Monday, 20 August, 2018

'I didn't have a bad performance against Kevin Anderson'

Top five epic matches between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic Kevin Anderson topples marathon man John Isner in longest ever Wimbledon semifinal
Jennie Wade | 15 July, 2018, 17:05

To say that both Kevin Anderson and Novak Djokovic have taken the long road to this year's Wimbledon Men's Singles final would be a gross understatement.

The 32-year-old Anderson triumphed 7-6 (8/6), 6-7 (5/7), 6-7 (9/11), 6-4, 26-24 after six hours and 36 minutes on Centre Court.

In a first-round Wimbledon match in 2010, Isner battled Nicolas Mahut in a fifth set that dragged out three days, finally ending in Isner's favor, 70-68.

It was also the second longest match at a Slam, beating the six hours and 33 minutes which Fabrice Santoro spent seeing off Arnaud Clement in the 2004 French Open.

When asked after his victory about Anderson, Djokovic said: "Well, I mean, considering he's playing only his second grand slam final, obviously he has a lot more to gain". I really feel for him. Anderson is going to have to play the match of his life on Centre Court.

"I apologise if I´m not more excited right now". So if I would have won in straight sets, then it could have been all right, you know, because I would have had a great first set, and second set was whatever it was.

Of the 22 sets they've had available to play in their matches, they've used 17 of them, or 77%, making them one of the more likely pairings in the men's game to go the distance.

"It's hard to pick the words, I'm just going through things, the flashbacks and everything I've been through to get here, to get to finals, to win against the best player in the world", he told BBC Sport.

After splitting the first two sets, Djokovic and Nadal played to a tiebreaker in the third set.

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With the time approaching 10pm, that made it highly unlikely there would be a victor yesterday, and both players knew how important that third set was likely to be. Anderson won the toss and will serve first. But there were, in fact, several breaks of serve.

All the doomsayers against the case for Anderson winning will be putting plenty of stock on Nadal's annihilation of him in last year's US Open final. Anderson fell to his backside trying to return an Isner serve, but got to his feet with his racket in his off hand.

Another hold for 3-1.

In the 50th game, Isner took down the opening point before Anderson captured the next four - including two on aces.

Isner said that being part of yet another record-breaking match did not help ease his pain. Nadal and Djokovic regularly - and spectacularly - ran down shots to force long rallies, drawing gasps and cheers from the appreciative crowd.

Novak Djokovic was understandably emotional as he gave a post-match interview immediately after booking his place in Sunday's final.

"I'm in the finals of Wimbledon".

Djokovic, meanwhile, is seeking a fifth final at the All England Club and 22nd at the Slams.

The 2018 final is Anderson's second career grand slam final after making it to the US Open final past year before losing in straight sets to Rafael Nadal.

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