South Africa’s Kevin Anderson came from two sets down to beat defending champion Roger Federer in a five-set epic to book his place in the Wimbledon semi-finals. JUANDRE JOUBERT reports.
When Federer arrived at match-point late in the third set, no one expected Anderson to stage an epic comeback to stun the Swiss superstar and reach his first semi-final on the grass of Wimbledon.
Federer, surprisingly playing on court one, came out of the blocks firing and took the first set 6-2 in just 26 minutes after breaking Anderson’s serve twice. Anderson took a surprise 3-0 lead early in the second after breaking Federer’s serve, the first time he had lost serve in this year’s tournament. However, he could not take advantage of that break as Federer broke back in the fifth game. The Swiss went on to win the second in a tie-breaker to take a 2-0 lead.
The third was a straightforward affair as both men held serve until the 10th game, when Federer arrived at match-point. But Anderson did not look like a beaten man, and saved the point with some ferocious serving and levelled the set at 5-5. Federer looked a bit unsettled after not closing the match and Anderson took advantage of that by breaking the Swiss in the next game. The South African served out the set to get on the board.
Both men held serve in the opening six games to start the fourth, but in the seventh Anderson got yet another vital break to take a 4-3 lead. This time Anderson did not squander his advantage and served to level the match at 2-2.
The fifth set lasted a marathon 24 games. Federer clearly wanted the points to finish as quickly as possible as the longer the points went on, the more confident Anderson got.
The first break-point of the set arrived in the eighth game in favour of Federer, but when it mattered most, Anderson got a monster serve to save and hold the game. The second break-point came a massive 15 games later after Federer was first distracted by someone in the crowd and secondly by an aeroplane flying over the court. Federer double-faulted for the very first time in the tournament to hand Anderson a breakpoint. Anderson grabbed that opportunity with both hands to take a 12-11 lead.
Anderson then used his serve magnificently to claim what is possibly the biggest victory of his career and book a place in the semi-finals at SW19 for the first time with a 2-6, 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-4, 13-11 victory.