Longest. Semifinal. Ever.
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal’s semifinal at Wimbledon will have to wait — John Isner and Kevin Anderson aren’t ready to cede Centre Court. The other half of the major’s final four underwent a record-setting marathon in London Friday, battling back and forth through five sets and a still-running tiebreaker that stretched into five grueling hours of play.
Their long-running battle easily ousted, surpassing a 4:44 match between Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro
Isner, the ninth-seeded American and Anderson, the eighth-seeded South African, are both power servers who struggle with their returns. That’s led to few break points and nearly 80 total aces. Each of the first three sets went to tiebreakers before a 6-4 victory from Anderson in the fourth set up a winner-take-all fifth set.
That’s when the fun began. At the time of publication, the pair was knotted up at 12-12 in the deciding round.
UPDATE: After 5:36 of play, we’re tied up 16-16 in the fifth set. This is the longest match to ever take place on Center Court.
A win Friday would validate Anderson’s recent rise. The 32-year-old has only qualified for one major tournament final in his 15-year career — the 2017 U.S. Open. He’s trending upward after stunning Roger Federer in a long-running match that ended with a 13-11 fifth-set decider on Wednesday, marking the first time he’d ever advanced beyond the fourth round at Wimbledon.
Isner has found major success similarly elusive — though he’s used to marathon competitions in London. He’s responsible for the longest match in Wimbledon history; an 11-hour first-round monster against Nicholas Mahut that spanned two days in 2010.
Who remembers the longest tennis match in history? It was a 11 hour and 5 minute match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut, first-round at Wimbledon. It started on Tuesday, 22 June, 2010 and ended Thursday, 24 June, 4:47pm!
— Courtside TENNIS (@courtside10s)
A win Friday would mark Isner’s first-ever finals appearance at a major event.
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