Anderson in final after a marathon duel with Isner

Only seven of their previous 51 meetings had been won by the player who lost the opening set, so it was a major boost to Djokovic’s hopes, but he knew when he failed to take any of three break points early in the second that he had given Nadal a way back in.

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Novak Djokovic was leading 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. local time, the curfew at the All England Club.

After the victory in the close-fought match, Anderson will next play in Friday’s semi-finals against American Tennis player John Isner.

Kevin Anderson advanced to his first Wimbledon final by outlasting John Isner 7-6 (8-6), 6-7 (5-7), 6-7 (9-11), 6-4, 26-24 in the longest semi-final in Grand Slam tennis history.

The final scorecard was 6-4 3-6 7-6 3-6 10-8 in Djokovic’s favour.

Of the task against Anderson, Djokovic said: “Hopefully we can first of all play, both of us get out on court”.

Second seed Nadal saved a break point at the start of the second set and celebrated holding serve with a trademark upper-cut fist pump.

Of course, there was another player on the other side of the net – for whom Anderson’s triumph was a tragedy: Isner.

At his 41st major tournament, Isner, 33, was playing his first Grand Slam semifinal and was trying to become the first American man since 2009 to reach a major final.

Anderson almost managed to extend the match, holding five set points to force a fourth set.

He knows it is not guaranteed but even a few weeks ago we didn’t know if we would ever see him play again.

Anderson and Isner walked on to Centre Court at 1pm for a big-serving showdown which many thought might go the distance.

Not to be outdone, Anderson had 49 aces of his own in the match vs. Isner.

With the increasingly physical nature of rallies, the advances in training and nutrition that help extend careers, and the dominance of a certain trio of all-time talents — Federer has 20 Grand Slam titles, Nadal 17, Djokovic 12 — it’s been hard for any youngsters to elbow their way to the top. It’s been a roller coaster ride for him, the last couple of rounds, but he’s had a day off which means a lot. “I really do. I think with the performances I’ve had, I deserve to be in the semifinals”, he continued.

“But I’m in the final of Wimbledon and it’s an incredible achievement for me after what I’ve been through”.

Anderson, the eighth seed, won a gruelling battle of the big servers as records tumbled on Centre Court.

“It’s fair to say that was a great match and he beat me”.

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That’s how the U.S. Open settles things at 6-all in the fifth set of a men’s singles match – or at 6-all in the third set for women – and has since 1970. I have so many mixed emotions getting through something like that. With how I’m feeling physically and mentally, I’m in a very good spot. This time past year, few would have expected to see either man back in the last-four at the All England Club.

Anderson in Wimbledon final after second longest ever match