LONDON - Roger Federer suffered a stunning Wimbledon exit as the defending champion blew a two-set lead and wasted a match point in a 2-6, 6-7 (5/7), 7-5, 6-4, 13-11 quarter-final defeat against South Africa's Kevin Anderson on Wednesday.
Federer's bid to win a ninth Wimbledon title came to an astonishing end as the Swiss star collapsed in a nail-biting four hour and 13 minute classic that ranks as one of the tournament's greatest upsets. It was Federer's earliest departure from Wimbledon since his shock second round defeat against Sergiy Stakhovsky in 2013. Eighth seed Anderson will play 2016 runner-up Milos Raonic or American ninth seed John Isner on Friday for a place in Sunday's final.
"Down two sets to love I tried my best to keep fighting. Beating Roger Federer here at Wimbledon will be one I remember, especially in such a close match," Anderson said. "I kept telling myself to keep believing. I said today is going to be my day. You need that mindset against Roger. I'm ecstatic. That's what you work so hard for. Matches likes that are very special."
For the only the second time at Wimbledon, Federer was beaten after holding a two-set lead, with his previous loss from that position coming against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the 2011 quarter-finals. The 20-time Grand Slam champion appeared to be moving towards his fifth successive Wimbledon semi-final after taking the opening two sets.
That initial burst gave Federer 34 successive sets won at Wimbledon, equalling his own record set between 2005 and 2006. But, playing on Court One for the first time in three years, Federer was unusually error-prone and became visibly frustrated as eighth seed Anderson refused to surrender.