Djokovic enters Wimbledon final after epic five-set win over Nadal
- Author: Julie Sanders Jul 15, 2018,
Jul 15, 2018, 17:06
For Anderson, it would be his first Grand Slam at 32 years old, less than a year after making his first final in the US Open.
Neither Isner nor South African Kevin Anderson wanted their Wimbledon semifinal to become an instant classic in this fashion - Anderson winning 7-6 (6), 6-7 (5), 6-7 (9), 6-4, 26-24 in 6 hours, 36 minutes.
He will now face either Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal in Sunday's final. According to the BBC, the longest Wimbledon men's singles final was in 2008 between Nadal and Federer, which lasted four hours and 48 minutes.
Djokovic, who has 12 Grand Slam titles, hasn't won a major in more than two years, dealing with an injured right elbow that was so painful in 2017 he quit his quarterfinal at Wimbledon and sat out the rest of the season.
"It feels like it´s a draw but somebody has to win. It was a late night and an early morning, but I'm just so pleased to get through".
"I apologise if I´m not more excited right now".
"Yes, there were moments of doubt, of frustration, disappointment, where you're questioning whether you want to keep it going", said Djokovic back in a Slam final for the first time since finishing runner-up at the 2016 US Open.
Once again his first serve was his saviour and the match started to enter prime Anderson-Isner territory.
"Hopefully we can first of all play!" an exhausted Djokovic said of his fellow marathon man.
Federer did not even make it past the quarter-finals as Anderson fought back from two sets and match point down to win 13-11 in a dramatic fifth set. Djokovic's semi-marathon against Nadal that ran into Saturday, will have drained him.
It's the first time in almost a century that a South African's made it to the end of the competition, and no South African has ever won the tournament.
The three-time champion had a tiny bit more than Nadal at the end and grabbed the crucial break of serve at 9-8 up to close out another phenomenal match. There was the deluge of aces (more than 100, in fact), the three tiebreakers, the final set that itself lasted almost three hours.
The 33-year-old American´s composure wasn´t helped by a delay caused by a ball boy slipping and falling.
Following his defeat Friday, Isner said the time was "overdue" to institute fifth-set tiebreaks - for the good of players, fans and broadcasters alike. Wimbledon, along with the Australian and French opens, insist that play continues if the fifth set is knotted at 6-6 until one man leads by two games. "It's hard to come back after injuries for a long time and have these kind of results, so I am proud of myself".
Nadal and Djokovic were meeting for the 52nd time.
Djokovic has endured a lot of setbacks in the past year.
Novak Djokovic is the overwhelming favourite to secure a fourth Wimbledon title on Sunday but he admits he feared his best days were behind him when his career nose-dived over the previous year.