Wimbledon 2018

Federer blows 2-0 lead in shock loss

South African Kevin Anderson hitting a return against Roger Federer during his shock quarter-final win over the defending Wimbledon champion yesterday. He fought back from two sets down and even saved a match point in the third set.
South African Kevin Anderson hitting a return against Roger Federer during his shock quarter-final win over the defending Wimbledon champion yesterday. He fought back from two sets down and even saved a match point in the third set.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Eight-time Wimbledon winner Roger Federer was in unfamiliar territory in more ways than one yesterday.

The defending champion fell to Kevin Anderson for the first time in his career, losing 6-2, 7-6 (7-5), 5-7, 4-6, 11-13 in the quarter-finals at the All England Club yesterday.

Federer went into the match with a 4-0 head-to-head record over the big-serving South African but blew a two-set lead on Court No. 1. The upset marked his earliest departure from Wimbledon since a shock second-round defeat by Sergiy Stakhovsky in 2013.

It was the first time in three years the Swiss maestro was playing a Wimbledon match away from his beloved Centre Court, where Novak Djokovic ousted Japan's Kei Nishikori 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 in a stormy clash.

Federer won more points in the epic 4hr 14min battle - 195-189 - but was shocked despite serving first in the crucial fifth set. He had not lost serve this fortnight before meeting eighth seed Anderson.

Anderson, who saved a match point in the 10th game of the third set, will next face either Canadian Milos Raonic or American John Isner for a place in Sunday's final.

Djokovic will take on either world No. 1 Rafael Nadal or fifth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro in the other semi-final.

The 12-time Grand Slam winner prevailed against Nishikori despite picking up two code violations and accusing umpire Carlos Ramos of "double standards".

"I think the first warning was unnecessary," said the Serb, who was sanctioned in the second set for spearing his racket into the court.

"It didn't harm the grass. Kei did the same in the fourth set but wasn't warned. The umpire said he didn't see. I don't think it's fair but it is what it is."

Despite his anger, the 31-year-old still reeled off 10 of the last 12 games. "It feels great to be back in the last four of a Slam. I've been building in the last couple of weeks and my level of tennis is going up."

After racing through the first set, Djokovic was handed his first code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct after bouncing his racket into the grass in frustration at squandering three break points in the third game of the second set.

Ramos then hit Djokovic with a time violation warning for taking too long to serve in the seventh game of the fourth set. But the 12th seed was not to be denied as he raced into the last four, hitting an impressive 40 winners on the way.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 12, 2018, with the headline 'Federer blows 2-0 lead in shock loss'. Print Edition | Subscribe