Big-serving Kevin Anderson shocked the tennis world when he fought from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in a quarterfinal match that will undoubtedly be seen as one of the greatest Wimbledon comebacks of all time.
The South African-born Anderson beat the eight-time champion 2-6, 6-7, 7-5, 6-4, 13-11 in Wimbledon’s No. 1 Court to force his way into the semi-finals for the first time in his career. As a result, he joins a small group of two players to come back from two sets down to beat the Swiss master.
The five-set thriller lasted about four hours with both men playing their hearts out. It all looked like things were going according to plan for Federer when he went 2-0 in the first two sets of the match. But Kevin Anderson had a much better idea as he won the third set 7-5 after saving a match point to end Federer’s 34 consecutive sets won at Wimbledon.
Kevin Anderson: Belief and Determination
The South African was determined as he went on to win the fourth set 6-4 to make it 2-2, leaving the defending champion Federer stunned.
In no mood to give in, Anderson served three times to remain in the fifth set and prevailed to make it game 7-7. The fifth set was more like a marathon.
It seemed like the king of grass finally had this one in the bag when the game went into double digits leading 10-9 in the decider. But once again Anderson produced two love holds in a row serving to stay in the match and taking the game to 11-11.
Tired and sweating in disbelief with the match going into the four-hour mark, Federer hit his first double fault of the encounter, handing Anderson an opportunity which he gladly took with open arms to lead 12-11 serving for the biggest win of his career and a semi-finals spot.
It was all over for the eight-time champion when Anderson served up an ace to close down the deal. It was the fifth time Federer has lost a match at a grand slam after holding a match point.
Anderson kept on believing that it was his day, the day he is going to beat one of the greatest tennis players and he did.
I just kept on telling myself I have to keep believing… that today was going to be my day
According to the Wimbledon website, Kevin Anderson said: “Down two sets to love I just tried my best to keep fighting and scraped through the third and fourth set.
“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.”
After the match Anderson tweeted @KAndersonATP:
All my respect to Roger. It was an honour to share the court with you. Thanks to all the fans for your support and nice messages. #wimbledon
Kevin Anderson is the first South African to compete in the semis since Kevin Curren played in 1983, and only the sixth in history. Last year (2017) he was the first South African male to make the slam final at the Australian Open – also since Curren in 1984.
Other South Africans at Wimbledon this year include Raven Klaasen, who, with his partner, Michael Venus will also compete in the semi-finals and wheelchair star Kgothatso Montjane who is set to become the first South African black woman to play at Wimbledon when she makes her debut tomorrow.
Anderson is set to play ninth-seeded American John Isner in the semi-finals on Friday.