Fed­erer shocked at Wim­ble­don as Nadal and Djokovic set up semi­fi­nal date

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LON­DON — Eight- time cham­pion Roger Fed­erer was sen­sa­tion­ally knocked out of Wim­ble­don on Wednes­day by South African giant Kevin An­der­son while Rafael Nadal edged Juan Martin del Potro in a Cen­tre Court epic and will meet No­vak Djokovic in the semi­fi­nals.

De­fend­ing cham­pion Fed­erer lost a Court One thriller, 2-6, 6-7 (5/7), 7-5, 6-4, 13-11 as 32-year-old An­der­son be­came the first South African in the Wim­ble­don semi­fi­nals since Kevin Cur­ren in 1983.

“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.”

In a nail- bit­ing four hour and 13 minute clas­sic, it was 36-year- old Fed­erer’s ear­li­est exit at the All Eng­land Club since his shock sec­ond round de­feat against Sergiy Stakhovsky in 2013.

“Some­times you don’t feel good, and you try your best. To­day was one of those days. I didn’t see it com­ing,” said Fed­erer.

“I had mo­ments where I was great, I felt like I was read­ing his serve, other mo­ments where I don’t know where the hell I was mov­ing to.”

Eighth seed An­der­son will play Amer­i­can ninth seed John Is­ner on Fri­day for a place in Sun­day’s fi­nal.

Three-time cham­pion No­vak Djokovic, mean­while, reached his first semi­fi­nal at the ma­jors in more than two years by see­ing off Ja­pan’s Kei Nishikori 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.

The 12-time Slam cham­pion will face old ri­val and world num­ber one Nadal who saw off Del Potro 7-5, 6-7 (7/9), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 af­ter four hours and 48 min­utes on Cen­tre Court to reach his sixth Wim­ble­don semi­fi­nal and 28th at the ma­jors.

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 quar­ter­fi­nals.

The 20-time Grand Slam cham­pion ap­peared to be mov­ing to­wards his fifth suc­ces­sive Wim­ble­don semi­fi­nal 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.

An­der­son had failed to take a sin­gle set off Fed­erer in their pre­vi­ous four meet­ings.

Yet once he had ended Fed­erer’s run of hold­ing serve for 85 con­sec­u­tive games — a streak dat­ing back to last year’s semi­fi­nal — An­der­son’s con­fi­dence soared.

Only once be­fore had Fed­erer played more games at a Grand Slam and on that oc­ca­sion, he pre­vailed 16-14 in the 2009 Wim­ble­don fi­nal against Andy Rod­dick.

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.

Vic­tory on Wednes­day gave Nadal his 11th win in 16 meet­ings against the fifth seed Del Potro as the Spaniard stayed on course for an 18th Grand Slam ti­tle.

“I think it was great qual­ity ten­nis and in the fi­nal set there were some amaz­ing points,” said 2008 and 2010 cham­pion Nadal.

“Sorry to Juan Martin, he’s an amaz­ing op­po­nent and player. In some ways he de­serves to win as well.

“Any­thing could have hap­pened, so this is a big achieve­ment for me to get to the semi­fi­nals at Wim­ble­don.

“In the last set there was a lit­tle of every­thing, great points, great ral­lies, he was hit­ting crazy with his fore­hands.”

Djokovic, who leads his epic head-to-head ri­valry with Nadal 26-25, reached his eighth Wim­ble­don semi­fi­nal and 32nd at the ma­jors af­ter a stormy Cen­tre Court clash against Nishikori.

It will be the 31-year-old Serb’s first semi­fi­nal at a Slam since the 2016 French Open when he com­pleted the ca­reer Grand Slam.


The 12-time ma­jor win­ner pre­vailed de­spite pick­ing up two code vi­o­la­tions and ac­cus­ing um­pire Car­los Ramos of “dou­ble stan­dards.”

“I think the first warn­ing was un­nec­es­sary,” said Djokovic, who was sanc­tioned in the sec­ond set for spear­ing his rac­quet into the court.

“It didn’t harm the grass. Kei did the same in the fourth set but wasn’t warned.

“The um­pire said he didn’t see it. I don’t think it’s fair but it is what it is.”

De­spite his anger — and pick­ing up a time vi­o­la­tion in the fourth set — 12th seed Djokovic still reeled off 10 of the last 12 games.

US ninth seed Is­ner made the semi­fi­nals of a ma­jor for the first time with a 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (9/7), 6-4, 6-3 win over 2016 run­ner-up Raonic. —


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