Anderson’s opponent for the title will be Nadal or Novak Djokovic, who began their semifinal after 8 p.m. local time Friday evening.
The world was a demonstrably different place when Kevin Anderson and John Isner first took the court Friday for what would become a marathon Wimbledon semifinal. Nowadays he is the prickly so-and-so who I work with and one of the best sports commentators I have had the joy of listening to.
His ultramarathon loss to Kevin Anderson, by that score and over all those hours, in the Wimbledon semifinals on Friday amounted to the longest Grand Slam singles semifinal in tennis history.
This one seems rather tidy by comparison: Anderson won 7-6 (6), 6-7 (5), 6-7 (9), 6-4, 26-24. Another set point came at 9-8, but this time on Isner’s serve, who saved it with a 138 miles-per-hour serve. But while Anderson and Isner’s titanic tussle was more an exercise in totting up aces, this was a cast-iron classic.
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.
Not only is Anderson far less accomplished than either of these two – he owns zero Grand Slam titles – but he also is coming off a pair of strenuous five-setters, including his 13-11 win against eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer in the quarterfinals.
Remarkably, Isner broke straight back as Anderson failed to serve it out from 5-3, 30-15.
“I was for the roof because we started to play, and I wanted to play in the same conditions”.
Anderson and Isner walked on to Centre Court at 1pm for a big-serving showdown which many thought might go the distance.
Neither player had a single break point through two sets, but the American took control down the stretch by earning one service break in the third set and two more in the fourth en route to the victory.
“I don’t think he has much to lose really tomorrow. I really hope we can look at it and address this because at the end you don’t even feel that great out there”.
Nadal will regret his missed opportunity the night before, when he was in the ascendancy but passed up two set points.
For Nadal, victory would put him in a sixth Wimbledon final and 25th at the majors. I have so many mixed emotions getting through something like that. Williams missed the tournament previous year while pregnant.
“It’s fair to say that was a great match and he beat me”.
He knows it is not guaranteed but even a few weeks ago we didn’t know if we would ever see him play again.
But they had not shared a Grand Slam stage since Djokovic inflicted a bitter defeat on Nadal at Roland Garros in 2015.
He had break points in the 15th, 21st and 35th games of the decider before taking victory when a tired Isner, who had needed treatment for blisters on his right hand, hit long.
Having once again swapped breaks early on in the fourth set, Anderson broke Isner for the third time, and took the match into a decider on his fourth set point.