Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Former Illini star Kevin Anderson ousts Roger Federer at Wimbledon

Former Illini star Kevin Anderson ousts Roger Federer at Wimbledon

What looked at first like another straightforward, straight-set victory over Kevin Anderson, the big-hitting South African veteran, eventually morphed into a five-set Wimbledon upset for the ages.

Anderson, the first South African to reach the last eight since Wayne Ferreira in 1994, was steadfast though and did what no man had done at Wimbledon since last year's semi-final when he broke Federer's serve early in the second set. It capped a wild year for Federer, one that began with him in tears after a five-set loss to Nadal, but included his first French Open win (and the career Slam that came with it), a return to the winner's circle at Wimbledon and the birth of his twin girls.

Djokovic, who defeated Nishikori in four sets to reach the semi-finals, added: 'It was the tournament's decision. Anderson, the eighth-seed, who hadn't taken a set off Federer in four previous meetings, struck again in the seventh game of the fourth set when the Swiss' forehand found the net.

"I think psychologically there's a huge difference for Anderson to play on Court One rather than Centre", the Swede, working as Eurosport's chief analyst, told Reuters. "Then you have moments in the match where you rise to the occasion and play very well".

This Wimbledon had all the makings of another Roger Federer fairytale before a jaunt in the sun turned tennis noir.

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" I think I had chances, I'm not sure exactly how many".

He said: 'I felt like in the last month and a half, the level of tennis has been very close to where I would like it to be, where I'm used to having it. There's hopefully two more matches still to be played. Co-incidentally, Federer's mother hails from the same country as Anderson.

But, playing on Court One for the first time in three years, Federer was unusually error-prone. I said today is going to be my day.

This was only the third time in Federer's 20 years of contesting Grand Slam matches that he lost after taking the opening two sets; both of the other defeats came in 2011.

Federer and Nadal are favourites to meet in Sunday's final - 10 years after their epic 2008 showdown - but Wilander believes Del Potro could throw a spanner in the works. It rattled Federer, who blew the next match point and then double faulted on break point.

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That ended Federer's streak of consecutive sets won at the All England Club at 34, with the former world No 1 unable to break his own record. That's all I can say'.

He may also dwell on this fact: If Nadal wins Wimbledon, he will be within two Grand Slam titles of Federer's record (20 to 18) for the first time since 2004, when Federer had two and Nadal had none.

Anderson, a three-time All-American at IL, moves onto the semifinals of Wimbledon for the first time in his career.

The next challenge for Djokovic is a quarter-final against Kei Nishikori, who he has beaten 12 times in a row since the Japanese star claimed his biggest victory in the semi-finals of the US Open in 2014.

'I'm grateful, as I said, that it was on Centre Court. "I hope I can get a chance to fight for a trophy".

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