Anderson tops Isner 26-24 in epic 5th set of Wimbledon semifinal

May JohnsonJul 15, 2018

It will go down as one of the greatest matches in tennis history and a huge moment in the career of Novak Djokovic as he beat world No. 1 Rafael Nadal in a five hour and 15 minutes epic to return to a Grand Slam final for the first time in almost two years.

The match was the second-longest in professional tennis history, behind only Isner's record-setting 11-hour, five-minute first-round Wimbledon triumph over Frenchman Nicolas Mahut in 2010.

Djokovic, the 2011, 2014 and 2015 champion, will face Kevin Anderson, the first South African in the final in 97 years, for the title after a 5-hour 15-minute marathon.

As a result, Friday's second semifinal between world No. 1 Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will finish Saturday after Friday's 11 p.m. local curfew stopped the match.

Numerous best points came in the tiebreaker, including a 23-shot rally that Nadal finished off with a forehand half-volley drop shot to set up his first set point.

The match has also thrown up a very important question for Grand Slams - the need for a fifth-set tiebreaker. Djokovic faced a third break point in deuce, which he won with a terrific cross-court passing shot, and went on to hold serve, even after it went to deuce four more times.

After two-and-a-half hours of play, Anderson managed to clinch the first break of serve in the match to end a run of 110 straight service games held by the 33-year-old at Wimbledon this fortnight. "I was still pregnant at this time past year". However, it should be an even playing field heading into Sunday's match, particularly with Anderson getting the day off.

Nadal and Djokovic, meanwhile, are in the midst of their 52nd meeting, with Djokovic holding the edge 26-25.

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Djokovic, meanwhile, is seeking a 5th final at the All England Club and 22nd at the Slams.

John Isner of the U.S.in action during his semi final match against South Africa's Kevin Anderson.

In the first two sets, Anderson had fewer errors, but Isner was better at the net.

Remarkably, Isner broke straight back as Anderson failed to serve it out from 5-3, 30-15. The match will have to be continued on Saturday, with the victor facing Anderson in Sunday's final. That one ranks 13th in men's tennis history.

The semi-finals follow the shock exit of fan-favourite Roger Federer on Wednesday, after he was knocked out by Anderson. Isner took that set on his third chance, when Anderson flubbed a forehand.

And as the fifth set at Wimbledon doesn't go to a tiebreak, the match dragged on past the six-hour mark on Centre Court.

If there were two tennis players prepared for this long-drawn combat, they were these two.

He never got a break point in the fifth set. It remains to be seen if he can recover physically and emotionally for what could be a career-defining match, his second Grand Slam final in the last 11 months.

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