LONDON (Reuters) - For Kevin Anderson it was a day of firsts on Monday.
He beat Frenchman Gael Monfils for the first time in six attempts and in doing so reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the first time — at the 10th attempt.
The 32-year-old also became the first South African man into the last eight at the All England Club since Wayne Ferreira in 1994.
On Wednesday he will need to break new ground again if he is to keep alive his Wimbledon dream and beat eight-times champion Roger Federer for the first time.
Anderson is yet to win a set in four previous meetings with the Swiss maestro but in the three years since they last met he has developed his all-round game to such an extent that he reached last year’s U.S. Open final, losing to Rafael Nadal.
He has fully-justified his seeding of eight and was mentally rock-solid in winning three tiebreaks against Monfils in his four-set win on Court One.
Federer, sublime so far, will be a step up but Anderson is making all the right noises as he prepares for arguably the biggest challenge in tennis.
“I think it’s a pretty exciting opportunity to play Federer here at Wimbledon,” Anderson, who has served 96 aces in four rounds, told reporters.
“It’s obviously not easy. I feel like a lot of aspects of my game can give him a lot of trouble. I’m a big player, big serve.
“I’m going to have to really take it to him. Also at the same time try to treat it like another tennis match.”
Should Anderson face Federer on Centre Court it would be only his second visit to the grasscourt citadel — the first time ending in defeat by home favorite Andy Murray.
Anderson said nerves played a factor in that loss and while they will be present against Federer he now uses that energy in a positive way.
“I was listening to Roger earlier in the week. He said he was feeling nervous going out into his first-round match,” Anderson said. “You’re talking about Federer who has won 20 of these Grand Slams.
“I’ve often said the day that you don’t feel nervous is the day you should be more worried about. I think nerves is a great thing, it gets your system going. I feel like the more experienced you are, the more you can deal with those better.”
Keen musician Anderson has traveled with his guitar to London and treated himself to a night at a Jack Johnson concert after reaching the last 16.
The build-up to playing Federer will be a little quieter.
“I don’t know if I’ll be going anywhere concert-wise tomorrow,” he said. “I think right now for me the most important thing is trying to feel as fresh as possible on Wednesday.
“It will also be nice to spend a little bit time at home just with my family. Maybe a little bit of guitar time as well.”
Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond