Now the 32-year-old South African moves on to face number nine John Isner of the U.S. on Friday.
Federer refused to blame the defeat on the fact he was playing on the unfamiliar surroundings of Court One for the first time in three years. "I nearly could have". It was the first time he played a fourth set at Wimbledon since 2016 against Milos Raonic.
Eight-time champion Roger Federer was sensationally knocked out of Wimbledon on Wednesday (Jul 11), surrendering a two-sets lead and a match point at the hands of South African giant Kevin Anderson.
Nadal will next face Serbian star Novak Djokovic, who didn't quite have the same crowd admiration throughout his win over Kei Nishikori after appearing to lose his cool toward the chair umpire.
The 32-year-old, who reached last year's US Open final, will face big-serving American John Isner in the semis.
Summoning wonderful mental strength, he broke Federer in the seventh game of the fourth set, using his brute power to rattle the No 1 seed and then galloped to a 6-4 fourth-set triumph.
Federer's match point arrived when Anderson served at 4-5 in the third but, with the South African looming at the net, he made a hash of an attempted backhand pass. They might as well have engraved his name right then. But with his booming serve, swift winners, and self-belief he managed to break and beat Federer.
The comeback was just beginning.
"I'm sorry for him, of course", said Nadal. Anderson saved match point in the third set and went on to win in 4 hours and 14 minutes, booking his place in the semifinals in the process. But there was more. Federer broke Anderson's serve three times, but never did so after the second set.
As the match progressed, Anderson's serve, a formidable weapon, began finding the corners, helping to pull himself out of trouble when needed. "I kept on telling myself, keep believing, today is my day".
But Anderson is not letting his thoughts run away, drawing on his experience of reaching the final of last year's US Open.
Deploying his huge serve to lethal effect, Anderson roared back to leave the champion's title bid in tatters thanks to a barrage of 28 aces and 65 winners.
On a surface that rewards the big servers, Anderson's weapon was lethal.
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His current ATP singles ranking is No. 7 and the last time a player from the Rainbow Nation was inside top-10 was 21 years back - Wayne Ferreira (No. 10) on 5 May 1997.
"But I changed that phrase and said, "What's happened in the past is in the past".
Later, Ramos warned Djokovic for a time violation, but that didn't seem to faze the Serb.
Soon enough, Djokovic was on his way to the semi-finals, where he will meet Rafael Nadal. "I have been building over the last couple of weeks, and the level of tennis I have played in the last couple of months felt like it was getting better and better and I feel like I am peaking at the right moment".
"I think the first warning was unnecessary", said Djokovic, who was sanctioned in the second set for spearing his racquet into the court. "I don't want to stop here. I think I had my chances, so it's disappointing".