Kevin Anderson produced an astonishing fightback from two sets down to beat eight-time champion Roger Federer 2-6, 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-4, 13-11 in a quarterfinal cliffhanger at Wimbledon.
It was his first win against Federer on the fifth attempt and means he is the first player representing South Africa to reach the semifinal here since Kevin Curren in 1983. He also became the first man to beat Federer from two sets down since Novak Djokovic in the 2011 US Open semifinal.
Federer looked every bit the favourite at the start, winning the first set in 26 minutes. In the first set he won 92 per cent of his first serves and all of his second serves, and hit 10 winners, too.
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In the second set, eighth-seed Anderson quickly took a 2-0 lead, but the Swiss maestro rallied to make it 3-3. But the South African player put up a good fight to take the set into the tie-breaker, where Federer eventually managed to prevail over him 7-6 (7-5).
However, Anderson, 32, came back strongly in the third set, holding Federer 4-4. He went on to win the set, though Federer, at one point of time in the set, had three break points.
In the fourth set, Anderson once again posed all sorts of problems for the Swiss running into a 5-3 lead, courtesy his explosive aces. Though Federer managed to save a set point in the final game, Anderson won the set with a powerful forehand to take the match into the decider.
The fifth set was all about serves and aces. Federer won the first set, with Anderson playing catch up all the way till 11-11. With the score reading 30-all, Federer hit a double-fault—his first of the match—handing Anderson a crucial break point. With Federer netting his forehand, the advantage was with Anderson to serve for the match. And he did so in style, earning two match points and winning it off the first one itself.
Meanwhile, three-time champion Novak Djokovic reached his eighth Wimbledon semifinal with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 win over Japan's Kei Nishikori in a stormy Centre Court clash.
Djokovic, 31, will be playing in his 32nd Slam semifinal where he will face either world number one Rafael Nadal or fifth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro.
It will be Djokovic's first semifinal at a major since the 2016 French Open when he completed the career Grand Slam.
The 12-time major winner prevailed despite picking up two code violations and accusing umpire Carlos Ramos of "double standards".
"I think the first warning was unnecessary," said Djokovic, who was sanctioned in the second set for spearing his racquet 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, Djokovic still reeled off 10 of the last 12 games of the quarterfinal.
After racing through the first set, Djokovic was handed his first code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct after bouncing his racquet into the grass in frustration at squandering three break points in the third game of the second set.
"Do you think I ruined the court?" he bellowed at Ramos. The 2011, 2014 and 2015 champion was clearly unsettled by the dispute, quickly surrendering the set.
Djokovic saved three break points in the fifth game of the third and made the Japanese star pay by breaking for 4-2 and an eventual two sets to one lead.
Nishikori, who had won only two matches in 15 meetings with the 12-time major winner, broke for 1-0 in the fourth but was broken straight back.
Djokovic's mood was not improved by Ramos choosing not to punish Nishikori for imitating his earlier offence of bashing a racquet into the ground.
"Double standards, my friend," screamed the former world number one. 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.
Nishikori, playing in his first quarterfinal at the All England Club, was bidding to become the first Japanese man to make the Wimbledon semifinals in 85 years.