Roger Federer stunned at Wimbledon by Kevin Anderson
Jul 13 2018 by Dustin Murphy
His loss to Anderson was the first match he'd played on Number One Court since 2015. The Cilic-Nishikori match was the first Grand Slam final in almost 10 years not to feature Federer, Nadal or Djokovic.
He was also the oldest first-time finalist at a major since Niki Pilic at the 1973 French Open. Anderson had never taken a set off Federer in the four times he had played him. Federer even held a match point at 5-4 in the third. But that turned out to be the least of his worries.
"First set felt great".
Anderson v Isner will be played at Centre Court, of course, a spot Federer knows well. He had a match point on Anderson's serve in the third set.
The Japanese remained in control and served it out to level the match and he appeared in the ascendancy as, after saving a break point, he then raced to a 0-40 lead on Djokovic's next service game.
But Anderson survived the scare before incredibly turning the match around, eventually emerging victorious from an absorbing battle of wills as he prevailed 2-6 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 6-4 13-11.
Deploying his huge serve to lethal effect, Anderson roared back to leave the champion's title bid in tatters thanks to a barrage of 28 aces and 65 winners.
Anderson is one of the biggest servers on the ATP Tour, but could not find his rhythm in the opening two sets, during which he landed just 56% of his first serves and won 66% of those points.
The final set lasted 90 minutes, and it was captivating stuff.
But this time Federer cracked, serving his first double fault at 11-11 in the decider to give Anderson the crucial break that ushered the Swiss to the exit door.
Djokovic is a 12-time major champion who's been in something of a rut, due to right elbow troubles that lasted more than a year until he finally had surgery in February.
"I wouldn't call it unfinished business", he said. "By the end, I thought I did a great job of not thinking about things too much". "Obviously at this sort of event, playing against an opponent like Roger is going to have a lot of coverage".
"Every second game is an average performance I believe", Federer told the assembled media. You need to go with that mindset against a player like Roger. You feel like it's getting closer with [Angelique] Kerber and players like that but you just feel Serena wants to define history. It was a nail-biting four hour and 13 minute classic.
The 36-year-old Swiss ace came into Wimbledon as the favourite to win a ninth title and retain his crown from last year.
Djokovic, seeded 12th, incurred a warning for throwing his racket and was clearly frustrated, complaining of "double standards" when Nishikori was not punished for a racket throw. I just try to build the momentum.
"He said he thinks it damaged the court".
"I had my chances so it's disappointing, but he was consistent and solid".
"That was very important", he added. Federer made his way into net, but the crowd made more noise as Federer flubbed the volley, leading to the break and ultimately the match.