After many, many hours, Anderson beats Isner in Wimbledon semis

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     FAMILY Federer's wife Mirka with their four children at Wimbledon

When Djokovic converted his second set point in the tiebreaker - having saved three of Nadal's - the clock had ticked a couple of minutes past 11.

Then, 122 minutes into the fifth set, the crowd went wild as a tired-looking Isner faced two more break points, only to save them with back-to-back aces as dark rain clouds gathered over Centre Court.

The Serb, a three-time Wimbledon champion, is ahead 6-4 3-6 7-6 (11-9).

Djokovic retired in that match because of a toe blister. The South African is 1-5 against Djokovic.

It's very likely now that the women's final between Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber will now be delayed from its usual 2pm start.

Anderson, 32, will face either Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic in Sunday's final.

It was the kind of ingeniousness that was needed to break the serve-hold-serve-hold deadlock that went on for nearly three hours in the deciding set alone as Anderson became the first South African man in 97 years to reach the Wimbledon final.

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Now the superstar quartet 's reign is under siege from serving bombers Isner and Anderson, who have rocketed down some 284 untouchable deliveries in their first-time forays to the final four at The All England Club. "Just disappointed to lose". "It's pretty tough in the format that we have right now, especially at Slams". It culminated in a gruelling 50-game final set in which the South African got to love-30 against Isner's serve on several occasions, but just couldn't pull off a service break.

"At that stage, you're just trying to fight in every single moment", he said. Between that and the energy-sapper against Isner, it's hard to imagine how Anderson will have much left for his second Slam final. "I'm a different person, different player today", Djokovic said.

One spectator called out, "Come on, guys!"

Back and fully healthy, Djokovic and Nadal should give us a match to see.

The 6-foot-10 Isner and the 6-foot-8 Anderson had played 11 times before on tour, but they also faced each other in college, including in the 2007 NCAA finals, which Isner won.

But this one was as competitive and close as can be.

There wasn't a whole lot of intrigue, or momentum shifts. It was past 8 p.m.in London when Anderson and Isner wrapped up, meaning the second semifinal could extend into Saturday. They combined for 102 aces, 53 by Isner, 49 by Anderson.

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"Didn't want to get fined", Isner said.

Both failed to seize early opportunities. And he held the upper hand Friday after saving three set points in the gripping tiebreak.

Instead, the two players - and a disappointed audience - were sent home after the third set on Friday with Djokovic leading 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (9) following a tense tiebreaker that had more entertaining rallies than some entire matches. The crowd. they're pretty antsy for us to get off the court.

Could we be about to see the sixth and last break of a match that would end up with 90 holds?

Stunned, Isner hit the net and eventually lost the game.

"I apologize I'm not more excited right now", he continued.

With Anderson serving for the final at 25-24, Isner handed his opponent two match points when a return sailed long.

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Croatia lost that encounter 2-1 before going on to secure bronze - until Wednesday their best performance at a global finals. We did not forget the doubts about us at the beginning of the competition, about our ability to play together.

The ridiculous length of the Anderson-Isner clash left Nadal and Djokovic waiting until 8pm local time before stepping on court for their box office semi- final.

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