Victory in Sunday’s Wimbledon final was a bridge too far for Kevin Anderson, but he is nonetheless proud of his achievement at SW19.
In the week leading up to the final, Anderson spent an incredible 13 hours and some change on court, largely due to his fifth set heroics against Roger Federer in the quarters and John Isner in the final four.
His semi-final victory earned him a place in the history books, as Anderson became the first South African in 97 years to reach the Wimbledon final. There, he met a rejuvenated and much fresher Novak Djokovic, who triumphed in straight sets.
When you turn back the clock to 2016, this outcome seemed even more unlikely given a plethora of injuries that kept Anderson off the court and his world ranking slipped to 80 as he started the 2017 season.
“It was about two-and-a-half years ago, just in the team and in the chat on WhatsApp called ‘Top-five Kev’...that was the goal,” revealed the Johannesburg native.
"I got to the top ten that year and things were looking good, then obviously I had a major setback and injuries in 2016.
“So seeing that I made top five, I'm incredibly proud of that achievement, especially if I look back where I was just 15 months ago, around 80. It's really something I can be very proud of.
“Even though today is not the result I was looking for, I think in the next few days, just seeing my new career-high ranking is going to mean a lot to me. I think looking back at some of the matches I've played here, especially my quarter-final and semi-final match, I think it will really sort of set in what I've accomplished. I can be happy with that and use it for continued motivation moving forward.”
While not a prolific winner on the ATP circuit - he has just four titles to his name - Anderson is proving his big match temperament in the grand slams, having also reached the US Open final last year where he lost to an indomitable Nadal.
“I definitely believe I have the game to win these tournaments,” continued Anderson, who fired an incredible 182 aces at Wimbledon.
“If you asked a lot of players [about] their dreams, it's to win Grand Slams, win Masters, even though it was a huge goal of mine, if you asked me this time a year ago, I don't think I could sit here and say I really believed that I could win a Grand Slam and a Masters and say it with the same self-belief and confidence that I can now.”
A rejuvenated Novak Djokovic eased to his 13th grand slam title following his straight set win over Kevin Anderson at Wimbledon on Sunday.
The Serb cut the more experienced figure as he remained composed to earn a 6-2, 6-2, 7-6(3) win over Anderson, who had spent over 13 hours on court just this week before a ball had been served in the final.
Djokovic’s return game was superb, blunting the South Africans usually powerful service game and restricting him to just ten aces for the match.
It was an inauspicious start for the big serving Anderson, who lost his opening and third service games and to find himself 4-1 behind in no time as Djokovic steamrolled the first set in 27 minutes.
Things didn’t get much better in the second, as a couple double faults were part of 14 unforced errors from Anderson, while Djokovic saved one breakpoint as he took a two set lead.
Things finally started to click for Anderson in the third as he held strong service games helped by aces. At the back end of the set, nerves lead to double fault faults from Djokovic, handing Anderson two set points, which he managed to save.
Anderson’s return game began to pick up, sensing the nerves from a tight Djokovic. This resulted in more opportunities for Anderson, but he was unable to convert any of the three set points as Djokovic was superb in the big moments serving up a couple clutch aces to force a tiebreaker.
Despite Anderson’s boundless energy, he was unable to translate that onto the court in the tieabreaker as Djokovic ran away with it, finally able to celebrate a fourth Wimbledon title.
Djokovic’s victory caps off a tumultuous two years for the former world number one, where he underwent surgery, had his personal life put under the public scrutiny and slumped to 22nd in the world rankings.
German 11th seed Angelique Kerber defeated Serena Williams to win her first Wimbledon singles title and third grand slam on a packed Centre Court on Saturday.
Kerber dominated the match winning in just over an hour, winning 6-3,6-3 in emphatic fashion against the seven-time champion.
The 30-year-old German started the match off in perfect fashion by claiming her 36-year-old opponents serve, then holding to lead 2-0.
And despite Williams breaking back in the fourth game, Kerber claimed to more breaks in the seventh and ninth games to win the opening set 6-3.
