Roger Federer knocked out of Wimbledon: Eight-time champion surrenders 2-set lead in quarter final defeat to Kevin Anderson

Leye Aduloju in Wimbledon 11 Jul 2018
  • Roger Federer crashed out of Wimbledon after 2-6 6-7 7-5 6-4 13-11 defeat to Kevin Anderson
  • Anderson saved a match point in the third set before completing a stunning turnaround
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Eight-time champion, Roger Federer crashed out of Wimbledon after a sensational 2-6 6-7 7-5 6-4 13-11 loss to South Africa's Kevin Anderson in the quarter finals on Wednesday. 

Federer had come into the match as the overwhelming favourite to reach a 13th Wimbledon semi-final, having beaten Anderson in their four previous meetings without dropping a set, and the great Swiss looked set for another routine win when he held a match point for a straight-sets win at 5-4 in the third set. Anderson, competing in his first Wimbledon quarter final and 100th Grand Slam match, had other ideas. 

The South African was decidedly second best at the start of the match, with Federer immediately neutralizing his big serves with good anticipation and clever returning to earn a break in the opening game of the match. The Swiss expectedly controlled the set from there, holding easily and constantly putting Anderson under pressure on serve. Federer earned another break for 5-2, and subsequently served out the set with minimum of fuss. 

Anderson had to alter something to get back into the match, and the underdog did just that, stepping up the aggression 0n return of serve, particularly on the forehand wing. 

Having held serve to open the second set, Anderson made his first real move on Federer. A strong forehand return down the middle forced two break points, and he converted the second after a backhand return down the line caught Federer out. It was the first time the defending champion had dropped his serve all tournament. 

Growing in confidence, Anderson banged down a hold to love to consolidate the break. His lead wouldn't last long though, as Federer got back on serve at the next opportunity. The set would be decided on a tie break, with Federer recovering from a mini-break, and a late wobble to convert his third set point to take a two-set lead to put himself into a seemingly unassailable position.

Anderson was left with the proverbial mountain to climb, but to his great credit, he never dropped his head. The 32-year-old kept pace with Federer through the third set, but the end seemed near when he conceded the first break point of the set at 4-5, which also happened to be a match point for Federer. Anderson bravely attacked the net, forcing Federer into a backhand error. 

The underdog made the most of that reprieve, swinging at Federer in the next game. A sharp forehand return brought up the error for break point, and Anderson converted with the sweetest backhand return down the line. 

Anderson was pegged back to deuce from 40-0 as he served for the set, but he made no mistake on a fourth set point, sending down an ace down the T to take a set off Federer for the first time in his career, ending Federer’s run of 34 consecutive sets at Wimbledon. 

Federer appeared shaken by that turn of events, with his forehand in particular misfiring, while Anderson by contrast, grew stronger and stronger. The South African broke for the 4-3 lead in the fourth set, and then slammed down three aces in an emphatic hold to love to back up the break. Federer had one last chance to salvage the set, carving out a break back point with a trademark backhand down the line as Anderson served for the set, but the South African responded with a nerveless backhand crosscourt winner. He brought a second set point with an ace down the middle; and sealed the set with a forehand into the corner. 

A marathon final set ensued with neither man willing to yield. There was just one break point in the opening 22 games of the set, but it was Federer who eventually faltered at 11-11, conceding a break point with an ill-timed double fault, and losing his serve after sending a forehand into the net. Just like that, Anderson was presented with the chance to serve out a monumental win. 

Anderson opened the game with a forehand error, nerves perhaps, but he restored parity with an ace. A big inside-in forehand brought up match point, and a big first serve drew a backhand error from Federer to confirm the stunning upset. 

"I was very happy that I got off to the right start of the match and was able to take control, somewhat, of the game," said Federer. "I just don't know exactly how I couldn't create more opportunities once the third set came around."  
"I think I had my chances, so it's disappointing. No doubt about it. He was consistent. He was solid. He got what he needed when he had to. Credit to him for hanging around really that long."

For Anderson, he moves into a second Grand Slam semi-final, adding to his runner-up finish at last year's US Open. The South African goes on to face either John Isner or Milos Raonic in the last four.

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