Wimbledon 2018 -- Novak Djokovic advances to men's final vs. Kevin Anderson

Arnold Nichols
July 15, 2018

Tennis warriors Kevin Anderson and John Isner are pleading for Wimbledon officials to introduce deciding tiebreakers after engaging in the longest grand slam semi-final in history. It started at 1 p.m. local time.

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.

The final set lasted just five minutes short of three hours.

"If I was on the opposite (losing) side I don't know how you take it".

After splitting the first two sets, Djokovic and Nadal played to a tiebreaker in the third set.

The eighth seed will face either twice champion Rafael Nadal or three-times victor Novak Djokovic in Sunday's final.

The second semi was suspended after three sets at cut-off time on Friday night, with Djokovic ahead 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 - the third set going to yet another tie-break, which the Serb won 11-9. The 36-year-old American takes on Angelique Kerber, who lost to Williams in the 2016 final. And he held the upper hand Friday after saving three set points in the gripping tiebreak. "I think I can keep doing damage here", Isner said. "My left heel is killing me". The contest surpassed the previous record of 4 hours and 44 minutes set by Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro in 2013.

Nadal and Djokovic will have to resume their match on Saturday before the victor will play Anderson in the final on Sunday, meaning one of Djokovic or Nadal will not be well-rested heading into the final.

Two hours and two sets in, they were even at one apiece, each via tiebreaker, with zero service breaks, only the very occasional extended point and aces by the dozen.

His heroics against Isner followed just two days after he'd been through another five-set ordeal, this one lasting more than four hours, when he came back from two sets down and a match point to beat Grand Slam superstar Roger Federer. I love the epic nature of these long-form tussles.

The 32-year-old Anderson is the first South African man to reach the Wimbledon final for 97 years. 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 he'd won the match, not a solitary game.

Isner added a few more endurance records to his resume on Friday, playing the longest semifinal in Wimbledon history and longest match ever on Centre Court at the All England Club against Anderson.

For perspective, the longest Major League Baseball game this season lasted 5 hours, 48 minutes. The Serbian would go on to serve out the set in the 10th game.

Remarkably, Isner broke straight back as Anderson failed to serve it out from 5-3, 30-15.

This was high-decibel, high-stakes, high-quality tennis between two of the greats right from the get-go, beginning with an 18-point, six-deuce game that last 15 minutes and felt truly pivotal. Both are tall - Isner's 6-foot-10, Anderson 6-foot-8 - and lanky. Isner failed to convert a set point in the opener.

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