Roger Federer, No. 1 seed at Wimbledon, was eliminated in the quarterfinals following five sets on Wednesday against South Africa’s Kevin Anderson, the No. 8 seed.
Federer leaped out to a commanding start, winning the first two sets 6-2, 7-5 — but floundered entering the back-end of the match dropping three straight sets, including a grueling fifth set which lasted 24 games, before Anderson pulled away, winning 13-11.
Federer was so close to victory that he was playing for match point up 5-4 in the third set, but couldn’t put Anderson away. The loss means that Federer won’t be able to win his ninth title at Wimbledon, after breaking a Pete Sampras’ record of seven titles in 2017.
Rafael Nadal is now the favorite to win the men’s singles title. He plays Argentina’s Juan del Potro on Wednesday, with USA’s John Isner still having a chance. Isner will play Milos Raonic — with the winner facing Anderson in the semi-final.
Anderson’s match on Wednesday was unlike anything he’d played at Wimbledon up to this point. ESPN Stats & Info points out that in his previous four games Anderson won just 24 games on his route to the quarter finals, before needing to win 34 on Wednesday to get past Federer. It’s proof that Federer remains the biggest mountain to climb in men’s tennis, especially in majors.