Cape Town - Kevin Anderson says he “just went after it” when he was match point down in Wednesday’s quarter-final at Wimbledon against Roger Federer.
READ: Anderson part of select group after Federer win
The South African trailed the eight-time former champion by two sets and was a match point down on his own serve at 4-5 in the third set.
But Anderson attacked the net before Federer miss-timed a backhand to keep the contest alive.
From there Anderson staged a remarkable comeback, winning the final three sets 7-5, 6-4, 13-11 to advance to his first Wimbledon quarter-final.
“I think I remember the point pretty well. The ball was there to be hit. (I) went after it. Had a good first serve, as well. By that stage, I felt I was hitting the ball well. Obviously, it was important for me to get through those tight moments. But I feel like my commitment to the kind of tennis I wanted to play throughout the match, it got definitely better as the match progressed,” Anderson said at his post-match press conference.
It was Anderson’s fist win over Federer at his fifth attempt.
In fact, he had lost all 10 sets he played against the Swiss in their prior meetings.
“In our overall record, I didn't think of it like that,” Anderson responded when asked if the fact that he had never before won a set against Federer had played on his mind.
“I felt the first set obviously wasn't great for me. I was a little bit unsettled starting the match out. I thought I settled down much better in the second set. Even though I lost it in a tie-break (7-5), I felt I played a much, much better set of tennis.
“Obviously in the third set, I just tried to compete as hard as I could. I was able to, you know, hold serve throughout. Obviously (he) had that one match point, but (I) played a good point. Was able to get that break. I feel like once I did that, I really settled down well and felt pretty comfortable out there.”
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Anderson will next play America’s John Isner, who also reached his first Wimbledon semi-final when he defeated Canada’s Milos Raonic 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (9/7), 6-4, 6-3.
It will be a clash of giants, with Anderson (6ft 8in) slightly shorter than the 6ft 10in Isner.
“John I think has got arguably one of the best serves of all time on the tour. Especially in the last few months what's really impressive is just his first-serve percentage as well, never mind how accurate and big the serve is. But he's very consistent with the two. Definitely the first challenge is the serve,” Anderson said of Isner.
Isner leads their head-to-head encounters 8-3 on the ATP World Tour.
“I feel like he (Isner) relies a lot on confidence. Especially after his win in Miami, sort of just seeing him around, watching him play matches on the practice court, I think he has a lot of confidence right now which allows him to be a bit more free from the baseline, from the back,” Anderson continued.
"In the matches I've played him, obviously taking care of your serve is the first priority. It's a match that's often won on just a couple points here and there. I feel confident in sort of baseline exchanges I'd say quite a lot with John. At the same time, because he's such a big player, has so much firepower, you just can't be too patient. You have to still be aggressive, put him on the back foot.”