Published: Sat, July 14, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Marathon man Anderson clinches Wimbledon final spot

Marathon man Anderson clinches Wimbledon final spot

The South African defeated John Isner in a five-set monster match.

That is the only Wimbledon clash to have lasted longer than his 7-6 (8-6) 6-7 (5-7) 6-7 (9-11) 6-4 26-24 loss to Anderson, who reached his second major final in under a year courtesy of a colossal effort on Centre Court.

The match was the second-longest in professional tennis history, behind only Isner's record-setting 11-hour, five-minute first-round Wimbledon triumph over Frenchman Nicolas Mahut in 2010.

As if surviving a six hour, 36-minute marathon was not enough punishment for his body, Kevin Anderson is now hoping his "sore" and "swollen" feet, and "jelly-like" legs will be able to withstand one final test in Sunday's men's final at Wimbledon.

John Isner is 8-3 in his career against Kevin Anderson.

"Just playing like that in those conditions was tough on both of us".

"John's such a great guy and I really feel for him because if I had been on the opposite side, I don't know how you could take that playing for so long and coming up short".

And he made it clear Grand Slam tournament organisers should consider a rule change - perhaps introducing a tie-break at 6-6 - to make the deciding set of five-set matches less gruelling.

Novak Djokovic was leading Rafael Nadal 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (9) in a compelling showdown filled with entertaining points that was suspended as soon as the third set concluded at just past 11 p.m., the curfew at the All England Club.

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Anderson will now have to recover quickly in order to overcome a giant of a different kind in the men's finals on Sunday: either the top-seeded Rafael Nadal of Spain, a two-time victor at Wimbledon, or three-time champion Djokovic, who posted a picture on social media of himself playing marbles.

Djokovic was in the lead two-sets to one when play was halted.

He lost last year's US Open final to Rafael Nadal in straight sets.

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. Anderson fell to his backside trying to return an Isner serve, but got to his feet with his racket in his off hand. Both were on clay, in Madrid a year ago and in Rome as recently as May and the top seed regained his composure in the second set converting two out of three opportunities to break serve and level the last-four contest at one set apiece.

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. So even was the contest that at one stage late in the third set Djokovic had won 89 points and Nadal had won 88.

Djokovic set himself up to take the first set with strong service games, facing no break points, and broke in the seventh game before sealing it with a forehand victor.

Of course, Isner has a consistent serve as his main weapon and when combined with his forehand, is possessed of a solid one-two punch combination.

Isner also broke the record for most aces at Wimbledon, hitting 214 at the tournament and 53 on Friday.

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