Roger Federer’s Wimbledon five-set trials and tribulations
Roger Federer’s shock defeat to Kevin Anderson instantly became one of the most remarkable comebacks in recent Wimbledon history.
After taking a two set lead, many people expected Federer to close out a victory that had been expected from the beginning.
This only served to make Anderson’s fightback all the more impressive as he won two narrow sets 7-5 and 6-4 before slogging it out to claim the win 13-11 in the fifth and final set.
You might not expect someone with Federer’s physique to be used to going the distance. He doesn’t appear to be the most athletic player on Tour and often wins through superior technique.
But there have been four matches in the last 11 years in the quarter-final stage or later in the men’s draw at Wimbledon that saw a player recover from two sets down to win.
Three of those matches involved Federer and only one saw him come out on top.
Back in 2011, Federer found himself in the same situation as his latest defeat.
Leading by two sets against number 12 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, it seemed like an inevitable victory before a scintillating comeback from the Frenchman ended 3-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.
In 2016, again in the quarter-finals, the Swiss had to overturn a 7-6, 6-4 deficit against Marin Cilic, taking the last three sets 6-3, 7-6, 6-3. Not that meant much after his five-set loss to Milos Raonic in the semi-final, although that match was more back-and-forth.
And this year… well, we all know what’s happened.
For the record, the only time in the last decade that a match of this ilk hasn’t involved Federer was in 2013 when Andy Murray defeated Fernando Verdasco 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-5, en route to becoming the first British man to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry 77 years earlier.
Despite widely being considered the greatest tennis player of all-time, it seems two-set comebacks in the final rounds of Wimbledon don’t tend to go Federer’s way.
But in case you’re feeling like we’re being too downbeat on the 20-time Grand Slam champ, here’s a list of players he’s beaten in straight sets of either a quarter-final, semi-final or final at Wimbledon in the same time period since 2008:
Milos Raonic (again)
‘Nice guy’ Dominic Thiem deserves US Open and ‘right behind Rafa’ to win French Open, says Novak Djokovic
Djokovic welcomes US Open winner Thiem to Grand Slam winners club.
‘I’m still not feeling 100% tennis-wise but I enjoyed it,’ says Kei Nishikori after first win in a year
Kei Nishikori gets a win under his belt in Rome.
Rafael Nadal double downs on Novak Djokovic-led PTPA criticism: ‘We should not pursue our own interests’
‘We are going through a world crisis,’ says Nadal.
Andy Murray and Eugenie Bouchard handed French Open wildcards
Murray set for first Roland Garros appearance since 2016.
‘I was in shock and I was shaken by the whole thing,’ says Novak Djokovic about US Open default
Djokovic was disqualified from the US Open.
‘I achieved a life goal,’ says US Open winner Dominic Thiem after lifting his maiden Grand Slam
Dominic Thiem is a Grand Slam champion.
US Open day 14: An exhausted Dominic Thiem, Jordanne Whiley’s home support, 2020 roll of honour
The story of the final day of action at Flushing Meadows.
Alexander Zverev: ‘I do believe that I will be a Grand Slam champion at some point’
Alexander Zverev confident his chance will come.
WATCH: ‘One day we are going to lift that trophy together,’ says Alexander Zverev in emotional US Open speech
Alexander Zverev got emotional after the US Open final.
Epic US Open final gives us a glimpse into into life after the Big Three and it was glorious to behold
Tennis fans get a snapshot of life after Big Three.