Djokovic tops Nadal in 5 sets to reach 5th Wimbledon final

Lynette Rowe
July 18, 2018

A FEROCIOUS fightback from Rafael Nadal wasn't enough for the Spaniard to fight off Novak Djokovic in a thrilling finish to Wimbledon's two day, five-set semi-final.

The world was a demonstrably different place when Kevin Anderson and John Isner first took the court Friday for what would become a marathon Wimbledon semifinal.

It was a second day of epic drama at the All England Club after Kevin Anderson had needed 6 hours and 36 minutes to beat John Isner on Friday.

But Isner saved a set point at 6-5 in the second-set tiebreaker and then got a crucial mini-break to go up 8-7 before winning the next point to even the match at a set apiece.

Yet Anderson's previously impenetrable serve suddenly looked vulnerable and in the very next game Isner broke back, once again taking the set thundering towards another tie-break.

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

Anderson was two sets to love up against Djokovic in the Wimbledon round of 16 back in 2015, but he won't on to lose that match.

The result came two days after Anderson stunned eight-time champion Roger Federer in four hours and five more sets, saving a match point in the process.

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

"I was for the roof because we started to play, and I wanted to play in the same conditions".

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Once again his first serve was his saviour and the match started to enter prime Anderson-Isner territory. Still, Isner did jokingly ask chair umpire Marija Cicak at one point during the last set whether they could play a tiebreaker. I was not a spectator, but I think it was a great show for the fans.

"John's a great guy and I really feel for him".

This time, there was to be no tiebreak as the final set at Wimbledon is traditionally decided by a difference of two games.

Nadal, meanwhile, is appearing in his first Wimbledon semifinal since 2011.

Victory in the semi-final would put him in a sixth Wimbledon final and 25th at the majors.

But if Nadal rallies, he would encounter Anderson in a second grand slam final in less than a year, having toppled the 32-year-old at the US Open last September. I just expected to win a match, then win the next match. Then he might stand half a chance of a first Grand Slam title on Sunday.

After going 110 service games without being broken during Wimbledon, the seemingly indomitable Isner finally was undone during the third set - but he immediately broke back.

"If I have to compare the game that I've played, the level of tennis that I've had (all of) those years and today, I think it's pretty close". Who is going to take it?

"I apologise if I'm not more excited right now, it's just coming through something like that leaves so many mixed emotions".

Both players had set points on their own serve, and both were denied until Anderson scooped a forehand wide and Isner was ahead. I give it my best, and that's it.

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