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Wimbledon 2018: Nadal beats Del Potro in five sets, Federer out – as it happened

The Guardian
Wednesday 11 July 2018 22:18

Anderson beats Federer 2-6, 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-4, 13-11Djokovic beats Nishikori in four-set battleFederer left to regret one that got awayAnd why not email Bryan or tweet him here
9.18pm BST Here’s Kevin Mitchell’s match report from SW19. That’s all from me. Thanks for following along and be sure to join us tomorrow for our women’s semi-final coverage. Related: Rafael Nadal shows his warrior spirit to beat Del Potro and reach semi-finals 9.15pm BST Nadal is through to his fifth Wimbledon semi-final – and his first since finishing runner-up in 2011. It’s his 28th major semi-final appearance overall, which ties him with Ivan Lendl for fourth most in the Open era behind Federer (44), Djokovic (33) and Jimmy Connors (31). 9.04pm BST Rafa is asked about Croatia v England going to extra time right as he walks off court. His response: “Maybe it’s coming home. Let’s see, let’s see.” The man knows his audience. 8.58pm BST Del Potro slipped on match point and remained face down in exhaustion after his shot sailed wide. Nadal, through to yet another Wimbledon semifinal, climbed over the net and met him at his baseline for an embrace. What. A. Match.

He had to work for it, but @RafaelNadal is into the #Wimbledon semi-finals…

…with Novak Djokovic up next 8.52pm BST Simply brilliant. It doesn’t get better. 8.44pm BST Well, that was quick. Del Potro holds at love and Nadal will serve for a place in the semis. 8.42pm BST Del Potro is not going quietly. Another marathon game, more eye-popping shotmaking and finally Del Potro earns a break-point chance. Nadal saves it with a deftly played drop shot that Delpo can’t retrieve. Moments later a second break chance for Del Potro but Nadal see that one off as well, this time getting the better of his opponent in a baseline rally. Del Potro earns a third break-point chance when Nadal sends a backhand sailing past the baseline, but he sprays a forehand wide and we’re back to deuce again. Nadal hits yet another drop-shot winner for game point, but they’re back to deuce again and moments later Nadal closes it out with perhaps the point of the match, hitting an impossible winner at the tail end of a grueling rally. A 13-minute game and Del Potro, who now must serve to stay in the tournament at 3-5, has nothing to show for it. Match of the year? 8.32pm BST Isner finishes it off, benefitting a bit from a injury compromised Raonic, and the 33-year-old American is one win away from a Wimbledon final. Isner’s 41 attempts before reaching a first grand slam final is second-most in the Open era after fellow American Sam Querrey, who made the Wimbledon semis last year in his 42nd try. He’d never made it past the third round at the All England Club in 10 previous trips ... and now he’s in the last four. “I really feel like at 33 I’m playing the best tennis of my life,” he says. 8.26pm BST Rafa is dialed in now. He’s won two quick points off Del Potro’s serve and the Argentinian is in danger of slipping into the abyss down 2-4, love-30 in the fifth. But he rallies with a ripping forehand winner and forces Nadal into an error with another big forehand for 30-all. He then booms a 119mph ace, his 31st of the match, for game point, and follows it with a baseline winner to stay in business. 8.23pm BST You didn’t think Del Potro would go down without a fight, did you? The Argentinian scratches out a few winners and earns a break-point chance on Nadal’s serve at 30-40. Another gripping point unfolds and Del Potro has the forehand teed up in his strike zone and ... he frames it! Oh dear. Break point saved for deuce, but moments later Delpo’s earned a second break opportunity. Nadal sees that one off, too, and moments later Nadal escapes with the hold. Delpo to serve at 2-4 in the decider. He’ll really have to hold his nerve here after that exhausting game.Same. 8.16pm BST Related: Roger Federer mortal after all and left to regret one that got away | Simon Cambers 8.15pm BST Well, well, well: Isner has broken Raonic in the fifth game of the fourth set. He consolidates moments later with a clinical love hold and Raonic, who appears to be struggling with his movement, will serve at 2-4. 8.13pm BST Nadal with a chance to pounce in the fifth game of the decider. Del Potro falls behind love-30 on his serve. He responds with a forehand winner, but overcooks a forehand on the next point as Nadal rushes the net (and slips to the turf) and the Spaniard will have pair of break-point opportunities. Del Potro saves the first, passing Nadal as he comes to net again (and slips again). But Nadal rips a devastating backhand cross-court winner from behind the baseline, timed at 90mph off the ground, for the crucial break!
