Super Kevin stuns Federer
London: Kevin Anderson produced an astonishing fightback from two sets down to beat eight-time champion Roger Federer 2-6, 6-7 (5-7), 7-5, 6-4, 13-11 in a quarter-final cliffhanger at Wimbledon on Wednesday.
The big South African's hopes looked forlorn as Federer skipped through the opening two sets on Court One with his usual panache but he turned the match on its head to cause the biggest shock yet in a tournament full of upsets.
It was his first win against Federer at the fifth attempt and means he is the first player representing South Africa to reach the semi-final here since Kevin Curren in 1983.
While Federer bowed out, it was a case of down but definitely not out as a Rafael Nadal kept picking himself off a slippery and dusty Centre Court surface to storm into the semi-finals with a pulsating 7-5, 6-7(7), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 over Juan Martin del Potro.
Nadal ended the four hour and 48 minute thriller with a backhand volley winner past a lunging Del Potro who ended the contest lying flat on his stomach.
Next up for the Spaniard is a blockbuster last four showdown with Serb Novak Djokovic.
Eighth-seed Anderson, 32, saved a match point in the 10th game of the third set and grew in confidence against an increasingly-ragged Federer who had won the first set in 26 minutes.
He won the third set to snap Federer's 34-set winning streak at Wimbledon and Federer was clearly shaken as Anderson dominated the fourth set to drag the 20-times Grand Slam champion into a decider.
Six times Anderson was required to hold serve to stay alive and each time he was equal to the task.
Federer eventually cracked at 11-11, double-faulting to hand Anderson a break point which he converted when the defending champion hit a weary-looking forehand halfway up the net.
Anderson stayed cool and sealed victory on his first match point with a powerful first serve which Federer could only return into the tramlines.
"Down 2-0 I tried my best to keep fighting and was able to scrape through and by the end I thought I did a great job. I was in the flow of the match," eighth seed Anderson said. "Beating Roger Federer at Wimbledon will be one I remember. As the match went on, I gave it my all. I'm ecstatic."
It is the second time that 20-times Grand Slam champion Federer has lost at Wimbledon from two sets ahead, suffering the same fate against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the 2011 quarter finals. "It just wasn't one of my best days," Federer, who won the first set in 26 minutes, told reporters.
The Swiss refused to blame his surprise defeat on the decision to play the match on Court One rather than his customary Centre Court stage at the All England Club. "I don't think it really mattered, to be honest. I had my chances and blew them, so... That's my problem really, the 36-year-old said. I had my chances and I blew it."
Three-time champion Novak Djokovic reached his eighth Wimbledon semi-final 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 semi-final. It will be the Serb's first semi-final 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 unnecessary," 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 quarter-final.
"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.