In the next set, Kerber began by holding serve and in the sixth game claimed William's serve to lead 4-2, before going on to win the set and match 6-3.
In the courtside interview with Sue Barker afterwards, Serena said: "It was such an amazing tournament for me," says Williams, her voice breaking. "I was really happy to get this far. It's obviously disappointing but I can't be disappointed. I'm literally just getting started.
Barker tells Williams she's a "superhero supermum", to which she replied: "For all the mums out there, I was playing for you today, I tried. Angelique played out of her mind. She's an incredible person and a really good friend so I'm really happy for her."
In her interview, Kerber praised her opponent, saying: "First I have to say, Serena, you're a great person and a champion. Coming back, you're such an inspiration for everyone. I'm sure you will have your next grand slam title soon, so congrats for coming back.
"I knew I had to play my best tennis against Serena. It's my second chance [in the final]. I'm the next German after Steffi to win, it's amazing."
Serbia's Novak Djokovic, seeded 12th, defeated World No.1 Rafa Nadal in a five-set thriller on Saturday to reach the Wimbledon final against South African Kevin Anderson.
In a match, which was stopped on Friday night, Djokovic leading two sets to one, due to the 23h00 time curfew after the Anderson v John Isner semi-final took over six hour to complete. The 31-year-old Djokovic somehow managed to get past Nadal 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(9), 3-6, 10-8 in a match lasting over five hours and 15 minutes.
In Friday's opening set, Djokovic's serve proved crucial after not faced any break points and earning the crucial break on Nadal's serve in the seventh game with a forehand winner to claim the set 6-4.
The world number one came roaring back and broke Djokovic's serve in the fourth game, as the Serb sent a forehand into the net.
Djokovic immediately broke back, but then Nadal regained the advantage in the following game with a forehand winner. The Serb had two more break points to level proceedings again when Nadal was serving for the set, but could not convert them and the Spaniard made it 1-1, winning the set 6-3.
The third was a tight battle, that needed to be decided by a tiebreaker after neither lost serve. Nadal failed to convert three set points in the tiebreaker, sending a backhand into the net to give Djokovic the breaker 11-9 and a 2-1 lead.
The match was then stopped due to the 23h00 curfew and the players left the court.
Upon resumption of the match on Saturday, Nadal broke Djokovic in the second game to lead 2-0 but dropped his own serve in the fifth game.
He then claimed Djokovic's serve for the second time in the set to lead 5-3.
The Serb tightened things up and Nadal offered up a double fault to help Djokovic towards a potential break but then, at 0-40, the Spaniard sprung back into life to take the game to deuce.
Drop shots and volleys were the order of the game as Nadal claimed the set 6-3, with an ace, to force a fifth set.
The deciding set was a classic with neither players serve being broken until the Djokovic held to lead 9-8.
And then he claimed Nadal's serve for the win in just over five hours and 15 minutes.
After the stunning result Djokovic said: "I mean, it is hard to pick the words, I am just going through things, flashbacks to the last 14 months and everything I’ve done to get here, to the final against one of the best players in the world, one of the longest matches of my career. I am overwhelmed."
John Isner and Kevin Anderson have called for fifth set tie breaks at the Grand Slams after their marathon Wimbledon semi-final.
Anderson prevailed in the longest semi-final in Grand Slam history on Friday after eventually winning 7-6 6-7 6-7 6-4 26-24 in an encounter that stretched on for six hours and 36 minutes.
The final set lasted for almost three hours and delayed the second semi-final between Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic for so long that they were unable to complete their match.
Afterwards, the two exhausted players made it clear that there should be a cut-off point in the fifth set deciders, where the match is decided by a tie break.
"I hope this is a sign for Grand Slams to change. For us to be out there for that length of time. I really hope we can look at this, because at the end you don't feel great," said Anderson.
"Just playing like that in those conditions was tough on both of us. If I was on the opposite (losing) side I don't know how you take it."
Isner holds the record for the longest ever Grand Slam singles match after his 2010 first round Wimbledon encounter with Nicolas Mahut lasted 11 hours over the course of three days.
