Kevin Anderson, John Isner play second longest match in Wimbledon history

Lynette Rowe
July 14, 2018

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Only one match at Wimbledon ever lasted longer: Isner's 2010 first-round victory over Nicolas Mahut, the longest match in tennis history.

The match proceeded with Anderson serving first in the third set, then with the South African leading 4-3, Isner's serve was broken for the first time at Wimbledon after 110 consecutive service holds, for Anderson to lead 5-3. The match shattered Wimbledon semifinal records for number of games as well as duration - besting the previous mark by 1 hour, 52 minutes.

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

"I really hope we can look at it and address this, because at the end, you don't even feel that great out there".

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

"If I was on the opposite (losing) side I don't know how you take it".

"I apologise if I´m not more excited right now".

But the 31-year-old has been rejuvenated at Wimbledon, sweeping into the semi-finals for the eighth time.

There were a total of 102 aces in a match with Isner serving 53 aces and Anderson serving 49.

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Anderson, 32, will face either Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic in Sunday's final.

His ultramarathon loss to Kevin Anderson, by that score and over all those hours, in the Wimbledon semifinals on Friday amounted to the longest Grand Slam singles semifinal in tennis history.

For the first time in the Open era, the semi-finals were made up exclusively of players over 30.

That service hold - helped by a 129 miles per hour (207.6km/h) second serve - took the American to 100 service games unbroken at this Wimbledon.

Anderson, who won the fifth set 26-24, appeared to be more annoyed. Anderson fell to the Serbian in five sets in 2015 at Wimbledon and in three sets in 2011 in London. The record, funnily enough, was set by Isner. The final set alone lasted two hours and 50 minutes.

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.

And that's where he'll meet Rafael Nadal for the 52nd time.

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.

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.

Victory on Friday would put him in a sixth Wimbledon final and 25th at the majors. If Djokovic does the same thing, there's a better chance he'll make Rafa pay for any lapse. But after each man had won 24 games in the first set, Anderson finally broke through and took the match, employing one of the most impressive shots of the tournament thus far to do it.

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