South African tennis star Kevin Anderson is having the tournament of his dreams after he booked a spot in Sunday’s Wimbledon Open final with victory over American John Isner in the longest semifinal match in SW19 history.
The eighth seed saw off Isner 7-6 (8-6) 6-7 (5-7) 6-7 (9-11) 6-4 26-24 in six hours and 35 minutes to break the previous semifinal record of four hours and 44 minutes when former world number one Novak Djokovic of Serbia defeated Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro during the 2013 edition.
The last set alone lasted for two hours and 50 minutes.
Kevin Anderson, 32, will now face either Djokovic or Spaniard Rafael Nadal in the final on Sunday with the Serbian leading two sets to one before play was suspended on Friday night.
The Kevin Anderson-John Isner match is the third-longest in tennis history behind the 2015 Davis Cup first-round match between Argentine Leonardo Mayer and Joao Souza of Brazil (6 hours and 43 minutes) and 2010 Wimbledon Open first-round match between Isner and Nicolas Mahut of France (11 hours and five minutes), where Isner beat Mahut 70-68 in the fifth set.
On his win, Anderson told the BBCSport that: “I don’t know what to say right now. just playing like that in those conditions was tough on both of us.”
“You feel like it is a draw, but someone has to win. John is a great guy and I feel for him. If I was on the opposite side, I don’t know how you take it – getting through something like that is quite different.
“I have known John for such a long time, he is a great guy. To be honest he has pushed me through my career and had a great one himself.
“I have pushed myself harder because of the success he has had. I have to say congratulations to John on a great tournament and hopefully he can come back stronger.” He concluded.
On his own part, Isner reacted to his defeat by saying: “My foot was really bothering me with this blister that had come on,” he said.
“I felt all right out there. I mean, now I feel much worse, once you come down from the match. You have a lot of adrenaline and whatnot, that helps. That can mask a lot of things.
“I competed hard. That’s what it comes down to. That’s what I have to be proud of. It stinks to lose, but I gave it everything I had out there. I just lost to someone who is just a little bit better at the end and I guess he just won a little bit more of the bigger points.
“Right now I feel terrible. I work hard at what I do. I feel like I’m in pretty good shape. I think it showed out there today.” He concluded.