"I agree with Kevin. I personally think a sensible option would be 12-All," said Isner.
"If one person can't finish the other off before 12-All, then do a tiebreaker. I think it's long overdue."
Angelique Kerber says she’s “proud” to be facing Serena Williams in a rerun of the 2016 Wimbledon final after a miserable 2017.
While Williams’ chance to lift the women’s trophy less than a year after the birth of her daughter has understandably captured the imagination ahead of Saturday’s final, Kerber has also enjoyed a notable comeback.
The German became world number one in 2016 after winning both the Australian Open and US Open, while finishing runner-up to Williams at Wimbledon.
But she suffered first round defeats at the US Open and Roland Garros last year and dropped out of the world’s top 20 for the first time since 2012.
Kerber has regained her form this year though after reaching the semi-finals in Australia and now the Wimbledon final.
“I’m really proud to being back in the Wimbledon final after especially last year where things weren’t like I was expecting,” said Kerber.
“To be here again, that was a goal of mine when I started this year, to play good in majors, in the Grand Slams, and to reach the finals again. There’s still one more match to go. But it’s a great feeling.
“Serena is a champion for sure, one of the best players in the world. I mean, we had so many great matches in the last years.
“To see her back, it’s great. She is always pushing you to the limits to play your best tennis. This is the only chance to beat her.”
Novak Djokovic will take a 2-1 lead into the finale of his Wimbledon semi-final with Rafa Nadal after play was suspended until Saturday.
After the first semi-final between Kevin Anderson and John Isner lasted for more than six hours, Nadal and Djokovic had to wait until after 8pm local time to go onto the court.
There wasn’t sufficient time for the duo to finish their encounter before the 11pm curfew, with Djokovic holding a 6-4 3-6 7-6 (11-9) advantage heading into the fourth set when the match resumes on Saturday.
Djokovic’s serve proved crucial in taking the opening set after he avoided facing any break points and earned the crucial break on Nadal’s serve in the seventh game with a forehand winner.
However, the world number one came roaring back in the second set and broke Djokovic’s serve in the fourth game, as the Serb sent a forehand into the net.
Djokovic immediately broke back, but then Nadal regained the advantage in the following game with a forehand winner.
There were two break points for Djokovic to level proceedings again when Nadal was serving for the set, but he failed to convert them and the Spaniard made it 1-1.
The third set went on serve and after Nadal failed to convert three set points in the tie break, he sent a backhand into the net to give Djokovic a potentially decisive lead.
Eighth-seeded Kevin Anderson reached the Wimbledon final after winning the longest semi-final in the history of the event when beating John Isner on Friday.
In a match lasting six hours and 41 minutes, the 32-year old South African somehow got past his 31-year-old opponent, in the longest match on Centre Court and the second longest grand slam match of all time, 7-6(6), 6-7(5), 6-7(9), 6-4, 26-24.
Anderson will next face the winner of the Rafa Nadal vs. Novak Djokovic in Sunday's final.
This was a match with two of the biggest servers in the game and neither disappointed in the aces department with 102 served, 49 by Anderson and 53 by the American eighth seed.
In the latter stages of the fifth set, Anderson did look physically the stronger of the two and will hopefully have enough time to recover from this bruising battle, for the final on Sunday.
In the first set, as expected, there were no breaks of serve but Anderson did well to save three breaks points in the third game. With the score tied at 6-6, a tiebreaker was needed to separate the two players, which Anderson went on to win 8-6.
The next set proved to be similar to the opener with no breaks of serve and needed another tiebreaker to separate the two, which Isner won 7-5 to tie things up at a set apiece.
Things proceeded with Anderson serving first in the third set, then with the South African leading 4-3, Isner's serve was broken for the first time at Wimbledon after 110 consecutive service holds, for Anderson to lead 5-3.
With Anderson serving for the set the American somehow broke right back then held serve to make it 5-5. The set needed to be decided by another tiebreaker, which Isner won 11-9 to lead by two sets to one.
In the fourth set things went with serve until the fifth game, where Isner broke, but Anderson claimed his serve the very next game to make it 3-3.
