There's a sense of loss whenever Federer is beaten because he's so good to watch. It's Federer's most famous loss. He is by far their most successful current tennis player, with Chanel Simmonds the highest-ranked woman at 316 in the WTA rankings and Lloyd Harris, at 221, the next South African on the list in the men's log. How can losing the greatest match of all time - one that's been the subject of books and movies, one that still captures the public's imagination a decade later - be considered anything but a noble defeat? He made it to the the US Open final past year, and he's firmly established himself as a top-10 player. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap. His record of 34 straight Wimbledon wins when up 2-0 was snapped in the third set, and Federer fell shortly after. And then, out of nowhere, the match flipped.
It looked like it would be five when Federer had a match point in the third set, while leading by two sets to none. Djokovic grunted and groaned, he took on chair umpire Portugal's Carlos Ramos, who he accused "of double standards", and was handed two code violations, in the second and fourth sets, for racket abuse and time violations, but he also produced razor-sharp tennis.
Up a set and serving for the second, Federer got angry at a call that was reversed by the Hawk-Eye system. The match was a minute shy of three-and-a-half hours, so his physical condition will certainly be tested against the fresher Federer, but he's certainly not lacking confidence. I don't know if it had something to do with the breeze, just a bad day from my side, except the first set.
Anderson, 32, is the first South African man to make the last four at Wimbledon since Kevin Curren in 1985. And then came opportunity.
(2) Rafael Nadal bt.
But something amusing happened along the way.
It's all new for Isner, but Nadal and Djokovic are old hands at this stage. He could have ended things right then and there. Who was going to stop him?
The Centre Court spectators, who included the Duchess of Cornwall, Rory McIlroy and Sir Richard Branson watching on from the Royal Box, were wowed by two highlight-reel rallies in the first five games. An 18th Grand Slam title is in Nadal's mind, but Djokovic is beginning to show the form that once made him the ATP's dominant force.
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It will be the 31-year-old's first semifinal at a Major since the 2016 French Open when he completed the career Grand Slam.
In his first four matches the Swiss had been utterly dominant on serve, winning 92 % of points on first serve, his best ever serving stats in his 20 years at Wimbledon. Anderson hit 11 of those winners in the fifth set.
Mannarino had returned a long Federer backhand and the Swiss maestro wasted no time in showing off his cricket skills, which captured social media by storm.
That period saw an early Djokovic break immediately cancelled out before the Serbian struck again at 4-3, thanks in part to a stunning forehand on the run, and he served the first set out.
He's playing like it, at least.
The quotes still drip with condescension and disdain even seven years later.
Everything appeared to be going to plan when Federer eased into a two-set advantage. "Some players grow up and play like that - being down 5-2 in the third, and they all just start slapping shots".
"I wouldn't necessarily say I've been playing like incredible". "I kept on telling myself, keep believing, today is my day". It's my mission to get back to where I was.