Anderson topples marathon man Isner in longest-ever Wimbledon semi-final

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     COURT SIDE Mirka is a constant presence on the court at Federer's matches

GETTY COURT SIDE Mirka is a constant presence on the court at Federer's matches

Kevin Anderson fought back from a 5-0 deficit in the tiebreak but John Isner held his nerve to claim the second set 7-6 (5) to level the contest at one set apiece.

After the match, Anderson said: "I don't really know what to say right now".

In a battle of the big-servers, eighth seed Kevin Anderson takes on ninth seed John Isner with both men looking to reach their first Wimbledon final. It finished 7-6 (8/6) 6-7 (5/7) 6-7 (9/11) 6-4 26-24.

Although the All England Club has a retractable roof with lights, in the past it has stopped play for the day at 11 p.m. local time in order not to disturb its residential neighbors in southwest London. After more than a year of trouble, Djokovic finally had surgery in February, then took a while to find his groove. They have not, however, met since 2015 in Indian Wells where Isner won in straight sets 7-6 6-2.

The US Open is the only grand slam to use tiebreakers in the fifth set, with the Australian Open and French Open, like Wimbledon, both also playing advantage sets.

But his record in fifth sets slumped to 9-18 overall, including defeats of 19-17, 18-16, 12-10 and now 26-24.

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"I feel pretty awful", said Isner. "I've hit a lot of left-handed balls throughout my life".

"So, I apologise if I'm not more excited right now.so many mixed emotions in getting through something like that".

The only match to last longer at Wimbledon was Isner's win over Nicolas Mahut in 2010, which ended 70-68 in the fifth set after 11 hours, 5 minutes.

When asked how he would recover from such an epic and play in the Wimbledon finals on Sunday afternoon, the South African said: "It's tough, I really don't know".

The match took a flabbergasting six hours and 36 minutes from first serve to the moment Anderson clinched the match. The 32-year-old has made six event finals since August 2017, including a display in last year's U.S. Open against Nadal.

"He stayed the course incredibly well", said the No. 9 seed Isner, a 33-year-old American playing in his first major semifinal.

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Isner's 53 aces meant he beat Goran Ivanisevic's Wimbledon record haul - the Croatian sent down 213 in 2001 - but the 214th he served was his last of the tournament.

In a final set that lasted almost 3 hours, Anderson had break points at 7-7, 10-10 and 17-17 before finally earning the decisive breakthrough to go 25-24 up - drawing a massive roar from the crowd. At 13-13 in the final set, one spectator screamed "we want to see Rafa!"

Anderson saved three break points in the third game of the first set before Isner had to save a set point in the 10th.

Both players held serve all the way through the third set and into the tiebreaker, which saw Nadal fail to convert three separate set-point opportunities, including one on his own serve. He played pretty well, I think, in the fifth set.

The former world No. 4 Jonas Bjorkman praised Roger Federer in an interview to Sport Klub during the Wimbledon tournament before the Swiss lost to Kevin Anderson. 'He is really unbelievable.

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