In unfamiliar surroundings at Wimbledon, Roger Federer suffered an unfamiliar defeat against a big server who just didn’t flinch.
Federer blew a match point and two-set lead to Kevin Anderson, 2-6 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 6-4 13-11, in a four-hour, 14-minute quarterfinal played away from his backyard of Centre Court on Wednesday.
His great rival, Rafael Nadal, narrowly avoided an upset to conclude the day, coming from behind to top Juan Martin del Potro in an even more mesmerizing 7-5 6-7 (7-9) 4-6 6-4 6-4, nearly five-hour slugfest.
Those who stayed behind on Centre Court to watch that one instead of England’s semifinal against Croatia at the World Cup at the same time were thus highly rewarded
The 17-time grand slam champion set a blockbuster clash with the rejuvenated and more rested Novak Djokovic. Djokovic, who owns 12 majors, had a relatively straight forward outing, prevailing 6-3 3-6 6-2 6-2 over Kei Nishikori in two and a half hours to begin the festivities on Centre.
Federer, unusually, won’t be in the last four at Wimbledon.
“It’s disappointing losing the next two sets after winning the first two and having match points,” Federer told reporters. “I’ve been there before. I know what kind of energy I need to bring to the fifth. I was able to bring that.