8.05pm BST Raonic fell behind love-30 serving to open the fourth set over on Court 1. But he rallied for the hold and they’re on serve at 2-all. The combined ace count is up to 53 – 31 for Raonic, 22 for Isner. 8.00pm BST Nadal and Del Potro are trading hellfire on Centre Court. Absolutely breathtaking shotmaking, a rare power and variety, by both players. And then, the point of the tournament with Delpo serving at 2-2, 30-all: a blistering rally capped by a Delpo diving volley winner for game point. Yet Nadal digs in and they go to deuce, and a second deuce, then a third and a fourth. Del Potro slips again after coming to net on a drop shot that he can’t retrieve. Both men playing at their best level right now: just fantastic stuff. But the Argentinian is able to dial in a booming ace to escape with the hold. 7.51pm BST Further intrigue on Court 1 as Isner double-faults to go down break point while serving for the set at 5-4. He saves it with his 21st ace and goes on to take the third set. Now the 33-year-old American is one set away from his first career grand slam semi-final in his 41st crack. 7.44pm BST Nadal serves out the fourth set and we’re heading to a decider. The second five-setter of the day. Career five-set records for those of you keeping score at home: Nadal is 19-11, Del Potro is 7-9. 7.40pm BST Surprise: Isner has broken Raonic in the fifth game of the third set. They’d played 28 games without so much as a break point for either man, but Raonic double-faults twice, including a particularly unsightly one at 15-30 where he nearly toppled over, and Isner wrong-foots him for the crucial break. 7.35pm BST Nadal wins a few points on Del Potro’s serve and stakes a break point at 30-40. The Spaniard squanders it with an overcooked slice for deuce, but hits a forehand winner moments later for another set point. Delpo saves that one as well, this time with a thunderous forehand winner from the baseline, wins the next point and closes out the hold with an ace. Nadal to serve for the set at 5-4 after the changeover. 7.31pm BST Nadal holds for 5-3 and Del Potro will serve to stay in the fourth set. The Argentinian slipped again on the last point of the game, the third time he’s tasted the turf in the last 10 minutes or so, all while Nadal has seemed to have broken free of his dip in form with the serve dialed in once again. Speaking of, there’s no problem with the serving over on Court 1, where Raonic and Isner are tied at 2-all in the third set, seemingly bound for yet another tiebreaker. 7.22pm BST It’s Nadal who’s drawn first blood in the fourth set. The Spaniard has taken advantage Del Potro’s unsure footing in the fifth game to earn triple break point in the blink of the eye before grabbing the break with an elementary forehand into the open court. He backs it up with a stress-free hold and Delpo will serve at 2-4.(Eurosport) 7.17pm BST Raonic blinks first in the breaker. The Canadian, serving at 3-all, sends a forehand from the baseline sailing past the line. That puts Isner up a mini-break, but he gifts it right back with a double fault. Isner scratches out another chance with a blistering winner off a misguided Raonic serve-and-volley at 7-all, earning a set point. This time he capitalizes with a booming unreturnable serve to level the match at one set apiece. 7.04pm BST Thanks, Jacob. After a very long bathroom break by Nadal between sets, we’re back in action on Centre Court. No mass exodus with that certain other sporting event moments from going off. Delpo holds to open the fourth set. Meanwhile over on Court 1, the other quarter-final between Raonic and Isner, who have combined for 41 aces so far, is headed to a second-set tie-break. 6.53pm BST Bryan Armen Graham, our man in New York, will take you through to the end of this fantastic match. He’ll also keep a quarter of an eye on Court 1. 6.52pm BST Serving to stay in the set, Nadal falls to 0-15 before punching a volley into the net. Del Potro’s up 0-30. Del Potro attacks with his forehand. He needs a couple of smashes to earn three set points, but he gets there in the end. Del Potro shows the clinical touch of Harry Kane with a ripsnorting forehand into the corner. He’s a set from the semi-final! 6.47pm BST A monster forehand from Juan Martin del Potro is enough for him to hold to 30. He leads 5-4 in the third set. Over to Senor Rafa. 6.37pm BST Juan Martin del Potro holds to 30 for 4-3 in the third set. This has been a fine match. Novak Djokovic will be hoping it lasts until around 9pm. 6.28pm BST Just nipped off to get an apple. On Court 1, Milos Raonic has won a first-set tie-break against John Isner. Be still my beating heart. On Centre Court, Juan Martin del Potro leads 3-2 in the third set against Rafa Nadal. 6.08pm BST Del Potro saves a fourth set point and then he earns one of his own. Nadal serves, but Del Potro unleashes the hammer! A forehand from right to left clips the top of the net and Nadal is powerless to resist! 6.04pm BST Juan Martin del Potro saves two set points in the tie-break - and then Rafa Nadal double-faults on the third! It’s 6-6 and Del Potro’s still in it! 5.59pm BST Oh, John Isner and Milos Raonic have started on Court 1. No breaks yet! 5.58pm BST Let’s head back to Centre Court, where Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro are in a second-set tie-break. Del Potro, remember, served for the set. 5.56pm BST Related: Serena Williams prepares for reprise with Julia Goerges in Wimbledon semi 5.55pm BST Roger Federer is asked about the future.The goal is to come here next year. I wouldn’t call it unfinished business. I did some good business here in the past. I don’t think it would have changed if I played on Court 1 last year. I don’t think it mattered. I had my chances and didn’t take them.” 5.54pm BST Roger Federer continues.I had moments where I was great. I had moments where I was reading his serve. Off the baseline, I was not feeling it as good as I hoped. It was still enough to maybe in there. At 10-all, I felt he might give me a few second serves. It’s just not one of my best days. They don’t happen very often either. It’s one of my average days.”
