Roger Federer suffered a stunning Wimbledon exit as the defending champion blew a two-set lead and wasted a match point in a 2-6, 6-7 (5/7), 7-5, 6-4, 13-11 quarter-final defeat against South Africa’s Kevin Anderson on Wednesday.
Federer’s bid to win a ninth Wimbledon title came to an astonishing end as the Swiss star collapsed in a nail-biting four hour and 13 minute classic that ranks as one of the tournament’s greatest upsets.
It was Federer’s earliest departure from Wimbledon since his shock second round defeat against Sergiy Stakhovsky in 2013.
Eighth seed Anderson will play 2016 runner-up Milos Raonic or American ninth seed John Isner on Friday for a place in Sunday’s final.
“Down two sets to love I tried my best to keep fighting. Beating Roger Federer here at Wimbledon will be one I remember, especially in such a close match,” Anderson said.
“I kept telling myself to keep believing. I said today is going to be my day. You need that mindset against Roger.
“I’m ecstatic. That’s what you work so hard for. Matches likes that are very special.”
For the only the second time at Wimbledon, Federer was beaten after holding a two-set lead, with his previous loss from that position coming against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the 2011 quarter-finals.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion appeared to be moving towards his fifth successive Wimbledon semi-final after taking the opening two sets.
That initial burst gave Federer 34 successive sets won at Wimbledon, equalling his own record set between 2005 and 2006.
Meanwhile, Three-time champion Novak Djokovic reached his eighth Wimbledon semifinal on Wednesday with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 win over Japan’s Kei Nishikori in a stormy Centre Court clash.
Djokovic, 31, will be playing in his 32nd Slam semifinal where he will face either world No 1 Rafael Nadal or fifth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro.
It will be Djokovic’s first semifinal at a major since the 2016 French Open when he completed the career Grand Slam.
The 12-time major winner prevailed despite picking up two code violations and accusing umpire Carlos Ramos of “double standards”.
“I think the first warning was unneccessary,” said Djokovic, who was sanctioned in the second set for spearing his racquet into the court.
“It didn’t harm the grass. Kei did the same in the fourth set but wasn’t warned.
“The umpire said he didn’t see. I don’t think it’s fair but it is what it is.”
Despite his anger, Djokovic still reeled off 10 of the last 12 games of the quarterfinal.
“It feels great to be back in the last four of a Slam. I’ve been building in the last couple of weeks and my level of tennis is going up,” he said.
“I am peaking at the right moment.”
After racing through the first set, Djokovic was handed his first code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct after bouncing his racquet into the grass in frustration at squandering three break points in the third game of the second set.
“Do you think I ruined the court?” he bellowed at Ramos.
The 2011, 2014 and 2015 champion was clearly unsettled by the dispute, quickly surrendering the set.
Djokovic saved three break points in the fifth game of the third and made the Japanese star pay by breaking for 4-2 and an eventual two sets to one lead.
Nishikori, who had won only two matches in 15 meetings with the 12-time major winner, broke for 1-0 in the fourth but was broken straight back.
Djokovic’s mood was not improved by Ramos choosing not to punish Nishikori for imitating his earlier offence of bashing a racquet into the ground.
“Double standards, my friend,” screamed the former world No 1.
Ramos then hit Djokovic with a time violation warning for taking too long to serve in the seventh game of the fourth set.
But the 12th seed was not to be denied as he raced into the last four, hitting an impressive 40 winners on the way.
Nishikori, playing in his first quarterfinal at the All England Club, was bidding to become the first Japanese man to make the Wimbledon semifinals in 85 years.
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