In a battle that pits the long-reigning king of Wimbledon against a man making his debut in the quarterfinals at the All England Club, defending champion Roger Federer takes on eighth seed Kevin Anderson. The Swiss star has been untroubled in progressing through to the quarterfinals, but he will know that there are players left in the draw with the quality to hurt him. Anderson, backed by his booming serve, may well be one of them. Who will come out on top?
Federer and Anderson have met four times before and it’s not a head-to-head that makes good reading for the South African, who has lost all four without winning a set. Their first meeting came in Bercy in 2014 where Federer won a second round match 6-4 6-4. He beat him again a year later in Indian Wells in the quarterfinals 7-5 6-1. Anderson then lost twice in 2015, in Rome on the clay 3-6 5-7 and in Cincinnati where he was hammered 1-6 1-6.
Path to the quarterfinals
Federer began his campaign for a ninth Wimbledon title by crushing Dusan Lajovic, with the top seed advancing a 6-1 6-3 6-4 winner. His second round opponent, Lukas Lacko fared little better, falling 4-6 4-6 1-6 to the 20-time Grand Slam champion. Federer then defeated the big-hitting Jan-Lennard Struff, who had won back-to-back matches from two sets down to reach the third round but ran out of steam against Federer, losing 3-6 5-7 2-6. The Swiss then downed Adrian Mannarino 6-0 7-5 6-4.
Anderson’s Wimbledon began with a comfortable 6-4 6-4 6-4 win over Slovakian qualifier Norbert Gombos. He then defeated Italian veteran Andreas Seppi in the second round in four sets, 6-3 6-7 6-3 6-4. Anderson then accounted for 2012 quarterfinalist Philipp Kohlschreiber in straight sets, winning 6-3 7-5 7-5 to reach the fourth round. There he defeated Gael Monfils in an engaging four set match, with the South African triumphing 7-6 7-6 5-7 7-6.
How do they match up?
Both Federer and Anderson will look to play aggressive, first-strike tennis. There are few better equipped to do so. Whilst Federer does not have the most power, is ability to hit accurately both when serving and off the ground, means he does not need the same power as many of his colleagues on the Tour. His serve has been particularly impressive so far at this year’s Championships with the Swiss still yet to be broken and only faced his first break points in the fourth round.
Anderson, at 6’8”, is a formidable physical presence on the court and he has the game to match. His serve is thunderous although it lacks the reliable pinpoint accuracy Federer can command on his own deal. Unlike many of the big men on Tour, Anderson is also a fine baseliner, with a powerful forehand and a solid backhand. But he is not the most mobile of players, and he will have to stay aggressive to stop Federer taking control of too many rallies.
Anderson has impressed in reaching his first Wimbledon quarterfinal, but it is hard to imagine him progressing past Federer. The top seed has looked untouchable so far, and whilst Anderson does constitute a significant step up in quality compared with his previous opponents, it’s nonetheless one Federer looks ready to make. Expect him to master Anderson’s power and cut the big South African down to size in a straight sets win.