5.52pm BST Roger Federer continues.I’ve seen Kevin play very well off the baseline. I couldn’t feel very well off the baseline. The one-two punch wasn’t working very well. I don’t know if it was the breeze. I didn’t feel exactly 100%. It’s one of those days where you want to get by. I didn’t feel mental fatigue. Now I feel mental fatigue and just awful. It feels terrible. That’s how it goes.” 5.51pm BST Roger Federer has arrived for his press conference. I guess there was a moment at some point. Is it missing match points? Is it getting broken at 5-5 after that? That could have been the key. It could have been elsewhere. He’s got a nice big serve that he can rely on. I always thought he returns well off second serves. He did that well today. There’s nothing that shocked me because I have seen Kevin play in the past. You always know he can pick it up. I was happy I got off to the right start to the match. I don’t know how I couldn’t create more opportunities once the third set came around. The fifth set was long, that’s like two sets. He was consistent, he was solid. Credit to him for hanging around that long.”
5.44pm BST Anyway, to Centre Court. Trailing by a set, Juan Martin del Potro breaks to lead 5-4 in the second set. But a double-fault hands Rafa Nadal a break point and the Spaniard converts with a killer forehand down the line! 5.35pm BST The biggest win of Kevin Anderson’s career and the best the Court 1 crowd could muster was respectful applause. I get that people want Roger Federer to win, but how about we show the other guy a bit of love? Anderson was two sets down to Federer and he was behind the serving pattern throughout the second set! He’s the first man to beat Federer from two sets down since Novak Djokovic in the 2011 US Open semi-final! Related: Roger Federer stunned by Kevin Anderson in five-set Wimbledon thriller 5.32pm BST Kevin Anderson speaks! “I’m not sure what to say right now. I tried my best to keep fighting and was able to scrape through the third and fourth set. By the end I was able to do a great job and I wasn’t thinking too much. Against someone like Roger, if you go out there with doubts, like I did in the first set, it’s not going to go well. That was a great performance from my side. I’m very pleased to get through. I wanted to put myself in these positions. I’m very happy about today. I’m in a position to hopefully be here on Sunday. Beating Roger here at Wimbledon is something I’m going to remember. But hopefully I have two more matches to play.” 5.27pm BST The crowd barely cheered that break. This wasn’t supposed to happen. It wasn’t in the script. But Kevin Anderson has torn it to shreds here and now he’s serving for a place in his first ever Wimbledon semi-final. He’s about to do a Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. As long as he can stay calm. You could hear a pin drop on Court 1. Eventually Anderson makes a second serve. Federer makes him play a shot. Anderson sends a forehand wide for 0-15. He settles himself down with an ace. The applause is respectful. It wasn’t like this when Gilles Muller beat Rafael Nadal in similar style last year. A tense rally ensues. Federer blinks first, firing a forehand long. 30-15. Anderson is two points away. Make that one point. He runs around a Federer return and thrashes an enormous forehand down the line to earn his first two match points! A big serve down the middle is enough! Federer stretches and deflects his backhand miles wide! It’s a development that’s greeted with disappointed applause from the crowd. I don’t think they wanted Anderson to win that one. 5.22pm BST Fifth set: Federer* 6-2, 7-6, 5-7, 4-6, 11-12 Anderson (*denotes server): Federer lifts a backhand miles long. Then he flays one down the line for 15-all. He’s edgy, though, and there’s surprise when he pushes a low forehand off target for 15-30. Under pressure, he peels back and thumps a pinpoint 91mph forehand down the line for 30-all. But then, at long last, Federer hits his first double-fault of the match to give Anderson a break point! What a time for it to come. What a time for Federer to net a forehand. Anderson breaks at last! He’ll serve for the match! 5.19pm BST Fifth set: Federer 6-2, 7-6, 5-7, 4-6, 11-11 Anderson* (*denotes server): Anderson plants a forehand past a flat-footed Federer. He’s very comfortable on serve at the moment. He’s settled into a very good rhythm as the set’s worn on and he swipes a forehand away to hold to love again. 5.15pm BST Fifth set: Federer* 6-2, 7-6, 5-7, 4-6, 11-10 Anderson (*denotes server): Federer nets a forehand at 15-0. Then he wins an 11-shot rally. It’s 40-15 when Anderson nets a forehand return. An excellent second serve seals the hold. Federer still hasn’t hit a double-fault. 