John Isner loses to eight seed in longest semifinal match at Wimbledon

Kevin Anderson reacts after defeating John Isner on Friday

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South African eighth seed Kevin Anderson has reached his first Wimbledon final, beating American ninth seed John Isner 7-6 (8/6) 6-7 (5/7) 6-7 (9/11) 6-4 26-24 in the longest semi-final in the tournament's history.

Anderson eventually won the tiebreaker with a 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 26-24 victory on Centre Court, making him the first South African male to reach a final since 1921.

It was the second-longest match in Wimbledon history and longest one-day match in Wimbledon history.

The match was also just shorter than a Davis Cup first-round match between Argentina's Leonardo Mayer and Brazil's Joao Souza, which went on for six hours and 43 minutes in 2015r.

"John's such a great guy".

"I don't know what to say right now".

"If you ask majority, I'm sure they would have preferred to see a fifth-set tiebreaker, too. At the end you feel like this is a draw between the two of us". In the six-plus hour match, he served 53 aces and hit 129 winners.

The marathon tie meant that the Nadal versus Djokovic semi-final was to be played under the roof as the light began to fade just after 8pm.

Two days after prevailing over Roger Federer 13-11 in the fifth set of the quarter-final, saving a match point, Kevin had to work even harder to overcome the big server and write his name in the record books.

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This is the first time in the professional era that all four male semifinalists at a major are older than 30.

The last set alone lasted five minutes shy of three hours and Anderson said it was unfair on both players.

Isner won the match, and now 14 years on here they both are on Centre Court, competing for a place in the Wimbledon final.

As member of the ATP players' Council, the opinions of Anderson and Isner carry significant weight.

While one might think that such a closely fought match was an enthralling display of athleticism, as the game teetered back and forth in the fifth set, the opposite was true.

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.

But he broke right back with some fearless aggressive play, taking this set as well to a tie-break, which witnessed some incredible tennis and some dramatic mini-breaks and nervous double-faults.

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

Nadal and Djokovic will meet for the 52nd time.

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