Kevin Anderson Outlasts John Isner in a Five-Set Marathon at Wimbledon

Dean Simpson
July 14, 2018

Tennis warriors Kevin Anderson and John Isner are pleading for Wimbledon officials to introduce deciding tiebreakers after engaging in the longest grand slam semi-final in history.

They slugged it out on Centre Court for six hours and 35 minutes before the eighth seed came through 7-6 (8-6) 6-7 (5-7) 6-7 (9-11) 6-4 26-24.

After all this was at 24-all in the fifth set of a semi-final against John Isner that had been going on for what seemed like forever but was in fact well past the 6-1/2 hour mark.

Isner has history for playing long matches at Wimbledon, having endured a 70-68 fifth-set tiebreak against Nicolas Mahut in 2010, a match which spanned three days.

South African Anderson eventually overcame Isner to reach the Wimbledon final.

The knock on effect also meant Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic were kept waiting till past 8pm local time to start their semi-final and will have to return on Saturday to finish the match because they ran out of time before the 11pm curfew. The victor of the match will face off against the victor of John Isner and Kevin Anderson.


'This Isner vs Anderson semifinal is ridiculous and nearly a waste of time, ' wrote one Twitter user. The crowd. they're pretty antsy for us to get off the court. Because it was so late, and with rain forecast, the All England Club shut the retractable roof above the main stadium before the second semifinal.

Repeatedly, the answer was, of course, "No", even when Anderson held break points at 7-all, 10-all and 17-all.

One of Anderson's best plays came in that lengthy final set.

On a critical point that helped him earn the break he needed to win the match, Kevin Anderson hit one of the most impressive shots you'll ever see.

Anderson had a break point at 7-7 and at 10-10, but he missed the first one as Isner hit an ace and the second one as he mishit a backhand.

"I feel pretty awful", Isner said in a news conference.


Djokovic-Nadal had clearly been the headline act of the day - they have five Wimbledon titles between them and met in the 2011 final while Anderson and Isner had never made the semifinals before - and their tennis was at another level from the earlier match.

With Isner serving at 24-24, 0-15, the right-handed Anderson fell down, dropped his racket, got up and played the point left-handed.

Three-time winner John McEnroe called for a rule change in commentary, suggesting there should be fifth-set tie-break at grand slams rather than wait for a clear victor.

"Right now I feel bad".

"I apologise if I´m not more excited right now". Isner is now leading the ace race with 160, but Anderson is not too far behind in third with 124 to his name.

Despite coming out on top, Anderson echoed those sentiments and suggested the duration of the match may have taken away from the spectacle for the fans - one of whom shouted, "Come on guys, we want to see Rafa!" in the 27th game of the decider.


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