Roger Federer’s quest for a ninth Wimbledon title came to an end Wednesday at the hands of South Africa’s Kevin Anderson, who rallied from two sets down to defeat Federer in the quarterfinals 2-6, 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-4, 13-11.
Federer, the No. 1 seed, had match point up 5-4 in the third set, but could not put Anderson, the No. 8 seed, away. From there, Anderson came all the way back, shocking Federer with a 13-11 triumph in the fifth and final set, capping off the four-plus hour match with a bullet serve up the middle that Federer returned long.
“Down two sets to love I just tried my best to keep fighting and scraped through the third and fourth set,” Anderson said. “By the end I thought I did a great job. Beating Roger Federer at Wimbledon is one I will remember. I just kept telling myself this will be my day.”
The remarkable upset moves the 32-year-old Anderson one step closer to his first major championship. In the semifinals, Anderson will face the winner of the matchup between American John Isner, the No. 9 seed, and Canada’s Milos Raonic, the No. 13 seed.
After one set, Federer looked well on his way to a victory
Federer dispatched Anderson, who was playing in his first Wimbledon quarterfinal, in the first with ease, taking the set 6-2 in just 26 minutes. Anderson put up a bit more resistance in the second and even became the first person this Wimbledon to break Federer’s serve. However, Anderson fell once again, this time in a 7-6 tiebreaker, to fall behind two sets to none.
Anderson kept pace in the third, but Federer still had the chance to put the 6-foot-8 South African away. With Anderson serving, Federer held a match point at 4-5, 30-40 — but Anderson rallied back to win the game. From there, Anderson broke Federer’s serve in the next game to take a 6-5 advantage and won the set 7-5 with an ace, but only after remarkably holding off three break points.
Gaining confidence, Anderson took care of Federer 6-4 in the fourth, setting up a do-or-die fifth set. Things went back-and-forth and into a tiebreak. At 11-11, Anderson broke Federer’s serve once again before capping off the upset with another big right-handed serve.
Who is Kevin Anderson?
Anderson grew up in South Africa before heading to the University of Illinois to compete in the Big Ten on a tennis scholarship. After earning an array of collegiate All-American honors, Anderson turned pro and worked his way up the rankings.
Anderson appeared in his first Grand Slam, the Australian Open, in 2008. He did not have much success in the major tournaments for several years, but later reached the fourth round of both the Australian and French opens in 2013.
He moved up to No. 10 in the world rankings in 2015 and later advanced to the final of the U.S. Open in 2017, where he lost in three sets to Rafael Nadal.
Now, at age 32, he has reached the semifinals at Wimbledon for the first time.
What does the loss mean for Roger Federer?
Federer, 36, was on a quest for his ninth Wimbledon title and 21st Grand Slam trophy overall. He won the Australian Open for the sixth time earlier this year.
He also entered Wednesday’s match with two streaks at the All England Club: 34 consecutive sets won and 85 straight service games without being broken.
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