Federer: I didn’t see it coming

July 14 01:03 2018

In a stunning turnaround in an unfamiliar setting – Number One Court instead of Centre Court – the top-seeded Federer blew a third-set match point and, eventually, all of his big lead in a 2-6, 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-4, 13-11 loss to number eight seed Kevin Anderson on Wednesday in a four-hour, 14-minute tussle.

Swiss great Roger Federer exits the 2018 Wimbledon Championships earlier than expected.

“Beating Roger Federer here at Wimbledon will definitely be one that I remember, especially in such a close match”.

Finally he got the breakthrough when Federer produced his first double fault of the match at 11-11, serving out to become the first South African man to make the last four at Wimbledon since Kevin Curren in 1983. He then broke the serve of his Japanese opponent in the next game.

And if the Spaniard can coast past Novak Djokovic in Friday’s semifinal, ahead of a final showdown against John Isner or Anderson, then he narrows the Grand Slam gap between himself and the Swiss superstar to two titles.

After a slump following two years of nearly total domination of the men’s game, Djokovic’s star appears to be back on the rise and he is a clear contender to win a fourth Wimbledon title. The 36-year-old defending champion was a point away from a 12th consecutive straight-sets victory at the All England Club but ended up losing a cliffhanger 2-6 6-7 (5) 7-5 6-4 13-11.

Djokovic got past No. 24 Kei Nishikori 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the quarterfinals.

“I know, I was two sets to love down some years ago against him here and managed to pull out the five-set win”.

And with Federer dumped out of Wimbledon, the competition has opened up and paved the way for his arch rival – Rafa Nadal – to claim his third title at the All England Club. “I was actually playing really high-quality tennis, having a few sniffs on his serve, nearly felt my mind wondering, Well, maybe I can do this”. By that stage, I felt I was hitting the ball well. Anderson then saved three break points, hitting an ace to force a fourth set.

For only the fifth time (and third in 269 Grand Slam matches), Federer squandered a two-set lead. “I was in the flow of the match”, eighth seed Anderson said. I don’t think this one naturally you can pinpoint exactly, except my match points.

Anderson’s comeback victory is only the second time Federer has lost at Wimbledon after leading by two sets, following a quarter-final defeat by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 2011.

Entering Wednesday, Federer had a 32-set winning streak at Wimbledon. For Federer, he said it could take “a while” to get over this defeat or “half an hour”.

He said: “Maybe the losses hurt more, that you don’t want to be on the loser’s side”. I wanted to put myself in these positions.

He had been yearning for a Centre Court date, after playing as many games on Court Two as the main show court so far this tournament.

Nadal could gain the most out of Federer’s absence. The implications weren’t good: Either Federer had choked when presented with the most favorable Grand Slam situation he might ever see again or he was as old and decrepit as Cilic had made him look.

“I wouldn’t call it unfinished business”, he said. Even in the French, after my fourth-round match, it was a long match, I had sort of an issue that’s plagued me before.

Kevin Anderson of South Africa celebrates winning match point against Roger Federer of Switzerland on day nine of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club

Federer: I didn’t see it coming
 
 
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