It's disappointing losing the next two sets after winning the first two and having match points, I've been there before. I know what kind of energy I need to bring to the fifth. I was able to bring that. I didn't feel mental fatigue. Now I feel horribly fatigued and just awful. It's just terrible. But that's how it goes. Credit to him." - Roger Federer
(12) Novak Djokovic (Srb) bt (24) Kei Nishikori (Jpn) 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2;
(8) Kevin Anderson (RSA) bt (1) Roger Federer (Sui) 206, 6-7 (7), 7-5, 6-4, 13-11.
(9) John Isner (USA) bt (13) Milos Raonic (CAN) 6-7(7), 7(9)-6, 6-4, 6-3
(2) Rafael Nadal (ESP) bt (5) Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) 7-5, 6-7(9), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4