Wimbledon, July 11: Kevin Anderson became only the third man to come from two sets down to beat Roger Federer at a grand slam as he pulled off an epic comeback to knock out the defending champion in the Wimbledon quarter-finals.
Anderson achieved something only Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Novak Djokovic had done before as he fought back to prevail 2-6, 6-7 (5-7), 7-5, 6-4, 13-11 in an epic that lasted four hours and 13 minutes.
Federer had not dropped a set in his serene run through to the last eight at the All England Club, and the defending champion appeared poised for a relatively routine win when he went match point up in the third set.
But the big-serving and obdurate Anderson was undaunted by the situation, staying alive before turning the tide in his favour, preventing Federer from breaking his own record for consecutive sets won at SW19.
The previously unlikely prospect of Anderson completing an unbelievable recovery appeared a more realistic possibility when he ensured the increasingly frustrated eight-time champion would have to go the distance to reach the last four.
Neither player's defences looked penetrable in a tense and absorbing fifth and for the most part there was little sign of the stalemate ending.
However, it was Federer who was stunningly the first to falter and Anderson took advantage to book a semi-final clash with either John Isner or Milos Raonic.
Federer saved one but could only flail a forehand into the net on the second, with his exasperation becoming evident as Anderson subsequently held to love.
Anderson's attempt to serve out the set was not without drama but, though Federer brought up a break-back point, a searing cross-court backhand saved it and a forehand into the left corner secured a decider.
Opportunity knocks for Kevin Anderson - and he answers.— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 11, 2018
After Roger Federer hits his first double fault of the match, the South African breaks to lead 12-11, and will now serve for a place in the semi-finals...#Wimbledon pic.twitter.com/YQdDPGGkOn
The shock of the tournament appeared to be edging closer when Anderson moved 30-0 up in the third game, but Federer relied on his serve to salvage a hold, doing the same four games later to dig himself out of another hole after Anderson had also recovered from 30-0 down.
Federer was unable to snatch an unexpected chance from 40-0 down as Anderson's resilience again came to the fore in the eighth game, and that proved his last opening as he was ultimately worn down.
A double fault gave Anderson a break point, Federer then firing into the net, and his hopes of a record-extending ninth Wimbledon title were ended as he was unable to return a huge serve down the middle.
Later, Rafael Nadal set up a mouth-watering semi-final with Novak Djokovic after beating Juan Martin del Potro in a Centre Court classic.
Nadal was a set away from crashing out only a matter of hours after Federer. However, the 17-time Grand Slam champion was not to be denied a place in the last four, though, coming through a monumental battle with the fifth seed to win 7-5, 6-7 (7-9), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in four hours and 47 minutes.
John Isner came from a set down to claim a place in his first grand slam semi-final by beating Milos Raonic 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (9-7), 6-4, 6-3. His opponent in the semi-final will be Anderson.