Anderson beats Isner in longest semi-final in history

Doug Mendoza
July 14, 2018

Friday's five-set match between Kevin Anderson and John Isner has become the longest semifinal in Wimbledon history.

While the U.S. Open would have a 6-6 fifth set end in a tiebreaker race to win by two, with every point building in importance and drama, Wimbledon uses advantage sets and insists that you must break your opponent's service game and win the set by two games to win the match.

The drama came at 24-24, 0-15 in the fifth set with both players looking delirious as the match time neared six-and-a-half hours.

After being kept on the run for six hours and 36 minutes, the longest ever singles semi-final at the All England Club, how he was still standing was anyone's guess.

Anderson suggested in the aftermath that change was needed at the Grand Slams to stop players from being forced to keep playing for so long. "You're never really safe", Roger Federer said of Anderson after his five-set loss Wednesday to the former Illini.

By the time the fourth set had begun, it was clear that this match, as some regarded it, was no warm-up act for the Nadal-Djokovic semifinal to be played later on the same court - not a starter for the main course. But Anderson roared back, outlasting the great Swiss to win 2-6 6-7 7-5 6-4 13-11.

Carried by this momentum, John grabbed the tie break 11-9 after saving two break points, clinching another marathon set to move closer to his first Grand Slam final. They combined for 102 aces: 53 by Isner, 49 by Anderson.

Anderson had a break point at 7-7 and at 10-10, but he missed the first one as Isner hit an ace and the second one as he mishit a backhand.

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And repeatedly, the answer was, of course, "No", even when Anderson smacked a return victor at Isner's feet to get to break point at 7-all, 30-40.

The crowd knew it, the spectators knew and although Isner might not be willing to admit it, Anderson did.

Novak Djokovic broke Rafael Nadal in the seventh game before claiming the opening set 6-4 to put the pressure on the Spaniard in their semi-final.

The 12th-seeded Peschke and Melichar came from a break down in the final set to see off the sixth-seeded pairing of Dabrowski of Canada and Xu of China. The record, funnily enough, was set by Isner.

After saving two set points in the third set tiebreak, Anderson blew his first set point at 8-7 with a double fault.

"I don't really know what to say right now".

"I feel pretty bad", Isner said afterward.

Other reports by GizPress

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