Published: Sat, July 14, 2018
Sports | By Ivan Ross

Wimbledon 2018: Kevin Anderson victorious in tournament's longest ever semi-final

Wimbledon 2018: Kevin Anderson victorious in tournament's longest ever semi-final

At stake is a place in Sunday's men's final against Anderson, the man who was partly at fault for keeping Nadal and Djokovic out there so late after South African eighth seed outlasted Isner 7-6 (8-6) 6-7 (5-7) 6-7 (9-11) 6-4 26-24 in the second-longest match in professional tennis history.

The show being put on by Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal was so good it could have been an instant classic had they been able to finish their semifinal before the tournament's 11 p.m. curfew.

"We don't want it to be 70-68, John", someone shouted from the crowd at 8-8 in reference to Isner's 2010 epic win over Mahut, as both men kept slamming down huge serves.

The longest match ever seen on Centre Court went extraordinarily deep into the fifth set before Anderson broke Isner and served out for the win to seal a 7-6 6-7 6-7 6-4 26-24 win.

The victor of Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic awaits Anderson in Sunday's final.

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Kevin Anderson fought back from a 5-0 deficit in the tiebreak but John Isner held his nerve to claim the second set 7-6 (5) to level the contest at one set apiece.

The marathon tie meant that the Nadal versus Djokovic semi-final was to be played under the roof as the light began to fade just after 8pm.

Anderson created two break points that would have put him in a position to serve out the ailing proceedings, but Isner responded to hold by firing down a pair of powerful aces - he now holds the record for the most in a single championship having passed Goran Ivanisevic's 212 in 2001.

"Honestly, I really hope this is a bit of a sign for grand slams to change the five sets".

Djokovic was in the lead two-sets to one when play was halted.

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Anderson, the No. 8 seed, ultimately prevailed 6-7 (6), 6-7 (5), 6-7 (9), 6-4, 26-24, with the fifth set alone lasting almost three hours.

Isner has been playing the tennis of his life this year, claiming a first Masters title and now on the threshold of a first Slam final, and he edgedMilos Raonic, whose body looked to be letting him down once more in a career ravaged with injury. After losing the second set, he turned into Vintage Djoker and won 12 of the next 16 games to return to the Wimbledon semis for the seventh time.

"So do I. I think it will be just like the last final; it will be a really good final".

And they were somewhat right, with numerous aces from both athletes, but at 10-10 in the final set tiebreaker, American giant Isner had the advantage, and what he did next was a thing of beauty.

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