5.12pm BST Fifth set: Federer 6-2, 7-6, 5-7, 4-6, 10-10 Anderson* (*denotes server): Anderson’s first two serves aren’t coming back. This will never end. It will still be going when Harry Maguire completes his hat-trick later. Anderson holds to love easily. 5.09pm BST Fifth set: Federer* 6-2, 7-6, 5-7, 4-6, 10-9 Anderson (*denotes server): Anderson can’t get Federer’s first two serves back into play. Then he nets a forehand. Then he fires one long. 5.07pm BST Fifth set: Federer 6-2, 7-6, 5-7, 4-6, 9-9 Anderson* (*denotes server): Anderson bangs an ace down the middle, just like someone who has no regard for the fact IT’S ENGLAND V CROATIA IN THE WORLD CUP IN UNDER TWO HOURS!!!!!! Soon it’s 40-0. Then it’s 40-15. But Anderson holds. New balls please. 5.03pm BST Fifth set: Federer* 6-2, 7-6, 5-7, 4-6, 9-8 Anderson (*denotes server): “I need to watch the football!” a punter shouts. Don’t we all. Back on court, Federer lets a 40-0 lead become 40-30. He holds when Anderson flicks a backhand just wide. 5.01pm BST Fifth set: Federer 6-2, 7-6, 5-7, 4-6, 8-8 Anderson* (*denotes server): It goes to 15-all again. But Anderson is sticking to his plan: bludgeon it. Federer, a little weary, makes two errors. 40-15. Anderson holds with his 26th ace. “Everyone is talking about Anderson’s serve, but Federer has not double faulted ALL match,” Robin Wickli points out. That’s going to have to last. Meanwhile Rafa Nadal took the first set 7-5 against Juan Martin del Potro on Centre Court. 4.56pm BST Fifth set: Federer* 6-2, 7-6, 5-7, 4-6, 8-7 Anderson (*denotes server): Anderson rushes Federer, who sends a forehand long for 0-15. Federer responds with a brilliant, brave second serve for 15-all, but then he punches an easy volley into the net! 15-30! He’s nervous! This is Federer nervous! Somehow, though, he wins the next rally, surviving a net cord and volleying for 40-30. He holds with an ace. The last time Federer lost 4.52pm BST Fifth set: Federer 6-2, 7-6, 5-7, 4-6, 7-7 Anderson* (*denotes server): The first two points are shared. Federer’s pushing. He wrongfoots Anderson with an inside-out forehand for 15-30, but the South African’s so gutsy, fighting to 30-all with a glorious forehand pass after being challenged by Federer. Anderson makes it 40-30 with a snorting ace. Another boulder sees him hold. 4.48pm BST Fifth set: Federer* 6-2, 7-6, 5-7, 4-6, 7-6 Anderson (*denotes server): Both players have had all three challenges restored. They might need them, you never know. Not here, though. Federer holds to love and has a chomp on some kind of energy-based snack. 4.46pm BST Fifth set: Federer 6-2, 7-6, 5-7, 4-6, 6-6 Anderson* (*denotes server): The pressure is on Kevin Anderson again and it builds when Federer sprays a splendid, swerving forehand past him for 0-15. Federer’s on the charge, racing to the net to volley for 0-30. Suddenly he’s two points from finishing this. Anderson clambers to 15-30, though, and then Federer nets a forehand after slipping behind the baseline. This is extraordinary defiance from Anderson, who goes for broke with a forehand that lands just inside the line for 40-30! The game goes to deuce, but somehow Anderson holds. On we go. 4.39pm BST Fifth set: Federer* 6-2, 7-6, 5-7, 4-6, 6-5 Anderson (*denotes server): Anderson chops a slice long, gifting Federer a 15-0 lead. Then he knocks a backhand long off a second serve. 30-0. Federer slaps a forehand past him for 40-0. He holds to love. Anderson’s turn. 4.38pm BST Fifth set: Federer 6-2, 7-6, 5-7, 4-6, 5-5 Anderson* (*denotes server): Serving to keep the match alive, Anderson begins by slamming an ace down the middle for 15-0. There’s no stopping that. The first point feels so important when Anderson serves. Games can flash by once he’s ahead - and that’s what happens here. 4.34pm BST Fifth set: Federer* 6-2, 7-6, 5-7, 4-6, 5-4 Anderson (*denotes server): Federer volleys smartly for 15-0. The game goes to 30-0. Soon it’s 40-15. Federer holds with a crisp forehand. Anderson will serve to stay in the tournament. 4.32pm BST Fifth set: Federer 6-2, 7-6, 5-7, 4-6, 4-4 Anderson* (*denotes server): Federer frames a forehand, allowing Anderson to take a 15-0 lead. Anderson proceeds to smash two aces past Federer for 40-0. He seems to be in control. But Federer drags it to 40-30. Anderson puffs out his cheeks. Then he drifts a backhand slice long. Deuce. He’s tight all of a sudden. Federer starts to dart back and forth across the baseline like he’s 25 years old. The slices coming at Anderson are sharp and biting. Anderson is wavering. He chops another slice long to give Federer a break point. Is this the moment? No, Anderson rams a big serve down the middle and Federer nets a forehand return. A lengthy rally ensues. Federer hangs in there - until he can hang no more and he nets a tame slice. What drama! What next? A wild backhand from Anderson. But he knuckles down and holds when Federer nets a backhand. Here, I think I just heard a “Come on Kev!” 4.23pm BST Fifth set: Federer* 6-2, 7-6, 5-7, 4-6, 4-3 Anderson (*denotes server): Federer nets a backhand for 0-15. Anderson means business, ripping through a forehand to make it 0-30. Federer is desperate for first serves. Three in a row take him into a 40-30 lead, soothing the crowd. A fourth is enough for a nervy hold. Federer is sailing very close to the wind. 4.20pm BST Fifth set: Federer 6-2, 7-6, 5-7, 4-6, 3-3 Anderson* (*denotes server): Anderson doesn’t do enough at the net, allowing Federer to swipe a forehand past him for 0-15. More cheers from the crowd. Poor Kevin. He fires a forehand wide for 0-30. He needs his serve to click into gear. One out wide makes it 15-30. Then Anderson overpowers Federer with a crosscourt backhand for 30-all before whooshing a forehand past Federer for 40-30. An ace sees him hold to 30. Related: Novak Djokovic breaks Kei Nishikori's resistance to reach Wimbledon semi-final 4.14pm BST Fifth set: Federer* 6-2, 7-6, 5-7, 4-6, 3-2 Anderson (*denotes server): Forehand. 15-0. Ace. 30-0. Forehand. 40-0. Big serve, game. Oh Roger I love you. 4.13pm BST Fifth set: Federer 6-2, 7-6, 5-7, 4-6, 2-2 Anderson* (*denotes server): “Let’s go Roger, let’s go” is the impartial chant from the Court 1 crowd. Poor Kevin. He’s a really nice guy, you know! But there’s barely any applause when he wins a point. There’s more when he double-faults for 15-all. Classy. In that context it’s even more impressive when Anderson dusts himself down to win the next two points, making it 40-15. He holds. No sign of a break yet. 4.08pm BST Fifth set: Federer* 6-2, 7-6, 5-7, 4-6, 2-1 Anderson (*denotes server): Federer drills a backhand long for 0-15, making the crowd wince and groan. Then he nets a volley, making it 0-30. This is a huge chance for Anderson, though there’s not much he can do about a fine ace out wide from Federer, who wins the next point with a forehand punch down the line for 30-all. Federer holds to 30, serving brilliantly. 4.05pm BST Fifth set: Federer 6-2, 7-6, 5-7, 4-6, 1-1 Anderson* (*denotes server): A good backhand return from Federer forces Anderson to block a backhand long for 0-15. Anderson responds with his 18th ace, making it 15-all. His 19th makes it 30-15. He holds to 15. 4.03pm BST Fifth set: Federer* 6-2, 7-6, 5-7, 4-6, 1-0 Anderson (*denotes server): Roger Federer is going to have to play some of his very tennis to survive this onslaught from the admirable Kevin Anderson. It might help that he’s serving first. He charges into a 40-0 lead, taking advantage of misses from Anderson, and holds to 15. 3.58pm BST On Centre Court, Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro have arrived. But we’ll be sticking with the final set of Roger Federer versus Kevin Anderson. 3.57pm BST It’s a nervy start from Anderson, who mistakenly challenges when he thinks a Federer forehand has gone long. It was on the line. 0-15. But Anderson pulls it back to 15-all and then he sends an ace down the middle for 30-15. Federer isn’t done, though, and he volleys for 30-all. The tension is high on Court 1. Anderson deals with it impeccably, though, pulling a backhand past the scampering Federer to earn set point! Federer, however, is Federer. He saves it with a brilliant forehand down the line for deuce. Then he returns with a drop shot. It pulls Anderson forward and Federer’s able to earn a break point with a backhand down the line. Anderson has to big. He saves it with a huge backhand and then he wallops an ace down the middle for his second set point. Has Federer got any more tricks up his sleeve? Nope! But Anderson does. He crashes a forehand into the left corner and this is going to a decider! Federer’s reign is suddenly looking very fragile! 3.51pm BST Serving to stay in the fourth set, a wounded Roger Federer sends down two aces for 30-0. He holds to love. But Kevin Anderson will serve to take this extraordinary quarter-final into a fifth set. Can I let you in on a secret? Anderson has been the better player since losing the first set. 3.49pm BST Kevin Anderson fires an ace down the middle for 40-0. The wheels are coming off the Fed Express. Another monstrous ace sees Anderson lead 5-3. Uh oh. They are stunned on Court 1. 3.47pm BST Kevin Anderson breaks! Facing two break points, Roger Federer saves the first - but then he raps a forehand into the net! He can’t handle the South African’s raw power at the moment! Anderson leads 4-3 in the fourth set and is threatening to pull off an almighty shock. 3.45pm BST The three-time champion fires a wicked forehand into the left corner to earn his first semi-final here since 2015! That was a superb performance from the second set onwards. Djokovic will play Rafael Nadal or Juan Martin del Potro next. 3.43pm BST Roger Federer hurtles back and loops a forehand pass to the left, drawing a missed volley from Kevin Anderson. But the South African rattles through the next three points to lead 40-15. Then Federer nets a forehand. 