Kevin Anderson Upsets Defending Champion Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and John Isner Reach Semifinals at Wimbledon
(July 11, 2018) Coming back from being down two sets to none and match point down in the third set, No. 8 seed Kevin Anderson defeated defending champion Roger Federer for the first time in his career 2-6, 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-4, 13-11 to reach the semifinals of Wimbledon for the first time.
Not only was this the first match that the south African has ever won over the 8-time Wimbledon champion, but the first three sets that he has ever won against the Swiss.
For Federer, this is just the third time that he has lost a best of five set match after being up 2 sets to none – two of the losses came to Novak Djokovic at the US Open and another in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon in 2011 to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Federer had a match point at 5-4 in the third set against Anderson’s serve but could not capitalize.
Anderson will face wither 2016 runner-up Milos Raonic or ninth-seeded John Isner in his semifinal match on Friday.
“This is going to be my day I kept telling myself,” said Anderson after the match. “It has been a great performance. It is fantastic. Now I have to recover asap. To beat Roger is one thing to remember.”
Federer talked about Anderson’s play during the match: “I mean, look, he’s got a nice, big serve that he can rely heavily on. I always thought he returns well off second serves, especially if you give him the small one. He can really lean onto it. I think he did that well again today.
“There’s nothing really that shocked me because I’ve seen Kevin play many, many times in the past. Even if the matches have been maybe sometimes one-sided, I didn’t lose sets against him, you always know he can pick it up, and all of a sudden you won’t see breaks for some time.
“I was very happy that I got off to the right start of the match, was able to take control somewhat of the game. I just don’t know exactly how I couldn’t create more opportunities once the third set came around. I think I had chances, I’m not sure exactly how many. But then fourth and fifth, obviously the fifth was long, that’s like two sets, the fifth.
“I think I had my chances, so it’s disappointing. No, I mean, no doubt about it. He was consistent. He was solid. He got what he needed when he had to. Credit to him for hanging around really that long.”
Federer said that it wasn’t one of his best days. “Sometimes you don’t feel good, and you try your best. I don’t know. Sometimes you feel better, and you still try your best.
“Today was one of those days. I think it went in spells a bit also, how I was able to return his serve. I had moments where I was great, I felt like I was reading his serve, other moments where I don’t know where the hell I was moving to. I don’t know if that was his serve. But I also have a feeling, it was a feeling of mine, you know, not getting it right.
“Then off the baseline I wasn’t feeling as good either as I had hoped to, but still good enough to be in there and maybe win the match. I wasn’t too concerned. Even at 10-All in the fifth, it’s all good. I still felt like all he needed to do was give me a few second serves, finally pick the right sides again, things could change. I wasn’t – how do you say – horribly negative the whole game.
“It’s just not one of my best days, but they don’t happen very often either. It’s one of those average days you have to try to win the match, and I just couldn’t get it done today. So it’s disappointing.”
“The losses hurt more, that you don’t want to be on the loser’s side,” Federer said. “It motivates me to do extremely well here because I don’t want to sit here and explain my loss. That’s the worst feeling you can have as a tennis player.”
Anderson came into the match 0-10 against the 20-time major winner.
“In our overall record, I didn’t think of it like that,” Anderson said. “I felt the first set obviously wasn’t great for me.I felt the first set obviously wasn’t great for me. I was a little bit unsettled starting the match out. I thought I settled down much better in the second set. Even though I lost it in a tiebreak, I felt I played a much, much better set of tennis.
“Obviously in the third set, I just tried to compete as hard as I could. I was able to, you know, hold serve throughout. Obviously had that one match point, but played a good point. Was able to get that break.”
“It’s not easy coming from South Africa, it’s very far from the tennis scene.
“In terms of my overall Wimbledon, it’s definitely a win that means a lot to me today. It’s tough in the sense that I’ve got to get ready for my next match. I can’t dwell on it too long. Obviously a lot of emotions going on. You try to calm down as quickly as possible. Already started my recovery process.
“As I said in the beginning of the tournament, getting through to the quarters was a big goal of mine. But also putting myself in these positions where hopefully I’m able to get another step forward and be playing on Sunday.”
In his 41st attempt, John Isner is in his first major semifinal. In a North American battle, the 9 seed defeated Milos Raonic 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 6-3 to reach the Wimbledon final four.
“Pure elation right now, ” Isner said. “Very, very happy to be in this position right now in the semifinals. With how I’m feeling physically and mentally, I’m in a very good spot. I think I can keep doing damage here.
“This is amazing. It’s by far the best Grand Slam I’ve ever played in my career, and I’ve been playing for 11 years. I’m super happy. To do it here at Wimbledon makes it even a little bit more special.”
The match that Isner is most known for was his win over Nicolas Mahut in 2010, the longest match ever played. “Of course, everyone is going to remember that match in 2010, and rightfully so. I like to think that since that match, I’ve done a lot of good stuff on the court performance-wise. But for a lot of people, that’s definitely the lasting image of my career.
“I think if I can keep going further here, I can maybe squash that.”
“Incredible result for Kevin(Anderson)”, said Isner. “I mean, he showed a lot of – what can you say – gumption, I guess. Hate to use that word. Coming back from two sets to love, down a match point in the third set, incredible effort by him.”
