Roger Federer crashed out of the Wimbledon quarterfinals after blowing a two-set lead and match point against Kevin Anderson.
The big-serving South African triumphed 2-6 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 6-4 13-11 in four hours, 14 minutes to hand the defending champion his first Wimbledon defeat since the 2016 semifinals against Milos Raonic.
Federer shut down his season with a knee injury after the loss to Raonic and given some of his misses on Court 1, you had to wonder if something was bothering the 36-year-old Wednesday.
Or was it the court? The eight-time champion and 20-time grand slam winner last played a Wimbledon match outside Centre Court in 2015.
Federer squandered his match point at 5-4 on Anderson’s serve in the tthird set but it seemed like it would only be a matter of time before he moved into the semifinals for the 13th time.
When the US Open finalist took the third-set tiebreak, however, his belief grew.
The eighth seed ended Federer’s Wimbledon set streak at 34 — one short of what would have been a new record — having earlier become the first man to break the Swiss’ serve this fortnight.
And he didn’t stop there.
A Federer double fault at 11-11 in the fifth opened up the door to the lone break of the decider and Anderson closed it out with a massive serve to reach a first Wimbledon semifinal. The 6-foot-8 Anderson wasn’t broken in the final three sets.
It was the second time Federer dropped a two-set lead at Wimbledon — after a reverse to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 2011 — and the fifth time he lost at a major when holding a match point.