Anderson upped the ante and broke serve in the ninth game to lead 5-4 and then tied the match up by holding serve to win it 6-4.
The fifth and deciding set, which was a titanic battle, saw various records tumble, including, longest Wimbledon semi-final and the longest match in the history of Centre Court.
With the set tied at 24-24 Anderson somehow managed to break Isner's serve to lead 25-24 and then held to win the astonishing final set 26-24 and a place in his first Wimbledon final.
After the match, Anderson said: "I don't really know what to say right now. It's really tough on both of us. At the end, I feel like it's a draw between the two of us but someone has to win. John's such a great guy.
"I apologise if I'm not more excited right now but I've got so many mixed emotions. All I can say is congratulations to John on such a great tournament. Hopefully, he can come back stronger.
I really hope this a sign for grand slams to change this format. For us to be out there for that amount of time, I really hope we can address this.
"But at the same time, I’m through to the final. I’m definitely going to have to recover as much as I can. It'll take a long time to process what’s happened today but I'm into the final and that’s a dream come true."
Serena Williams admits she’s been surprised by her march to the Wimbledon final after only playing four tournaments since returning to the court.
Williams will bid for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title when she faces Angelique Kerber in Saturday’s final after crushing Germany's Julia Gorges 6-2 6-4 in Thursday’s semi-final.
If the American can lift the title at the All England Club, it would represent a remarkable comeback after the birth of her daughter last September.
Williams had to overcome medical complications both during and after the birth, with her competitive return to tennis only coming in March.
"It's no secret I had a super tough delivery. I lost count after, like, four surgeries because I was in so many surgeries. There was a time I could barely walk to my mailbox,” said Williams.
"It's like, come on guys, this is pretty awesome. To hear people say, 'Oh, she's a favourite' - the last 16 months, I've played four tournaments, and was carrying another human half that time. It's interesting.
"Again, I've said it all week, this is only my fourth tournament back.
"[But] Every time I go out there, I want to I guess take a giant step forward, keep taking giant steps, but keep improving."
John Isner is determined to be famous for more than his involvement in the longest match in tennis history.
Isner will make his Grand Slam semi-final debut on Friday when he faces Kevin Anderson at the All England Club after victory over Milos Raonic in the quarter-finals.
The American went down in Wimbledon folklore eight years ago when his 70-68 fifth set victory over Nicolas Mahut saw him win a match that lasted 11 hours and five minutes.
But Isner hopes his current form will see him known for more than just a quirk of the record books.
“Of course, everyone is going to remember that match in 2010, and rightfully so. I like to think that, since that match, I’ve done a lot of good stuff on the court performance-wise,” said Isner.
“But for a lot of people, that’s definitely the lasting image of my career.
“If I can keep going further here, I can maybe squash that.
“Certainly the grand slam results haven’t been there. But now I’m sort of rectifying that, I think.”
The indomitable Serena Williams advanced to the Wimbledon 2018 final following her victory over Julia Goerges on Thursday.
The former world number one needed just 70 minutes to dismantle the German 6-2, 6-4 on Centre Court at the All England Club.
Williams played a tight game with just 16 winners to seven unforced errors but as is so often the case, she was better in the big moments, winning four out of five breakpoint opportunities.
After surviving a tough test in the quarters against Camila Giorgi, Williams appeared on form from the first serve and enjoyed a fast start, racing to a 4-2 lead. The break took much of the fight from Goerges, who won just one of the next seven points as Williams broke again to secure the set.
Williams physicality was once again on show at SW19, as she was imperious on serve in the second set. The seven-time champion lost just one point in her first four service games while breaking the world number 13 to go 5-2 up.
Goerges showed some of the talent that has lead her to her best grand slam performance, breaking back as Williams was serving for the match. However, the fightback was cut short as Williams broke to love to seal the set and the match, cuing a broad smile from the 23-time grand slam winner.
The victory earns the 36-year-old a date with Angelique Kerber for Saturday’s final. The German eased past the talented Jelena Ostapenko earlier in the day to reach her second Wimbledon final.