3-3. This could go either way. 3.38pm BST Kevin Anderson once played the match of his life to stun Andy Murray at the US Open. He’s going to have to that top here. He’s certainly trying. He’s causing Roger Federer all sorts of problems on Court 1. At 40-30, he forces deuce with a devastating, biting backhand slice. That might have been a fluke, but it was pretty enjoyable to watch. It came out of nowhere, baffling Federer. Yet the Swiss can rely on his trusty serve to pull him clear, allowing him to hold for 3-2 in the fourth set. 3.31pm BST A routine start to the fourth set o Court 1. Three straight holds and Roger Federer leads 6-2, 7-6, 5-7, 2-1. 3.27pm BST Over on Centre Court, Novak Djokovic has restored order in the fourth set. He’s raced through three straight games to lead Kei Nishikori 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 3-1. 3.24pm BST Roger Federer tears a forehand down the line to make it 0-30. Then Kevin Anderson steers a backhand volley wide to hand the Swiss three break points! It’s agonising for the South African to watch and it’s a lifeline for Federer, who’s raging with himself at the moment. The first chance goes begging, Federer skewing a forehand wide, and Anderson saves the second with a heavy forehand. Then Federer nets a forehand when he appeared to be on top. How wasteful. I blame Court 1. Federer wouldn’t waste three straight set points on Centre Court. He wouldn’t give Anderson a set point with a missed set point on Centre Court. But here we are - and Anderson forces a fourth set with an ace! He deserves that for his persistence. This is very intriguing now. It’s seven years since the last time Federer, who hadn’t dropped a set here since the 2016 semi-final defeat to Milos Raonic, lost from two sets up at Wimbledon. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was his quarter-final conqueror that day.
3.16pm BST Kei Nishikori starts the fourth set with a break, profiting when he forces Novak Djokovic to plonk a backhand long. Over on Court 1, meanwhile, Roger Federer is having to deal with some serious fire from Kevin Anderson, who’s aghast at his failure to break when he reaches a Swiss drop shot before whacking a backhand wide. Federer gifts Anderson another chance with a curiously wayward forehand, though, and this time the South African rattles a forehand return down the line to break! He’ll serve for the third set at 6-5! 3.12pm BST Kevin Anderson holds on Court 1. Roger Federer leads 6-2, 7-6, 5-5. Another tie-break? 3.10pm BST Kei Nishikori had three break points in the fifth game of this set. He couldn’t take them and that’s allowed Novak Djokovic to motor off into the distance. The 12th seed has just won four straight games to restore his lead, clinching the set with a venomous forehand down the line! This feels like a very significant moment for Djokovic, who desperately needs a big win to prove to himself that he’s back. 3.04pm BST After all that pressure from Kei Nishikori, dastardly Novak Djokovic breaks to lead 6-3, 3-6, 4-2 on Centre Court. He glares at his entourage and twiddles the villainous twirly moustache he’s been growing since the first set. 3.01pm BST To Kevin Anderson’s credit, he hasn’t given much away since the first set on Court 1. He’s clinging on, holding for 4-4 in the third set. Unfortunately for the eighth seed, though, Roger Federer still has that two-set lead. 2.56pm BST Kei Nishikori is mainlining winners now, ramming a forehand down the line for 0-15. Novak Djokovic needs to weather the storm. But he’s looking a little more bedraggled after double-faulting for 0-30 and positively drenched when he knocks a forehand long to hand Nishikori three break points. Djokovic saves the first two. The good thing is that his hair always stays in one place even when the wind’s swirling around him. It has that granite quality. So does he. He outlasts Nishikori in another long rally to force deuce. Nishikori shakes his head. Djokovic, meanwhile, is starting to take a long time to serve. He’s going over the 25-second limit a lot. He’s pushing it. But he holds for 3-2. 2.49pm BST The doctor and physio didn’t hang around long. It seems it was just a quick check for Kei Nishikori, which is just as well given that Novak Djokovic’s on the hunt for a break. The 12th seed carves out a break point with some vicious returning, but Nishikori saves it with a surprise advance to the net. That’s some smart volleying from Japan’s biggest tennis star and he follows it up with a superb forehand down the line to hold for 2-2. 