Shortly before 2pm there was, by the stratospheric standards Roger Federer has set at Wimbledon, a shock. Kevin Anderson, world No.8 but rank outsider in this contest, broke The Fed’s serve. At the time this seemed a minor earthquake in the tennis world, but, as the afternoon wore on, it turned out it was merely a tremor, a precursor to a seismic quake which will register on the sport’s Richter scale. The world did move on its axis. Anderson dethroned the King of Grass in an epic quarter-final which will go down in the Wimbledon annals.
That early surprise was the first time Federer had been broken since losing his first service game in last year’s semi-final to Tomas Berdych – a run of 85 held service games. Until Anderson intervened the record, of 118 set by Pete Sampras, had looked in Federer’s sights.
“Down two sets to love I just tried my best to keep fighting and scraped through the third and fourth set,” said Anderson. “By the end I thought I did a great job. Beating Roger Federer at Wimbledon is one I will remember. I just kept telling myself this will be my day.”
The lesser-spotted break then became a pair, Anderson breaking again in the third set to set up a more seismic shock as Federer dropped his first set in 35. Like the cliche about the London buses that trundle past the Grounds – you wait forever for one, then three come along together – a third break followed enabling Anderson to level at 2-2.