The pair last met at that final in 2016, where Williams was a straight set victor, earning revenge for her loss at the Australian Open earlier in the year.
The 11th-seeded Angelique Kerber cruised past Latvian Jeļena Ostapenko in straight sets on Thursday to reach the Wimbledon final.
The German was in control for most of the match on Centre Court as she defeated the 12th-seeded Ostapenko 6-3, 6-3 in just over an hour.
Kerber will next face the winner of the Serena Williams vs. Camila Giorgi match in Saturday's final.
The match was won easier than expected by Kerber thanks to lots of unforced errors off the ground-strokes by the 21-year-old Latvian.
Things went with serve until the seventh game of the opening set when Kerber broke and again two games later, to win the set 6-3.
The 30-year-old German then seemed to run away with the second set to lead 5-1 at one stage.
And although Ostapenko mounted a comeback, with a break and then holding serve, Kerber was not to be denied and held, saving a break point, to win the set and match 6-3 and a spot in the final.
World number one Rafael Nadal says he will have to be at his very best when he faces Novak Djokovic in Friday's much-anticipated Wimbledon semi-final.
In yesterday's quarter-final match-ups, both players had very different matches. Djokovic won a routine four-setter against Japan's Kei Nishikori in two hours and 38 minutes, while Nadal battled for just under five hours to somehow get past Juan Martin del Potro in a five-set thriller.
Nadal and Djokovic have faced each other 51 times in total with the Serbian shading it with 26 wins but the Spaniard has won their last two meetings.
When asked about how he felt about facing Djokovic, the 32-year-old Nadal acknowledged that it was always a big challenge to face his 31-year-old opponent.
"There is no other match in the history of tennis that has been played more than our matches," said Nadal. "That's a big thing. We always played in important stages, important places.
"Friday is another important match against an opponent who is one of the most difficult ones that you can face. He's playing well. The only way to try to win it is to play very well.
"It is always a big challenge to face Novak. He is one of the more complex players that I have ever seen in our sport, it is always a big test. You know that you can't win against him if you don't play very well.
"But my goal is to try to play very well. I know in the semi-finals of Wimbledon you will not have an easy opponent. You have to accept that if you want to win important things. Of course, you will face the best players. You need to be ready for it."
The other man's semi-final sees a battle between the South African Kevin Anderson and American John Isner who beat top-seeded Roger Federer and Canadian Milos Raonic respectively.
Second-seeded Rafa Nadal won a very tight five-setter against Juan Martin Del Potro to set up a mouth-watering Wimbledon semi-final with Novak Djokovic.
Nadal fought back, from two sets to one down, to somehow defeat fifth seed Del Potro, who served 33 aces, 7-5, 6-7(7), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in four hours and 52 minutes — the longest match of this year's tournament.
Del Potro finished with 77 winners to Nadal's 67 but could not convert any of his five break points in the fifth set.
Nadal got the first set, which consisted of long, close rallies, thanks to the only break in the 12th game to claim the opener 7-5.
In the next set, Del Potro broke and served for the set at 5-4, but double-faulted and Nadal clinched the break-back with a forehand winner down the line for the second set to be decided by a tiebreaker.
Del Potro, saved four set points and grabbed one of his own on Nadal's serve and levelled at a set apiece, winning the breaker 9-7.
After two-and-a-half hours, Nadal and Del Potro were still a set-all and three-all. There were no service breaks until the tenth game where Del Porto beat Nadal with a forehand winner to get the service break and set, 6-4.
Nadal caught Del Potro napping in the fifth game of the fourth set, breaking him to love to lead 3-2.
The Spaniard held for 5-3, and a bit later a forehand winner gave him the set 6-4 to force a decider.
The deciding fifth set was a tight battle, but in the fifth game, Nadal got the solitary break to lead 3-2.
Del Potro let two break-back points slip in the sixth game and then forced Nadal to save three more breaks for 5-3.
Then Del Porto managed to hold serve to love, forcing Nadal to serve out the match, which he did, winning it 6-4 to reach his sixth semi-final.
