The first men’s semi-final of Wimbledon 2018 between the two most dangerous servers in the field – John Isner and Kevin Anderson has become a piece of history now. The epic five-setter on the pristine centre court of Wimbledon not only broke several records but also managed to keep the capacity crowd engrossed in a gladiatorial battle. But, it was the 32-year old South African who held his nerves and prevailed in the iconic clash which lasted six hours and thirty-five minutes to book a place in the men’s singles final of Wimbledon 2018.
Anderson beats Isner by 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4 and 26-24 to become the first player from the Rainbow nation to in 97 years
The Isner versus Anderson match has become the longest semifinal in Wimbledon history. The contest surpassed the previous record of 4 hours and 44 minutes set by Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro in 2013. They crossed that landmark when the score was tied 9-9 in the fifth and the deciding set.
The marathon contest between America’s Isner and South Africa’s Anderson has also become the second longest match in the history of All England Club. With the players tied at 16-16 in the deciding set, they had gone past the previous record of 5 hours and 31 minutes between Sam Querrey and Marin Cilic’s third round match in 2012.
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.
And as the fifth set at Wimbledon doesn’t go to a tiebreak, the match dragged on past the six-hour mark on Centre Court.
However, Friday’s main event at The Championships was the second semifinal matchup between heavyweights Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. But the viewers around the world first had to wait for long for John Isner and Kevin Anderson to finish a once-in-a-lifetime contest.
The 33-year old Isner who is not new to such historical battles also holds the record of winning the longest match in the history of tennis (at Wimbledon or any other tournament). In 2010, the American defeated Nicolas Mahut in an iconic five-setter by 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7-9), 7-6 (7-3) and 70-68 after 11 hours and 5 minutes.
Here are some of the best Twitter reactions around the match which will surely bring a smile on your face:
With this win, the 32-year old Anderson became the first South African male since Brian Norton (1921) to reach the Wimbledon final.
Quite an achievement!