Kevin Anderson Saves Match Point To Knock Out Defending Champion Federer in Wimbledon Epic

Kevin Anderson is through to his first Wimbledon semi-final after a four hour epic victory over eight time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer.

Kevin Anderson (zimbio.com)

Kevin Anderson comes back from two sets to love down and saved match point in the third set to knock out the defending champion Roger Federer 2-6 6-7(5) 7-5 6-4 13-11. 

The defending champion started the match effortlessly as he was playing his first match on court one since the 2015 quarter-finals. The top seed sealed the early break as the faster court was helping Federer’s returns skid through the surface more rapidly.

The South African was struggling on his service games as the pressure of Federer’s returning was having a major effect on Anderson’s first serve. The eight time champion’s elegance and finesse around the court neutralised Anderson’s big serve as the second break of serve effectively sealed the set. The 20 time grand slam champion secured the opening set in 26 minutes with an insane half-volley at the net as Anderson had to re-think his strategy.

The long break from Anderson after the first set seemed to help him as he took the ball earlier and more aggressively as a slice of fortune handed the early break for the eighth seed. That early break saw Federer lose his serve for the first time at these championships, although the top seed was determined to make sure that was the last time. The world number two came back into the match and snuffed the momentum away from Anderson as he won the next three games.

The next few games saw Anderson more and more frustrated as he failed to take his chances in the set as a tiebreak was forced by Federer. The South African wasted the early mini-break lead as Federer won five points in a row to dominate the tiebreak. Despite his experience the top seed still felt nervy especially on the vulnerable forehand as we have seen many times during this grass court swing. However a missed forehand saw Federer seal a two sets to love lead and regain control in this match.

The third set didn’t provide a lot in entertainment until the latter stages as Anderson stayed firm with the eight time champion as both produced high first serve percentages. The US Open finalist’s mental resilience was on full show in the latter stages of the set as he saved match point in the tenth game to level the set up at 5-5. The South African then took full advantage of Federer’s weak forehand as he broke the top seed for the second time and after saving three break points closed out the set.

That was the first set Federer had lost in this tournament as the world number eight had pulled himself right back in this match. The momentum was firmly with the eighth seed as he continued to produce a stunning serving performance against Federer. A slice of luck in the seventh game saw Anderson seal yet another break of serve as the top seed was losing his rhythm and his forehand. A stunning backhand sealed the fourth set from Anderson as he came back to level the match at two sets all.

The fifth set had all the drama as both players produced tennis of the highest quality in this long and brutal match. The longer the fifth set went on, the better both players played under pressure as there was some big serving and big hitting as the match was heading to the four hour match.

However just as Federer was seizing control of the set, the South African broke in the 23rd game after Federer’s forehand once again proved to be vulnerable. The US Open finalist once again fired down a big serve to seal the biggest win of his career.

The victory means that Kevin Anderson moves into his first Wimbledon semi-final and becomes the first player since Jo-Wilfred Tsonga to come back from two sets to love and beat Roger Federer at Wimbledon. As for Federer his Wimbledon title defence is over and some deep reflections will take place about how much longer he can sustain his level for.

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