“As far as Kevin winning, whether it was Kevin or Roger, that didn’t enter my mind at all, which I think is very good. But, look, I mean, it’s not like I have a huge opportunity now. Look how well Kevin is playing. It’s going to be extra tough.”
On the matchup against Anderson:
“There could be a little mental aspect in our match. I say that because our rivalry, what have you, goes back way before the pro tour. We played each other in college probably three, four, five times. We played each other a bunch on the pro tour.
“We’ve been lined up against each other for about 14 years now, because he left Illinois when I left Georgia. We’ve been doing it ever since.
“For me this matchup, and I think for him as well, is especially cool. It’s a very nice spotlight on college tennis, that one of us, no matter what, is going to be playing in the Wimbledon final. We’re duking it out in the semifinals. Two of us went to college, did it a little bit different route. It’s pretty cool.”
Novak Djokovic has reached his first major final four since the 2016 US Open when he defeated Kei Nishikori from Japan 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.
The Serb, who is the 12th seed won the last four games in the fourth set to close out the match.
“I’m really not thinking about being an underdog or being a favorite,” Djokovic said. “I just try to build the momentum. Obviously I’ve been very pleased with the way I’ve played so far on the grass court season.
“Today I had a tough opponent, a big challenge. I think we were quite even to the middle of the third set, then I managed to step up and play up a gear, really end up this match really well.”
“I’m in semifinals, and that’s all I’m focused on right now,” said the 12-time major champion.
“It’s different coming into semifinals this year, taking in consideration 15 months behind, what everything that has happened, my results that were not up to the standard that I was doing before, that I was expected to play on.
“In the same time, I’m trying to use the experience and memories that I had on being in final stages of Grand Slams, just take things very simple, day by day. Obviously at the end of this day, analyze things that I’ve done right, that maybe need some improvement, focus on the next day’s practice session, recovery. Not get ahead of myself too much. Whatever is behind is behind. I’ve been through that.
“Right now I’m just in my thoughts for tomorrow’s practice and next opponent.”
“It was a very emotional match – to be back in the semi-finals here at Wimbledon, it is an amazing feeling”
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 11, 2018
He next faces two-time champion and second seed Rafael Nadal, who defeated Juan Martin del Potro in a 4 hour and 48 minute epic – 7-5, 6-7(7), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. It’s the longest match of the tournament so far. The Argentine went 0-5 on break points in the final set.
This will be the Spaniard’s first Wimbledon semifinal since 2011.
“Of course I was worried when I lost the second set, no? (Nadal had three set points.) Winning 6-3 in the tiebreak, it’s true that he played two great points with his serve, but then I make, yeah, very important mistake,” Nadal said.
“Then the match changed. He play well. I believe I increased little bit the level in the fourth and the fifth. But the fifth, he was playing huge, no? It was so difficult to stop him.
“I am very happy the way that I survived a lot of important points in that fifth set. I think I did a lot of things well. I went to the net. In general terms, have been a positive match. Only negative thing is I played almost five hours, and I had the chance maybe to play less winning that second set.
“For the rest of the things, great news, semifinals of Wimbledon again. Great match, emotional match for both of us and for the fans, too. Great feelings.”
Nadal’s next opponent will be Novak Djokovic:
“Always is a big challenge face Novak,” Nadal said. “Is one of the more complex players that I ever saw on our sport. Is always a big test. You know that you can’t win against him if you don’t play very well.
“But my goal is to try to play very well. I know in semifinals of Wimbledon you will not have an easy opponent in front. You have to accept that if you want to win important things. Of course, you will face the best players. You need to be ready for it.
“I did a lot of things well since I am back from injury. I only lost one match. I know that semifinals is one of these matches that anything could happen. I know if you don’t play very well, you will not have the chance to win.
“But I hope to be ready to play very well, and let’s see what’s going on. I know he’s playing very well.”
“I’m feeling sad after almost five hours of run and playing this high level against the No. 1 in the world and lost,” said a disappointed del Potro. “It’s not good for me. But maybe tomorrow or after tomorrow when I get home and I watch the match or some points again, I will be glad with my level, with my style of game.
“I think Rafa in the end deserves to win once again.”
“Just try to stay there because against Rafa every time of the match is difficult,” the Argentine added. “The first two sets were really tight. Once Rafa breaks my serves, then the match comes difficult for me.
“I had also my chances to break back in the fifth, and I miss some forehands. I think the key of the match was only three, four points in the end, and he took the chances.”
“Rafa is a fighter. Also he has a fantastic game. He deserves to win today and keep winning, of course. I’m glad to play in this level against the No. 1 in the world. For me it’s so good, looking forward to the future.
“But I was close to beat him and I couldn’t because Rafa always has a little bit more than the rest of the players on tour. I think I had to keep working hard to see if in my next opportunity I can beat him.”
“I enjoyed a lot the match of today. The crowd was amazing. They were exciting to keep watching tennis between Rafa and me. We played great points. We run a lot. I think we did good, good game.
“But Rafa wons. I have to go home. Anyways, that’s been a good tournament for me.”
More to follow….