Ninth-seeded John Isner came from a set down to beat thirteenth seed Milos Raonic on Wednesday to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals.
In a match of 'the big-servers', the American defeated his Canadian opponent 6-7(5), 7-6(7), 6-4, 6-3 in two hours and 37 minutes.
His semi-final opponent is South African Kevin Anderson, who defeated Reger Federer earlier in the day.
In a match where 56 aces were served (Raonic 31 and Isner 25 aces), Isner looked the better of the two players in the latter stages and seemed to be more likely to win after dropping the opening set tiebreaker.
In the second set, there were once again no breaks of serve and a tiebreaker was needed to end the deadlock, which Isner won 9-7 to even things up at a set apiece.
Things proceeded on serve in the third set, until the fifth game, where Isner got the first break of the match to go on and win it 6-4.
Isner looked completely in charge of the match from then onwards, and claimed Raonic's serve in the fifth and ninth games to win the set and match 6-3 and a berth in the semi-finals.
South African Kevin Anderson came from two sets and a match point down to beat top-seeded Roger Federer in a five-set thriller on Wednesday to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals.
The eighth-seeded Anderson needed four hours and 17 minutes to battle past the eight-time Wimbledon champion 2-6, 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-4, 13-11 on Court 1 and will face the winner of the John Isner vs. Milos Raonic encounter in the semi-finals.
The 36-year-old Federer started the match off perfectly with a service break in the opening game and another in the seventh game to claim the set 6-2.
The second set was a closer affair, and after a service break apiece, the set had to be decided by a tiebreaker, which the 20-time grand slam winner won 7-5, to look in complete control of proceedings at two sets up.
Federer did start hitting loose shots, making mistakes on his forehand side but seemed to still be dictating proceedings.
With things on serve and Federer leading 5-4, Anderson survived a match point to hold serve for 5-5 then broke immediately and served out the set, winning it 7-5.
The bi-serving, 32-year-old old Anderson seemed undaunted by the pressure of the occasion and went on to win the fourth set 6-4, thanks to a solitary break in the seventh game, to tie things up and force a fifth deciding set.
The Swiss superstar started off proceedings and held serve as did Anderson a game later. As the set proceeded Federer looked to be in the driving seat by serving first as the South African was forced to play catchup as the set went on.
With the score tied at 11-11, Federer serving, Anderson pounced to force a break and then held serve to win the thrilling match 13-11, in what was his first ever victory against the Swiss superstar, having never won a set in their four previous meetings.
Three-time champion Novak Djokovic was a four-set winner against Japan's Kei Nishikori on Wednesday to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals.
In a match lasting two hours and 38 minutes, Djokovic beat Nishikori 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 and will next meet the winner of the match later today between second-seeded Rafa Nadal and fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro.
In the opening set, 12th-seeded Djokovic broke his opponents serve twice, in the third and eighth games, to claim the opener 6-3.
The 24th seed Nishikori bounced back to claim the second set 6-3 thanks to a solitary break in the fourth game to tie the match up at a set apiece.
But that's where Nishikori's challenge started to falter as Djokovic upped his game in the third set, after coming back from 0-40 down to hold serve and take a 3-2 lead, then broke the Japanese to take a 4-2 lead.
The Serb then held serve and seemed to move into overdrive, breaking Nishikori for the second game running to take the third set 6-2.
In the opening two games of the next set both players dropped serve, Djokovic then held to lead 2-1 and proceeded to claim Nishikori's serve immediately after failing to lift his sliced shot over the net to trail 3-1.
The 12-time grand slam winner went on to wrap up the set and match 6-2 and a spot in the semi-finals.
Fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals with a four sets victory against Frenchman Gilles Simon on Tuesday.
The Argentine needed four hours and 31 minutes on Court 2 to see off Simon 7-6(1), 7-6(5), 5-7, 7-6(5) on Tuesday in a match that was suspended on Monday due to darkness with the Argentine star two sets to one ahead.
Del Potro will next be up against second seed Rafa Nadal in the quarterfinals.
