Kevin Anderson won the longest Centre Court match in history and earned a chance to try to collect his first Grand Slam championship, edging John Isner 7-6 (6), 6-7 (5), 6-7 (9), 6-4, 26-24 at Wimbledon in a marathon between two big servers that lasted more than 6½ hours Friday.
The official Wimbledon Twitter account said the match between Anderson and Isner lasted exactly six hours and 35 minutes, beating the previous mark of four hours, 44 minutes, set by Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin Del Potro in 2013.
Play was halted Friday after 2 hours, 54 minutes, with Djokovic leading two sets to one, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (9).
"You know that you can't win against him if you don't play very well".
The South African was the better player on the court and he finally broke Isner's serve in game 29, closing the match with a hold in the following game to win the third longest singles match in the history of tennis and book his place in the first Wimbledon final.
Anderson is 0-5 in his career against Nadal, with his last bout coming in a three-set loss at the 2017 U.S. Open. Isner served to start the fifth set, for which there is no tiebreaker, and both players continued to hold serve game after game.
In contrast, Anderson didn't concede a break-point in this set, taking one of the six offered by Isner under fading light.More news: Thai cave mission successfully rescues soccer team and their coach
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Djokovic and Nadal had met 51 times before Saturday's semi-final - the most prolific rivalry in men's tennis. At 6-5, Anderson saved a set point with a smash, and went on to take the first set 7-6 (8) in 63 minutes on two errors by his opponent.
It wasn't so much the shot that the fans particularly loved though, it was Isner's actions following the victor.
Anderson finished with 49 aces and 118 winners; Isner had 53 aces and 129 winners.
The match is likely to re-open the debate about allowing tie-breakers in the final set at Wimbledon.
"Either Nadal or Djokovic - neither needs any introduction".
"I think it's long overdue", Isner said.
Wimbledon usually play until dark, which is around 9pm, but once the roof on Centre Court is shut then they can squeeze in a couple more hours.