Novak Djokovic Beats Kevin Anderson To Win Fourth Wimbledon

Annette Crawford
July 19, 2018

The fifth set involved 50 games with Anderson eventually triumphing 7-6 (8-6) 6-7 (5-7) 6-7 (9-11) 6-4 26-24 in the longest single-day match ever at the grass court tournament.

Djokovic will now face Kevin Anderson, who outlasted John Isner in a five-set, six-hour epic semifinal on Friday.

"I don't know what to say right now". Tough as it may be to recall that heady era when the world was still young, we assure you it existed.

Djokovic and Nadal had met 51 times before Saturday's semifinal - the most prolific rivalry in men's tennis.

John Isner of the U.S. returns a ball to Kevin Anderson of South Africa during their men's semifinal match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday July 13, 2018.

He won their last Wimbledon meeting, in the 2011 final, but retired injured when trailing Nadal in a semi-final at the All England Club four years earlier. Another break point for Anderson arrived at 10-10, but he shanked a backhand.

Friday's other semi-final pitches Anderson, the eighth seed who lost to Nadal in last year's US Open final, against ninth-seeded American John Isner.

In a marathon battle that extended to four hours and 48 minutes on the center court, the Spaniard recovered from being 2-1 down and complete a remarkable comeback - 7-5, 6-7 (7), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

"I feel pretty awful", Isner said afterward. "My left heel is killing me". "He is one of the more complex players that I ever saw on our sport".

Nadal hadn't dropped a set until Wednesday but he was pushed to the limits by Juan Martin del Potro in the quarter-final. "I really hope we can look at this, because at the end you don't feel great", Anderson said on the press conference.

But it was the longest semi-final in grand slam history. I think that's not fair.

The 6-foot-10 Isner and the 6-foot-8 Anderson had played 11 times before on tour, but they also faced each other in college, including in the 2007 NCAA finals, which Isner won.

No wonder Nadal knows this won't be a straightforward day at the office, even if it is his first Grand Slam semi-final since the 2016 US Open.

Djokovic forced three break points but Nadal hauled himself level and clinched the set with an ace - called out but correctly challenged - to take the match into a decider.

The match took a flabbergasting six hours and 36 minutes from first serve to the moment Anderson clinched the match. Friday's contest featured three tiebreaks to start before Anderson broke in the fourth to secure the set and force the final frame.

The match began as expected with neither player able to earn a single service break over the first two sets. As a result of no fifth set tiebreaker, the two big servers continued to hold serve, increasing the drama and length of the match. The pair actually most recently met at Wimbledon, when Djokovic rallied from two sets down to beat Anderson in five sets in the 2015 round of 16. The American roared and turned to his box as he took the third set on his third set point.

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.

Then, 122 minutes into the fifth set, the crowd went wild as a tired-looking Isner faced two more break points, only to save them with back-to-back aces as dark rain clouds gathered over Centre Court. He made it 0-30 in that game by winning a point after falling on his back behind the baseline but still got up in time to return Isner's shot.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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