John Isner can't win this epic marathon match at Wimbledon

Rex Christensen
July 14, 2018

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Both players oozed confidence before they came off court at 11.02pm with the scoreline poised at 6-4 3-6 7-6 (11-9) in Djokovic's favour.

Anderson moves on to play Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal in the men's 2018 Wimbledon final.

If Nadal wins to advance to the Wimbledon Men's Final, and historically he's never lost a Wimbledon Men's Semi-Final match, then he and Djokovic will be tied at 26 against one another.

When the opening three games lasted 16 minutes it was clear the three-hour window to finish the match was insufficient.

ESPN commented the match lasted longer than the original Star Wars trilogy at a combined total of 6 hours, 19 minutes.

"You feel like it's a draw between the two of us, but somebody has to win".

"John is a great guy and I feel for him", Anderson told the BBC after Friday's match. "If I was on the opposite side, I don't know how you take it - getting through something like that is quite different".

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"If you ask majority, I'm sure they would have preferred to see a fifth-set tiebreaker, too".

Anderson finished with 49 aces and 118 winners; Isner had 53 aces and 129 winners.

But an athletic Djokovic had Nadal running around the court in the next game, bringing him forward to the net and lobbing the Spaniard before breaking back with a beautifully angled forehand.

John Isner of the US leaves the court after being defeated by Kevin Anderson of South Africa in the men's semifinal match at Wimbledon on Friday. Still, Isner did jokingly ask chair umpire Marija Cicak at one point during the last set whether they could play a tiebreaker.

Isner will always be renowned at the All England Club for having won the longest grand slam match ever played, when he beat Nicolas Mahut on Court 18 in a first-round match lasting 11 hours and five minutes in 2010. The couple have a son who is now the highest ranked 14-year-old in Sweden. After more than a year of trouble, Djokovic finally had surgery in February, then took a while to find his groove. Two points later, Anderson had the vital break to lead 25-24 before serving out the match. So even was the contest that at one stage late in the third set Djokovic had won 89 points and Nadal had won 88.

The pressure continued to mount on the world No. 1 as Djokovic created another break point opportunity, with his Spanish opponent punching the air with glee after denying the Serb. But the ex-Illini had his serve broken in Game 9 of that set before he double-faulted while up 8-7 in the tiebreaker. Anderson took a tumble but managed to get to his feet and hit a left-handed shot inside the baseline, taking the point for 0-30.

Nadal, the 2008 and 2010 champion, trails Djokovic, the 2011, 2014 and 2015 victor, 26-25 in a rivalry which began at Roland Garros 12 years ago. "I personally think a sensible option would be 12-All", said Isner who was bidding to reach his first Slam final at the 41st attempt. He has one Slam final appearance in that span.

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