Federer left with 'terrible' feeling after shock exit

Sports | 13 Jul 2018

Roger Federer admitted he was shell-shocked as the Swiss star struggled to come to terms with his "terrible" Wimbledon quarter-final exit against South African Kevin Anderson.

Federer suffered one of the most stunning defeats of his career, blowing a two-set lead and wasting a match point in a 2-6, 6-7 (5/7), 7-5, 6-4, 13-11 loss.

His bid to win a ninth Wimbledon title came to an astonishing end as the defending champion collapsed in a nail-biting four-hour, 13-minute classic that ranks among the tournament's greatest upsets.

The 36-year-old had needed only 26 minutes to take the first set, leaving him horrified as a fifth successive Wimbledon semi-final slipped through his fingers from such a commanding position.

"To be honest, I didn't feel mental fatigue [during the match]. Now I feel horribly fatigued and just awful," Federer said. "As the match went on, I couldn't surprise him any more. That's a bad feeling to have.

"I couldn't come up with enough good stuff for him to miss more. I think that was the key at the end. It's just terrible. But that's how it goes, you know. I didn't see it coming."

It was Federer's earliest departure from Wimbledon since his shock second-round defeat against Sergiy Stakhovsky in 2013. Anderson's huge serve kept Federer on the back foot and the towering eighth seed also fared much better than expected in the baseline rallies.

As Federer was appearing at Wimbledon for the 20th time and 15 years after he first won the title, there were inevitably questions about whether the father of four had played his last match at his favorite tournament.

Asked if losing to Anderson would spur him to return and make amends next year, Federer hinted he didn't plan to walk away just yet. "Yeah, of course, the goal is to come back here next year," said Federer, who has won three Grand Slams over the last two years. "I wouldn't call it 'unfinished business'. I felt like I did some good business here in the past already. So I'm all right. Just disappointed now."

Anderson will play American ninth seed John Isner today for a place in Sunday's final.

Even though he was two sets down and facing match point against Federer, Anderson insisted he never gave up hope. That took great self-belief, he added, knowing that he had never taken a set off the 20-time major winner in four previous meetings.

World No 1 Rafael Nadal will play Novak Djokovic in the other semi after edging Juan Martin del Potro 7-5, 6-7 (7/9), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in a Centre Court epic.

"Rafa is a fighter and he has a fantastic game. He deserves to win today and keep winning," said Del Potro. "I'm glad to play in this level against the No 1 in the world.

"I was close to beating him and I couldn't because Rafa always has a little bit more than the rest of the players on tour."

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

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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