Through two sets on Wednesday, it looked as if Roger Federer would be cruising into the Wimbledon semifinals.
The top-seed and defending champion had yet to drop a set throughout the tournament. But Kevin Anderson must not have known. The eighth-seeded South African completed the incredible comeback to stun Federer and reach the Wimbledon semifinals with a 2-6, 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-4, 13-11.
“I just kept on telling myself I have to keep believing and I kept saying that today was going to be my day, because you really need that mindset taking the court against somebody like Roger. If you go out there with doubts, or unsure what’s going to happen, like I maybe did a little bit in that first set, it’s not going to go your way,” said Anderson. “I just gave it my all and very ecstatic to get through that.”
The key to Anderson’s comeback was his unwillingness to give up on his own service games, starting late in the third set. Federer had a match point at 5-4, but Anderson came back to hold, and then secured a key break for 6-5.
Anderson then fell behind 0-40 as he sought to serve out the set, but once again recovered to hold and end Federer’s streak of consecutive sets won at Wimbledon.
After Anderson secured the only break point of the fourth set, the quarterfinal headed to a deciding fifth set, which is where the match was raised to another level. Both players would hold serve through the first 22 games of the decider, until a couple of Federer errors opened the door for an Anderson break.
He then completed his comeback and his first career win over Federer in the next game.
“As I said in the beginning of the week, my first goal was to try and go one step further than my best result here, but I also said that I wanted to put myself in these positions, so obviously fantastically happy about today,” said Anderson. “I’ve put myself in a shot of hopefully playing on Sunday, so right now I’m going to have to really cover a lot and be ready for my next match on Friday.”