2.41pm BST Novak Djokovic swings an ace down the middle to hold. He leads Kei Nishikori 6-3, 3-6, 2-1, but they’re still on serve in the third set on Centre Court. Nishikori has called for the doctor and the physio. He’s having some more treatment to his right elbow. 2.39pm BST Roger Federer has won 34 consecutive sets at Wimbledon, equalling his record from 2005-06. Seven more will bring him his ninth title. 2.33pm BST Well, well, well. Djokovic has been rattled since receiving a code violation for racket abuse and Nishikori polishes off a good set with a fine forehand! 2.32pm BST Second-set tie-break: Anderson* 5-7 Federer (*denotes server): Not to worry, a big crosscourt forehand is enough to force Anderson to scramble a backhand long. 2.31pm BST Second-set tie-break: Anderson 5-6 Federer* (*denotes server): Federer sends another forehand long! He’s wasted both serves! 2.30pm BST Second-set tie-break: Anderson 4-6 Federer* (*denotes server): Federer hoicks a forehand long. 2.30pm BST Second-set tie-break: Anderson* 3-6 Federer (*denotes server): Federer slaps a forehand into the left corner and Anderson can’t do anything with a backhand. The Swiss has three set points. 2.29pm BST Second-set tie-break: Anderson* 3-5 Federer (*denotes server): Anderson produces a lovely second serve down the middle. 2.28pm BST Second-set tie-break: Anderson 2-5 Federer* (*denotes server): Anderson can’t get a pinpoint serve back. 2.28pm BST Second-set tie-break: Anderson 2-4 Federer* (*denotes server): Federer guides a laser-pointed backhand down the line. 2.27pm BST Second-set tie-break: Anderson* 2-3 Federer (*denotes server): Anderson fires a backhand long. He challenges to no avail. 2.26pm BST Second-set tie-break: Anderson* 2-2 Federer (*denotes server): Anderson nets a forehand after a couple of clever sliced backhands from Federer. 2.25pm BST Second-set tie-break: Anderson 2-1 Federer* (*denotes server): Anderson knocks a forehand long at the end of a punishing rally. 2.24pm BST Second-set tie-break: Anderson 2-0 Federer* (*denotes server): Federer nets a forehand after a sharp return from Anderson. 2.24pm BST Second-set tie-break: Anderson* 1-0 Federer (*denotes server): Anderson begins with an ace down the middle. 2.23pm BST Serving to stay in the second set at 5-6, Roger Federer’s surprised when Kevin Anderson approaches the net to volley for 0-15. This is much more even now and Anderson two points from levelling it when Federer nets a forehand. A murmur goes round Court 1. The Federer fans are worried. They don’t want to see their hero have to fight. They’re happy when he battles back to 30-all. Then he forces an error on the backhand side from Anderson for 40-30. A big serve is enough for Federer to force a tie-break. 2.16pm BST Kei Nishikori holds to lead 4-1 in the second set on Centre Court. Roger Federer holds to make it 5-5 in the second set on Court 1. 2.13pm BST Novak Djokovic will be even more unhappy now! He nets a backhand slice and Kei Nishikori breaks to lead 3-1 in the second set. Over on Court 1, meanwhile, Kevin Anderson holds to lead 5-4 in the second set. Roger Federer’s under pressure. 2.11pm BST 85 games won on serve...@KAndersonATP is the first player to break the Roger Federer serve at #Wimbledon since Tomas Berdych in last year's semi-final 2.10pm BST Novak Djokovic has just received a code violation for racket abuse. Naughty Novak! He’s livid during the changeover. “You’re saying in the point if I toss my racket like this I’m ruining the court? You think I ruined the court by tossing the racket two metres behind the baseline? Be honest! Come on!” The umpire isn’t going to change his mind. Djokovic is seething. He makes a magnificent pantomime villain. He should grow a twirly moustache and tie fair maidens to rail tracks and buy a dog called Mutley and plan various nefarious schemes. 2.06pm BST Kei Nishikori swings his first ace of the match down the middle to wipe out another Novak Djokovic break point. Then he benefits from a lucky net cord. He holds to lead 2-1 in the second set on Centre Court. 2.05pm BST Roger Federer’s wobbling a bit. He must still be getting used to his surroundings on Court 1 and he’s relieved to see Kevin Anderson ram a forehand into the net on break point. From there, Federer holds for 3-3. 2.01pm BST Kei Nishikori saves a break point and keeps Novak Djokovic at bay at the start of the second set on Centre Court. Kevin Anderson also saves a couple of break points on Court 1. He doesn’t save a third, though. Roger Federer breaks back and they’re back on serve in the second set. Nice while it lasted. 1.50pm BST I’m just popping outside to check if the sky’s falling in. Roger Federer has just been broken. This is not a drill. Roger Federer has just been broken. Kevin Anderson carves out a couple of break points and takes the first with a flat backhand into the corner for a 2-0 lead at the start of the second set on Court 1. 