Game, Set, Marathon: Anderson Wins Record-Shattering Wimbledon Semifinal

Doug Mendoza
July 14, 2018

John Isner and Kevin Anderson possess two of the most powerful serves in tennis, and simply could not find a break in their Wimbledon semifinal.

With a duration of 6 hours and 36 minutes, it is the longest semifinal in Wimbledon history.

The 32-year-old Anderson is the first South African man to reach the Wimbledon final for 97 years.

He had also gone five sets to beat eight-time champion Roger Federer in the quarter-finals, winning the decider 13-11.

However, Djokovic-Nadal was the headline act of the day - they have five Wimbledon titles between them and met in the 2011 final - while Anderson and Isner had never made the semi-finals before.

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

"Playing like that in those conditions is tough on both of us", Anderson said afterwards. "Somebody has to win, John is such a great guy and I really feel for him", added Anderson, who has known Isner for 14 years after their time playing college tennis in the US.

Of the four Grand Slam tournaments, deciding set tiebreaks are only contested at the U.S. Open when the score is at 6-all. The fifth set lasted 175 minutes. If I was on the opposite side I'm not sure how I would feel. The other three majors all play out the fifth set until the victor is ahead by two games. It is timed for release as the anticipation crests with Roger as returning champion, 10 years after their famed 2008 Wimbledon championship - an epic match so close and so reflective of their competitive balance that, in the end, the true victor was the sport itself. "I think it's long overdue". I don't think it needs to continue.

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Anderson had nearly surely forced the game back to deuce with a close-range dink over the net, but a exhausted Isner somehow stormed across the court to slam home a passing victor.

Djokovic had two break points when Nadal was serving for the set, angrily remonstrating with himself when he failed to convert them before gifting the Spaniard the set with a backhand error.

After seven consecutive wins over Nadal, Djokovic had lost their last two matches.

After 6ft 8in Anderson edged the opening tie-break he eked out another break point in the second set, but once again Isner repelled it and this time the tie-break went the way of the American. "I've felt better before", said Isner who had also been hoping to be the first American man in a Slam final since Andy Roddick at Wimbledon in 2009.

The games were passing by and this became one of the longest matches in the history of the game, with both players pushing each other to the limits (Anderson wasted two break points at 17-17 as well) and claiming some big records in terms of the number of games played and the time spent on the court.

Anderson weighed in with 49 aces to reach 172 so far.

Experience will play a big part here for Anderson - he has been in this position before and alas he capitulated completely to Rafael Nadal in the US Open final a year ago, but it is a series of matches that will have served him in good stead.

Other reports by GizPress

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