Former Illini star Kevin Anderson ousts Roger Federer at Wimbledon
- Author: Julie Sanders Jul 12, 2018,
Jul 12, 2018, 9:24
After saving a match point in the third set, he rallied to win, 2-6, 6-7 (5-7), 7-5, 6-4, 13-11, and record what felt like the biggest victory of his long career - quite a statement for a man who reached the US Open final previous year. I nearly could have.
Anderson was guilty of engaging in a baseline slug-fest initially with Federer, who mixed things up beautifully and moved the big South African around the court throughout - with one rally going up to 21 strokes.
Back to deuce. From there, it all began to change.
The escape energised Anderson and he broke in the next game with a bludgeoning backhand off a weak second serve and then battled back from 0-40 to seal the third with an ace.
The comeback was just beginning.
Federer's first double fault of the match was perhaps the most costly error either player made.
The 36-year-old had won the first set in just 26 minutes, but was left stunned as Anderson clawed his way back into the match from a seemingly lost position.
How hard was it to see this coming?
Speaking on ESPN, Djokovic said: "It's Roger Federer".
Eventually though, Djokovic pulled away with emphatic wins in both the third and fourth sets. "I just kept telling myself this will be my day".
Speaking to the BBC immediately after the match, Anderson said: "I'm not sure what to say right now".
But he has been fairly solid at the Slams ever since, making at least the last-16 at all the majors - with the exception of a first round blip at the Australian Open this year. The first two sets were close, offering a precursor of what was to come.
"It's like that with the big servers", Federer said.
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But he found himself in even more unfamiliar territory with an inspired Anderson's relentless, thudding serve eventually overpowering the 20-time grand slam victor. Is it missing match points?
Isner has won all 95 of his service games in the tournament.
'I was glad and grateful to be scheduled today on the Centre Court, playing first match.
Anderson, at 2.03m tall, will be "dwarfed" by his 2.08m opponent in the last four on Friday, American ninth-seed John Isner.
'I don't think it would have changed if I played there a year ago, ' the 20-time Grand Slam champion said. Novak Djokovic is generally very nice and Serena Williams is great too but the ball boys and girls have to be on their toes with her.
That earned a code violation from chair umpire Carlos Ramos.
He then let rip at Ramos for failing to sanction Nishikori for a similar act in the fourth set.
When asked if he thought he was flying under the radar at this tournament, Djokovic said, "I'm really not thinking about being an underdog or being a favorite".
Later, Ramos warned Djokovic for a time violation, but that didn't seem to faze the Serb.
"I like the level of tennis that I'm playing on right now". Even now losing, I still felt like the feeling is there.
"I don't want to stop here".