In a very tight and close match, the Frenchman was undone by unnecessary errors at times and the aggression and power of Del Potro's serve and groundstrokes.
The first set went with serve until the set had to be decided by a tiebreaker which the Argentine dominated 7-1 to go a set up.
In set number two, things proceeded until Simon claimed his opponents serve in the seventh game to lead 4-3 but was immediately broken back, and the set needing to be decided via another tiebreaker which Del Potro won 7-5 to go two sets up.
The Frenchman made a concerted effort in the next set to change things and was rewarded with breaks of serve in the seventh and 12th games to win the set 7-5 before bad light ended the days play.
Tuesday's fourth set had four service breaks and needed to be decided by yet another tiebreaker, which Del Porto won 7-5 to set up a match-up with Nadal first up on Wednesday.
Wimbledon men's singles quarterfinal line-up:
Roger Federer (SUI x1) v Kevin Anderson (RSA x8)
John Isner (USA x9) v Milos Raonic (CAN x13)
Novak Djokovic (SRB x12) v Kei Nishikori (JPN x24)
Juan Martín Del Potro (ARG x5) v Rafael Nadal (ESP x2)
The lesser known Evgeniya Rodina takes on the indomitable Serena Williams at Wimbledon on Monday in a unique clash.
The Russian took the long road to SW19, battling through the qualifiers to make the main draw. Rodina then upset tenth seed Madison Keys to earn one of the biggest wins of her career, resulting in her reaching the fourth round of a grand slam for the first time.
But a greater achievement than that memorable victory - her first over a top 20 player - is that fact that she is a proud mother. Now, she faces the only other mother in the draw, Serena Williams.
"There aren't many women on the tour who are mothers, so we communicate with each other, we talk about things, but I haven't spoken to Serena yet,” the 29-year-old told wtatennis.com.
"She's my idol. I also think she's the greatest ever."
Of course, Williams took her own long road to Wimbledon due to her pregnancy, having to apply for protected ranking and rely on officials to allow her special seeding at the event.
Like Williams, Rodina has her child Anna with her at the tournament, which presents a challenge.
"It's tough because she can't sit and watch my matches when she's five years old," continued the world number 120.
"Also, it's hard to find someone to watch her when I play. Sometimes when I play close to home, we leave her with my family. But if we go to a tournament far away, or if I play lots of tournaments, I take her with me because I don't want her to stay at home for a long time without me. When I'm away from her, I call the whole time."
Similarly, Williams has seemed inseparable from baby Olympia, who is a prominent feature in much of her social media. But when the pair enter Centre Court on Monday, it’s business time. Williams has a record equalling 24th grand slam title to chase, while Rodina is just trying to ride the Wimbledon wave as far as she can.
"Of course, people play better against Serena because you have nothing to lose against her," Rodina continued.
"I'll try to stay relaxed even though we will probably play on Centre Court. For me, this will be an exciting moment as I will get to play against her for the first time, and I expect it will be a great match.
"I will see if I raise my level against Serena. It will be difficult of course because she's a great player and a champion, but I just need to play my game and focus on my own tennis."
Kei Nishikori labelled his Wimbledon victory over Nick Kyrgios as his best ever performance on grass after reaching the fourth round.
Nishikori equalled his best ever run at the All England Club after getting the better of Kyrgios 6-1 7-6 7-4.
Kyrgios had entered the tournament in good form and good spirits, but his old demons returned as he was handed a code violation in the second set for blasting the ball out of the court.
Former world number four Nishikori took full advantage, as the Japanese star set up a fourth round encounter against qualifier Ernests Gulbis, who upset fourth seed Alexander Zverev.
"I'm sure that this was my best ever grass match," Nishikori said.
"I returned really well despite barely seeing the ball in the last couple of games."
Kyrgios claimed that he was unable to handle the pressure of the encounter after the Australian was criticised for his attitude on court.
“I was trying to loosen up, I was pretty uptight,” said Kyrgios.
“Obviously getting broken first game didn’t help me. I just kind of panicked. Everything kind of just went south, I guess.
“My footwork was terrible. Just a bad day, I guess.”