The South African needed six hours and 36 minutes to see off Isner 7-6 (8-6), 6-7 (5-7), 6-7 (9-11), 6-4, 26-24 in a truly epic encounter featuring 102 aces and 96 service games but just six breaks.
But while both men are big servers, nobody could’ve expected the final set to reach 50 games, as Anderson eventually broke to take a 25-24 advantage and was able to close things out.
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. However, in the fifth set the Spaniard failed to convert five break points and was ultimately left to rue…
A thrilling Wimbledon semifinal match between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic was cut short on Friday because of the stadium curfew.
Novak Djokovic says he has “not much to lose” when he goes for his first Grand Slam title in nearly two years against Kevin Anderson in the Wimbledon final.
“Right now I feel awful”, the 33-year-old Isner said, noting he developed a foot blister at some point in the match.
We could go on, but we’ll stop there and give you a taste of the social media reaction to the game instead. Once his upped his ante, Nadal was at his fore and dominated the match to win 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4.
“It makes it even better for me, makes it even more special because I managed to overcome challenges and obstacles, to get myself to the final of a Slam”, he said. Or that a former Pakistani prime minister was arrested? – but observers at Centre Court were treated to a spectacle tough to pry their eyes from.
The match was the second-longest in professional tennis history, behind only Isner’s record 11-hour, five-minute first-round Wimbledon triumph over Frenchman Nicolas Mahut in 2010.
“I have to recover as much as I can for the final now”.
The match lasted almost five hours and it’s the longest between the two players on clay.
A showdown between two tennis skyscrapers – with Isner topping the 6 foot 8 Anderson by two inches – predictably featured three tiebreaks. Nadal saved two break points and when he finally held, the owner 17 major championships, two at Wimbledon, punched the air and yelled as if hed won the match, not a solitary game.
Following his defeat Friday, Isner said the time was “overdue” to institute fifth-set tiebreaks – for the good of players, fans and broadcasters alike.
It was the first time in the Open era that both men’s semifinals went past 6-all in the deciding set of a Grand Slam event.
Djokovic v Nadal: The incredible story so far.
In a column in the London Evening Standard, nine-time Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova said her “dream match” would have been on Centre Court against Serena Williams.