1.47pm BST While Federer was wrapping up the first set on Court 1, Djokovic broke to lead 5-3 on Centre Court. It’s not long before he has two set points. Nishikori saves the first with a crushing forehand return. Djokovic chucks the second away with an errant forehand. That was a little lazy from the 12th seed. He makes up for it with an ace that brings up a third set point. This time he’s ruthless. 1.42pm BST First-set stats: Roger Federer won 92% of his first serves and all of his second serves. He got 74% of returns back in play. He hit 10 winners and three unforced errors. 1.40pm BST Federer skips into a 40-0 lead. Three set points. Anderson knocks a low return over the net. Federer glides forward and conjures a dainty half-volley. The skill! The skill! This isn’t fair. Anderson stoops down in vain, but what can he do? 1.39pm BST Kevin Anderson looks like he’s been asked to play while balancing a bowl of fruit on his head. He’s all over the place. Poor guy. It’s like he’s turned up for an exam, only to find out that the questions are written in a language he doesn’t understand. Roger Federer is playing indecipherable tennis and there’s nothing Anderson can do about it. Federer earns another break point and Anderson drifts a backhand slice long. This might not last long. Federer leads 5-2. 1.34pm BST Roger Federer is racing through his service games in the manner of a man who wants to have the St George’s face paint on well before 7pm. Kevin Anderson isn’t laying a finger on him. 1.32pm BST A great response from Kei Nishikori! He responds to being broken by Novak Djokovic by hauling himself back on level terms straight away. This could be a hugely entertaining match. Over on Court 1, meanwhile, Kevin Anderson has come through two difficult service games. But Roger Federer, who appears to be on one today, still leads by a break after the first five games. 1.24pm BST On Centre Court, the first three games go with serve. They’re uneventful enough. Serving at 1-2, however, Kei Nishikori finds himself under pressure at 0-30. At 15-30, they treat the crowd to a stunning exchange of drop shots, dinks, defensive slices and, in the end, a forehand down the line that earns Novak Djokovic two break points. Nishikori saves the first. Djokovic is undeterred. A deep forehand from Djokovic spurts up off the baseline and Nishikori can’t react in time. Djokovic breaks to lead 3-1. 1.17pm BST Roger Federer just backpedalled and hit a sliced forehand drop shot. He is something else. He’s already tormenting poor Kevin Anderson and holds to lead 2-0. 1.15pm BST Play begins. And on Court 1, Roger Federer seizes three break points on Kevin Anderson’s serve straight away. Anderson saves the first, but then he pulls a backhand wide and Federer moves in front immediately. 1.07pm BST The players are out on Centre Court and Court 1. Tok! Tok! Tokity tok! Play will begin shortly. 1.06pm BST Andy Murray will be commentating on Rafael Nadal versus Juan Martin del Potro for the BBC. He’s yet to agree a deal to provide game-by-game coverage on the US Open for the Guardian. 1.02pm BST Novak Djokovic has a 13-2 winning record over Kei Nishikori. He’s had 12 straight wins over the 24th seed since losing their US Open semi-final in 2014. 12.48pm BST Fine. 12.48pm BST Pre-match reading Related: Novak Djokovic back on Centre Court as Roger Federer is pushed out to No 1 12.47pm BST This is the first time since 2011 that Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have all reached the last eight here. That’s mainly down to Nadal’s resurgence on grass. Since losing to Djokovic in the 2011 final the Spaniard has suffered defeats in the first round (2013), the second round (2012 and 2015), the fourth round (2014 and 2017) and had a non-appearance (2016). 12.11pm BST Hello. Nice of Roger Federer to let Novak Djokovic have a hit on his court this afternoon. Very generous. Most magnanimous. It’s a mark of the tennis king’s charitable spirt that he’s stepped aside and let one of the commoners live like a royal for a few hours. Just leave everything as you found it, Novak, there’s a good chap. Otherwise Federer might need to have a word with the schedulers about having you on again next year.Not really! Relax, Novak, and bask in the knowledge that Federer probably isn’t too happy about being shunted off Centre Court today. It’s the first time it’s happened for three years and while it was the right call by the All England Club, it was still quite surprising when the order of play arrived yesterday. Federer off Centre Court? What an insult! Don’t they know who he is? Haven’t they seen his range of cardigans? Next they’ll be acknowledging that there’s a football tournament taking place in Russia at the moment. Continue reading...

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