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Roger Federer’s title defence at Wimbledon 2018 ended on Wednesday after Kevin Anderson edged the champion 2-6, 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-4, 13-11 and moved into the semi-finals after a five-set tug of war.
Anderson had lost all previous meetings with Federer and will face either Milos Raonic or John Isner in the last four, looking to extend what’s already been his best run at SW19 to date.
Novak Djokovic’s clash against Kei Nishikori went more to script and saw the Serb advance to his first Grand Slam semi-final in almost two years following a confident 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 win.
Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro meet later on Wednesday to decide whom Djokovic will face in the next phase of the London tournament.
Read on for a roundup of Wednesday’s results and a look towards Thursday’s draw.
(8) Kevin Anderson bt. (1) Roger Federer: 2-6, 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-4, 13-11
(12) Novak Djokovic bt. (24) Kei Nishikori: 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2
(2) Rafael Nadal vs. (5) Juan Martin del Potro: TBD
(9) Milos Raonic vs. (13) John Isner: TBD
(12) Jelena Ostapenko vs. (11) Angelique Kerber, 1 p.m. BST/8 a.m. ET
(25) Serena Williams vs. (13) Julia Gorges, 2:30 p.m. BST/9:30 a.m. ET
Eighth-seed Anderson completed an audacious comeback against the unlikeliest of foes to suffer one at SW19 on Wednesday when he turned a two-set deficit around to emerge the victor in a four-hour struggle.
Federer was made to rue his slip after heading two sets up, even missing out on a match point and straight-sets win, with his opponent pulling off a second-half revival that ended a long-running streak for the Swiss, per The Times‘ Stuart Fraser:
Anderson’s serve is highly respected at this level, but he managed to meet the mark with an average of only 56 per cent of his first serves over the first two sets. That compared with an average of 78 percent in the third and fourth sets, providing the spine that propped up his comeback on Court 1.
A total of 24 games were required to decide the result in an enthralling fifth set, and Anderson spoke of the motivation required to keep pushing at the back end of an exhausting affair, via BBC Sport:
The No. 8 seed isn’t likely to forget his first win over Federer in a hurry, especially considering how this performance compared to his previous results against the tennis legend, per ESPN Stats & Info:
Not quite to the same extent as Anderson, but Djokovic too was forced to improve as his meeting with Nishikori raged on, particularly after the 24th seed showed a sturdier response to level after two sets.
Djokovic appears to be emerging at the brighter end of a glum patch in form in his career, and writer Jose Morgado praised his performance after ending a 22-month wait between major semi-final appearances:
There was a slight controversy when Djokovic bemoaned the “double standards” on show when his opponent wasn’t punished for bouncing his racquet against the floor, as he did earlier in the match, per Metro‘s George Bellshaw:
Nishikori fought hard, but the signs of wear and tear from playing a foe of Djokovic’s quality became apparent when he dropped three breaks in the fourth, decisive set, running out of steam opposite a relentless force.
The level of Djokovic’s opposition is certain to increase in the semi-finals, however, with either second-seed Nadal or fifth-seed Del Potro promising to offer the Serb the stiffest challenge of his Wimbledon run.