Agony & Ecstasy: Federer’s 10 Most Dramatic Wimbledon Five Setters
Five-set thrillers are as much a part of Roger Federer's Wimbledon folklore as his record eight titles. They have delivered some of his greatest moments in the sport, but have also inflicted some of his deepest pain.
Another five-set epic was added to Federer's remarkable collection at SW19 Wednesday when, after failing to convert a match point in the third set, he lost 13-11 in the fifth to Kevin Anderson.
Federer has played 13 five-setters at SW19 (7-6; 30-21 overall). Below is a look at Federer's most dramatic five-setters he has played at Wimbledon in his 20 consecutive appearances:
10. 2016 Semi-final, Raonic d. Federer 6-3, 6-7(3), 4-6, 7-5, 6-3
After Federer saved three match points against Marin Cilic in the quarter-finals, the Swiss great had an aura of destiny around him at SW19. This was his time, again, or so it seemed. But Milos Raonic had the same feeling, and the Canadian showed his best grass-court tennis for the biggest win of his career.
9. 2012 Third Round, Federer d. Benneteau 4-6, 6-7(3), 6-2, 7-6(6), 6-1
For two sets, Federer seemed destined to head the way that Rafael Nadal had gone one day earlier: home. The Spaniard had fallen to Czech Lukas Rosol, and the upset bug seemed like it was spreading, quickly. But Federer recovered in time against Julien Benneteau and would go on to beat Andy Murray in the final for his first Grand Slam title since the 2010 Australian Open. The Grand Slam triumph was Federer's only one from 2010 Roland Garros through the 2016 US Open, a stretch of 27 Grand Slams.
8. 2014 Final, Djokovic d. Federer 6-7(7), 6-4, 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-4
Novak Djokovic had come too far for it happen again, hadn't he? The Serbian had lost five of his past six Grand Slam finals before meeting Federer in the 2014 final. Djokovic led Federer, who hadn't won a Grand Slam title in two years, two sets to one and had a match point in the ninth game of the fourth set. But Federer saved it with an ace and gave his fans hope by finishing off the fourth set. Djokovic, however, rallied for his second Wimbledon title.
7. 2011 Quarter-final, Tsonga d. Federer 3-6, 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-4, 6-4
Before facing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the 2011 quarter-final, Federer had been 178-0 after winning the first two sets of a Grand Slam match. Then he played the red-hot and big-hitting Frenchman, who broke in each of the final three sets to stun the Swiss. It marked the second consecutive Wimbledon in which Federer was knocked out in the quarter-finals.
6. 2007 Final, Federer d. Nadal 7-6(7), 4-6, 7-6(3), 2-6, 6-2
Federer, the reigning four-time champion, was ready to continue his attack on history. Yet here was Rafael Nadal once more making the Swiss aware of his presence on all surfaces. The Swiss would hold off the Spaniard for now, but it wouldn't be long before Nadal would be hoisting the Gentlemen's Singles Trophy for the first time.
5. 2016 Quarter-final, Federer d. Cilic 6-7(4), 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(9), 6-3
This was Cilic's turn to extend Federer's dry spell at Grand Slams. The Croatian was blasting aces and forehands past Federer. But the seven-time champion roared back, saving three match points for one of his greatest escape acts yet. His 18th Grand Slam title had to wait, however, as he fell in the semi-finals to Raonic.
4. 2018 Quarter-final, Anderson d. Federer 2-6, 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-4, 13-11
After Federer went up two sets to zero against Anderson, his 13th Wimbledon quarter-final looked like a lock, and that was especially the case after the 36-year-old Swiss saw a match point in the ninth game of the third set. But Anderson, who reached his maiden Grand Slam final last year at the US Open, outplayed Federer and took the quarter-final from the eight-time champion to advance to his first Wimbledon semi-final.
3. 2009 Final, Federer d. Roddick 5-7, 7-6(6), 7-6(5), 3-6, 16-14
Just one year on from his 9-7 fifth-set loss to Nadal in the 2008 Wimbledon final, Federer found himself locked in another Wimbledon final for the ages against Andy Roddick. The Swiss was forced to fire a career-high 50 aces to hold out the American 16-14 in the fifth to claim his sixth Wimbledon crown.
2. 2001 Fourth Round, Federer d. Sampras 7-6(7), 5-7, 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-4
Pete Sampras was the King of Wimbledon. The American had won seven of the past eight SW19 titles (1993-95, '97-2000), and looked well on his way to an eighth celebration. But Federer, then an up-and-coming youngster, prevailed past Sampras in a match that dripped with symbolism. The two never played again, and Sampras played his last match one year later, at the 2002 US Open, winning his 14th Grand Slam title.
1. 2008 Final, Nadal d. Federer 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-7(8), 9-7
“The Greatest Match Ever Played,” as it's now commonly known, had as many twists and turns as a best-selling Dan Brown novel, with Nadal, who had lost the 2006 and 2007 final to Federer, taking a two-sets lead and appearing close to a straight-sets dethroning of Federer, who was going for his sixth consecutive Wimbledon title. The Spaniard eventually celebrated his maiden Wimbledon crown, but only after rain delayed the match, light faded and 16 games were played in the memorable fifth set.