LONDON - Kevin Anderson became the first South African in 24 years to reach the quarterfinals of Wimbledon with a 7-6 7-6 5-7 7-6 victory over Frenchman Gael Monfils in the fourth round on Monday. “It was a really high quality match, I had to dig deep,” Anderson said after the match. “I’ve played Gael a few (five) times and this is the first time I’ve beaten him.”
Wayne Ferreira was the last SA player to make it into the last eight in 1994, and now the eighth-seeded Anderson will have the unenviable task of coming up against eight-time Wimbledon champion and number one seed Roger Federer of Switzerland on Wednesday. “It’s a great opportunity playing the greatest grass court player of all-time, right now it will just be about recovering and getting ready to play Roger.”
in the first set, the pair traded a break of serve each, the 32-year-old Anderson broke his opponent in the seventh game and Monfils broke straight back in the following game. There would be no further breaks as the players headed to a tiebreak. The Anderson serve proved too strong in the break as the SA player claimed it 7-4.
Monfils needed just one break point opportunity in the second set as he broke in the fifth game to move 3-2 ahead. Monfils increased his lead to 4-2, but Anderson responded by winning the next three games in a row, before the Frenchman held his serve to take the score to 5-5. Once more, the players went to a tiebreak. This time, Anderson was even stronger in the breaker as he surged to a 6-2 lead before closing out the set with an ace. In fact, Anderson boasted a win-rate of 91 percent of points on his first serve.
In the sixth game of the third set, Monfils broke Anderson to take a 4-2 lead which quickly became 5-2 when he held serve to love in the next game. With Monfils 30-0 up serving for the set at 5-3 up, Anderson found something extra to win the next four points in a row to break.
Just when the third set appeared to be heading to another tiebreak, Monfils took his first break point opportunity at 40-30 up on the Anderson serve, to claim the set 7-5. Interestingly, Anderson dropped to just 65 percent of points won on his first serve during the set.
The fourth set was extremely tightly-contested which did not feature any breaks of serve as a result. For the third time in the match, a set needed a tiebreak to separate the heavy-hitters. With the players locked at 4-4, Anderson found a crucial mini-break. Anderson held his nerve to serve out the breaker 7-4 and book his ticket into the last eight.
African News Agency (ANA)