Published: Wed, July 18, 2018
Sport | By Joe Gonzales

Isner reaches first Wimbledon semifinal

Isner reaches first Wimbledon semifinal

He converted his second set point when Nadal netted a backhand, minutes past the tournament's 11 p.m. curfew.

Serbia´s Novak Djokovic reacts after play was suspended during his men´s singles semi-final match against Spain´s Rafael Nadal at eleven o´clock at night, Wimbledon, July 13, 2018.

Anderson will now have to recover quickly in order to overcome a giant of a different kind in the men's finals on Sunday: either the top-seeded Rafael Nadal of Spain, a two-time victor at Wimbledon, or three-time champion Djokovic, who posted a picture on social media of himself playing marbles.

Novak Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal in a five-set epic.

In a matchup of two of the tallest (Isner at 6 feet, 10 inches, Anderson at 6-8) and biggest-serving players on the ATP tour, Isner and Anderson expectedly played tiebreaks in each of the first three sets.

Anderson advanced Friday with a 7-6 (6), 6-7 (5), 6-7 (9), 6-4, 26-24 victory over John Isner - a match that took 6 hours, 36 minutes to play, a record for a Wimbledon semifinal. "Just playing like that, in those conditions, was really tough on both of us at the end, you know".

Because Nadal and Djokovic didn't begin playing until after 8 p.m., the retractable roof above the main stadium was shut between the matches and the arena lights were turned on.

In the third, Anderson drew blood breaking Isner for the first time all tournament, snapping a streak of 110 service holds.

Djokovic's rediscovered warrior spirit averted a crisis at 7-7 when he saved three break points, the third with an angled forehand victor past the net-charging Nadal. After more than a year of trouble, Djokovic finally had surgery in February, then took a while to find his groove.

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"Nothing to complain. I think I played a great match".

And then he claimed Nadal's serve for the win in just over five hours and 15 minutes.

"It's one of the longest matches I played over the two days, I'm overwhelmed".

Anderson, a 32-year-old from South Africa, eliminated eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer in a 13-11 fifth set in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

"I don't really know what to say right now", Anderson told the BBC, after winning the match on his first match points as Isner hit a forehand wide. I apologize if I'm not more excited right now.

"I need a lot of treatment in terms of getting the body back balanced and stuff, but at the same time obviously sleep is important, too". I was not a spectator, but I think it was a great show for the fans.

It surpassed the previous longest Wimbledon semi-final, between Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro in 2013, which lasted four hours and 44 minutes.

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. With how I'm feeling physically and mentally, I'm in a very good spot. The U.S. Open does use a tiebreaker after 6-6.

Anderson, the eighth seed, won a gruelling battle of the big servers as records tumbled on Centre Court.

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