Published: Sat, July 14, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Anderson beats Isner in record-breaking six-hour semi-final

Anderson beats Isner in record-breaking six-hour semi-final

Cape Town - Kevin Anderson has progressed through to the Wimbledon final after beating American John Isner in a five-set thriller semi-final on Friday.

The No. 8 seed Anderson eliminated eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer in a 13-11 fifth set in the quarterfinals Wednesday.

"I don't really know what to say right now", said Anderson. "Just playing like that in those sort of conditions is really tough on both of us".

Many would argue Anderson and Isner deserve similar recognition after the friends warmly embraced at the net before receiving a standing ovation from tennis's most famous centre-court crowd.

In the second semi-final also at Centre Court, world No 1 Rafael Nadal takes on three-time victor, Novak Djokovic. Nadal won their previous encounter at the 2018 Rome Masters, winning 7-6, 6-3.

Nadal and Djokovic had a start time of 11:30 a.m. ET. He will take on the victor of the Djokovic-Nadal match in Sunday's final. Djokovic missed a return as the clock ticked to 11pm but on the final lung-busting rally it was Nadal who faltered.

Hitting with the ferocity and accuracy that made him the most feared player on the planet, the 12-time Grand Slam champion forced Nadal to net to clinch the break, before sealing the set with another cleanly struck victor.

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

"I'm a proponent of changing that rule, for sure".

"We've been lined up against each other for about 14 years now, because he left IL when I left Georgia".

"I apologise if I'm not more excited right now but I've got so many mixed emotions".

Isner, who must now know how Frenchman Nicolas Mahut felt after he lost their 11-hour marathon 70-68 in the fifth at Wimbledon in 2010. "I really hope we can look at this, because at the end you don't feel great", said the eighth seed who has less than 48 hours to get his tired body ready for the biggest match of his life.

The match took a flabbergasting six hours and 36 minutes from first serve to the moment Anderson clinched the match. The US Open is the lone major that has a tiebreak in the deciding set.

"I hope this is a bit of sign for Grand Slams to change this format", Anderson said.

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They have given us so much to shout about. "I think he has been the player of the tournament regardless of the result on Sunday". Others would have haggled with touts and individual sellers to try and get hold of the most sought-after ticket in town.


"I personally think a sensible option would be 12-All".

South African Anderson eventually overcame Isner to reach the Wimbledon final.

Isner said he agreed with Anderson that tiebreakers - at some point in the fifth set - were the way to go. They combined for 102 aces, 53 by Isner, 49 by Anderson.

Play was halted Friday after 2 hours, 54 minutes, with Djokovic leading two sets to one, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (9).

With the set tied at 24-24 Anderson somehow managed to break Isner's serve to lead 25-24 and then held to win an astonishing final set 26-24 and a place in his first Wimbledon final. Some people in the stands booed the decision to halt the match after a fantastic tiebreaker in which Nadal wasted three set points at 6-5, 7-6 and 8-7.

Despite the fifth set's historic length, both players did have chances to break each other's serve. "We want to see Rafa!" The U.S. Open does use a tiebreaker after 6-6. But where Isner is yet to be broken this tournament, Anderson has dropped serve nine times.

In the 50th game, Isner took down the opening point before Anderson captured the next four - including two on aces.

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