Switzerland's Roger Federer leaves court after losing to South Africa's Kevin Anderson 2-6, 6-7, 7-5, 6-4, 13-11 in their men's singles quarter-finals match on the ninth day of the 2018 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 11, 2018. The final score in favor of Anderson: 2-6, 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-4, 13-11.
The defending champion had not dropped a service game at this year's championships either - part of a run spanning 85 games - until Anderson broke him in the second set.
There was still the small matter of holding serve but a 28th ace helped settle Anderson's nerves and be brought up match point with a massive forehand before completing a remarkable victory with a first serve that Federer could not handle. Is it missing match points?
Nishikori, who had won only two matches in 15 meetings with the 12-time major victor, broke for 1-0 in the fourth but was broken straight back. Again, I really hope it's an example of sticking to your dreams and keep believing in yourself.
The only other times that Federer has surrendered a two-set lead came against Lleyton Hewitt in Switzerland's 2003 Davis Cup semifinal loss to Australia in Melbourne, to David Nalbandian in the 2005 Masters Cup decider and to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Novak Djokovic at consecutive slams at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2011. But then fourth and fifth, obviously the fifth was long, that's like two sets, the fifth.
That took great self-belief, he added, knowing that he had never taken a set off 20-time major victor Federer in four previous meetings.More news: Too early to take positives for proud England boss Southgate
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This was also Anderson's first appearance in the Wimbledon quarterfinals, becoming the first South African man to do so since Wayne Ferreira reached the last eight in 1994.
Anderson then served it out, ending things with a 205kph service victor, and raised both arms overhead. Isner reached his first Grand Slam semi-final by beating 2016 Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic of Canada 6-7 (7-5), 7-6 (9-7), 6-4, 6-3, hitting 25 aces and saving the only break point he faced.
"I felt great in practice, good in the warm-up".
Now the 32-year-old South African moves on to face number nine John Isner of the U.S. on Friday. While Federer was waiting to play his semifinal against No. 14 seed Marin Cilic, Djokovic was getting upset by Kei Nishikori, seemingly handing Federer the trophy on a silver platter.
It is timed for release as the anticipation crests with Roger as returning champion, 10 years after their famed 2008 Wimbledon championship - an epic match so close and so reflective of their competitive balance that, in the end, the true victor was the sport itself.
"I think I was sort of on the border of actually going on to Australia (in 2017)". It is true that it has been a while since I have been in that position. "Just today, when I needed it, I couldn't get it up".