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14 July 2018, 02:58 | Pamela Mathis
GETTYMilos Raonic fought bravely but could not find a way past John Isner's serve
When Kevin Anderson lost his footing and fell on his backside while hitting a backhand on John Isner's serve in the men's semi-final at Wimbledon on Friday nobody would have blamed him if he did not bother getting up again.
"It's by far the best Grand Slam I've ever played in my career, and I've been playing for 11 years. At the end you feel like it is a draw, but someone has to win", a drained Anderson, who had sensationally beaten defending champion Roger Federer in another nail-biting five setter two days ago, said.
The 6-foot-10 Isner finally succumbed to the 6-foot-8 Anderson just before 8 p.m. local time in a grueling encounter full of plot twists in the longest men's semifinal in Wimbledon history.
The match took a flabbergasting six hours and 36 minutes from first serve to the moment Anderson clinched the match. Isner beat Mahut: 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3), 70-68.
Isner had nothing left to give, and his wait for a first Grand Slam final appearance will not come until at least the 42nd attempt, which is the record begrudgingly held by David Ferrer.
Anderson finished with 49 aces and 118 winners; Isner had 53 aces and 129 winners.
The victor of Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic awaits Anderson in Sunday's final. They traded breaks in games five and six in set number four as well and Anderson made one more push to seize another one in game nine, converting his fourth set point a few minutes later to bring the set home on own serve.
Of course, there was another player on the other side of the net - for whom Anderson's triumph was a tragedy: Isner.
The world was a demonstrably different place when Kevin Anderson and John Isner first took the court Friday for what would become a marathon Wimbledon semifinal. Isner wasted a set point in the opener.
Novak Djokovic broke Rafael Nadal in the seventh game before claiming the opening set 6-4 to put the pressure on the Spaniard in their semi-final.
After Anderson dropped the second set on a tiebreak despite making only one unforced error, a see-saw third set full of momentum changes followed, with both men creating chances, but unable to take them.
When two tall men, one 6ft 8in and the other taller by two inches, armed with games that are built around their huge commanding serves, face off against each other, the match nearly invariably proceeds along at least some foreseeable lines. "I don't know", Isner said.
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