London - South Africa's Kevin Anderson became the owner of an unwanted record at Wimbledon on Tuesday when Novak Djokovic condemned him to a seventh loss in the last-16 of a major.
Defending champion and top seed Djokovic won 6-7 (6/8), 6-7 (6/8), 6-1, 6-4, 7-5 in a last-16 tie suspended due to bad light on Monday at the end of the fourth set.
Anderson, the 14th seed, was trying to reach the quarter-finals at a Grand Slam for the first time, at the 26th time of asking.
But the defeat now means he has lost in the round of 16 seven times without making the last-eight, breaking the tie of six he shared with Joakim Nystrom who also lost six times in the fourth round of the majors before making the 1985 French Open quarter-finals.
Anderson fired 40 aces and 71 winners but committed 41 unforced errors. Djokovic crashed 43 winners past his opponent but hit just 19 unforced errors.
"There's a lot of positives, being in a position two sets to love up," said 29-year-old Anderson.
"Tennis is tough like that. But on the flip side, also disappointing. It was definitely my goal to progress further than I have at the slams. Been in the round of 16 a few times. Came a lot closer this time than I have in the past. But just wasn't close enough."
Before Tuesday, Anderson had lost in the last 16 at the Australian Open in 2013, 2014 and 2015, the French Open in 2013 and 2014 and at Wimbledon last year.
Djokovic had said the match was possibly the toughest he had faced in his Wimbledon career.
"It was a very difficult match, one of the most difficult in my Wimbledon career, that's for sure," said the two-time champion.
"I thought Kevin played exceptionally well throughout the entire match. Maybe he dropped his level a little bit in the third set. But other than that, he was serving very efficiently, very powerful serve.
"So all in all, until the last moment, until the last point, I didn't know if I was going to win or not."
Anderson was bidding to become the first South African man in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon since Wayne Ferreira in 1994.
Kevin Curren remains the country's best performer at the All England Club, making the semi-finals in 1983 while finishing runner-up to Boris Becker in 1985 - although by then he was representing the United States.
"That's (Djokovic's words) are obviously nice to hear. I really gave it all. I thought I played some really good tennis," said Anderson.