Kevin Anderson pulled off a stunning upset over Roger Federer in the Wimbledon quarterfinals on Wednesday, coming back from two sets down to win 2-6, 6-7 (5-7), 7-5, 6-4, 13-11.
Not only had Anderson never defeated Federer in their four previous meetings, but Anderson had not even won a set until winning the third in Wednesday’s match.
Federer Blows 3rd Set Match Point
The result was all the more stunning given Federer’s recent dominance at Wimbledon. Including the first two sets against Anderson, Federer had won 34 consecutive sets at the Grand Slam. He is the defending champion of the tournament, which he has won eight times in total.
Even in the third set, it appeared as though Federer was about to finish up a tidy match and move on to the quarterfinals. With Anderson serving down 4-5 in the third, Federer had a match point that slipped away.
Instead, Anderson would go on to win the final three games of the set, then picked up the fourth set as well, allowing the match to go to a winner-take-all fifth set without a tiebreaker.
While Federer had the better chances early in the set, including a break point, both players held their serve again and again. Finally, at 11-11, Anderson broke through, and held his serve without any real trouble to win the epic match.
Anderson, who played nearly flawless power tennis for the final three sets, said that maintain belief was critical to pulling off the historic comeback.
“I really tried my best to keep fighting,” Anderson said after the match. “I kept telling myself I have to keep believing that today is going to be my day.”
Anderson, the 8th seed in the tournament, will now face No. 9 John Isner in the semifinals. The American used his big service game to dispatch Canadian Milos Raonic 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (9-7), 6-4, 6-3 and reach his first ever Grand Slam semifinal in his 41st career major. Isner has yet to be broken in the tournament.
Nadal vs. Djokovic in Dream Semifinal
The other semifinal will see Rafael Nadal take on Novak Djokovic in a battle of two of the best players of their generation. Nadal survived an epic five-set match with Juan Martin del Potro, winning 7-5, 6-7 (3-7), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. Djokovic had the most straightforward of the quarterfinal matches, beating Kei Nishikori 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.
The winner of the Nadal/Djokovic semifinal will be a heavy favorite to win Wimbledon. William Hill has Djokovic as the 6/4 favorite, just ahead of Nadal (13/8), while Isner (6/1) and Anderson (7/1) are relative longshots.
Thursday will see both women’s semifinals contested at Wimbledon, as Jelena Ostapenko takes on Angelique Kerber and Serena Williams battles Julia Goerges.
While all of the top ten seeds are out of the tournament, Williams (1/1) has been one of the top picks to win the event since before it started, and is now the odds-on favorite to win her 24th career Grand Slam title. Two-time Grand Slam champion Kerber (9/4) is considered the second choice, while Ostapenko (9/2) and Goerges (11/1) would need to pull off two significant upsets in a row to take the championship.