Argentina’s Guido Pella pulled off a major upset on Friday, knocking 2018 Wimbledon finalist Kevin Anderson out in the third round in straight sets 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4).
The 29-year-old Argentinian, who will play in the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career, was in control from the outset and a fine performance was summed up in an astonishing point at 5-4 in the tie-break.
The South African’s defeat means that only Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Kei Nishikori remain of the top 10 seeds who started out.
Defending champion Djokovic went level with Boris Becker’s mark of 12 appearances in the Wimbledon fourth round despite a mid-match blip. The world number one and four-time winner defeated Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz 7-5, 6-7 (5/7), 6-1, 6-4.
Djokovic is now level with Becker in third place on the all-time list for last-16 places. Roger Federer and Jimmy Connors lead the way with 16.
Pella served out the match to send the fourth seeded South African packing and will play 2016 finalist Milos Raonic for a place in the quarter-finals.
Raonic, the 15th seed, reached the fourth round for the fifth time by seeing off the sport’s tallest man Reilly Opelka of the United States 7-6 (7/1), 6-2, 6-1.
France’s Benoit Paire booked a last 16 place for the second time with a 5-7, 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, 7-6 (7/2) win over Czech qualifier Jiri Vesely. He will meet Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut who stunned Russian 10th seed Karen Khachanov 6-3, 7-6 (7/3), 6-1.
Belgium’s 21st seed David Goffin came back from 1-4 down in the decider to beat 11th seed Daniil Medvedev 4-6, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 in a five-set classic.
“I don’t know how to describe this,” gasped Pella, who had never gone beyond the third round of a Grand Slam tournament in seven years.
“I played an unbelievable three sets. In the third he played much better but in the end I was focussed.”
As for his incredible improvement this year which has seen him rise into the top 30 with his highest ever ranking Pella said it was all in the head.
“My mind is in the right place,” he said. “I am playing much more aggressive than previous years.
“You gain confidence when you win matches, you play every point like it was the last and fight for every point. Being in the second week is unbelievable.”
Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) bt Hubert Hurkacz (POL) 7-5, 6-7 (5/7), 6-1, 6-4
David Goffin (BEL x21) bt Daniil Medvedev (RUS x11) 4-6, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5
Fernando Verdasco (ESP) bt Thomas Fabbiano (ITA) 6-4, 7-6 (7/1), 6-4
Guido Pella (ARG x26) bt Kevin Anderson (RSA x4) 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4)
Milos Raonic (CAN x15) bt Reilly Opelka (USA) 7-6 (7/1), 6-2, 6-1
Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP x23) bt Karen Khachanov (RUS x10) 6-3, 7-6 (7/3), 6-1
Benoît Paire (FRA x28) bt Jiri Vesely (CZE) 5-7, 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, 7-6 (7/2)
With AFP Inputs