Published: Sat, July 14, 2018
Sport | By Victor Mcdonald

Wimbledon: Calls for tiebreaks to end ‘absurd’ fifth set contests grow louder

Wimbledon: Calls for tiebreaks to end ‘absurd’ fifth set contests grow louder

In front of an exhausted London crowd that was still awaiting a far more anticipated semifinal match to come - Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic - Anderson eventually got Isner to blink, breaking his serve and going on to win, but needing 50 games in the final set that eventually ended, 7-6 (6), 6-7 (5), 6-7 (9), 6-4, 26-24.

The match was the second-longest in professional tennis history, behind only Isner's record 11-hour, five-minute first-round Wimbledon triumph over Frenchman Nicolas Mahut in 2010.

Assuming Anderson is able to walk and raise his serving arm, Sunday will make his second major final appearance after the 2017 US Open, when he lost in straight sets to Nadal.

Friday's match was the third-longest in men's tennis history, less than 10 minutes shorter than the six-hour, 43-minute single-day match between Leonardo Mayer and João Souza at the 2015 Davis Cup.

"I don´t really know what to say right now, playing like that in those conditions was really tough for the both of us", said eighth seed Anderson.

"You feel like this is a draw for the two of us, but somebody has to win."
I really feel for him.

"I think if you ask the players, when you get stuck in these positions, playing such long matches, it's very tiring". I apologize if I'm not fully excited right now. "At the end you don´t even feel that great out there, but at the same time I´m through to the final".

It is a match that featured 102 thunderbolt aces, 264 unreturned serves and 247 bone-rattling winners but none of those will stand out as much as the heart and desire of the two combatants as both tried to reach their first Wimbledon final.

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It was sheer madness as the second semifinal between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal had to start under the roof, with a possibility of not finishing the match on Friday turning into reality when play was stopped mid-match.

He had also gone five sets to beat eight-time champion Roger Federer in the quarter-finals, winning the decider 13-11. Nadal leads overall (26-25) and at Grand Slam tournaments (9-4), while they're even at Wimbledon (1-1), where Djokovic won their 2011 final.

For the first time in the Open era, the semi-finals were made up exclusively of players over 30.

The players exchanged breaks again at the beginning of the fourth set, before Anderson grabbed a crucial break at 4-4 and served out.

The 33-year-old American´s composure wasn´t helped by a delay caused by a ball boy slipping and falling. The other three majors all play out the fifth set until the victor is ahead by two games. The American roared and turned to his box as he took the third set on his third set point. The South African would then hold his serve and book his trip to the Wimbledon final.

In addition to his own 161 aces, the 208cm-tall Isner has won every single one of his 95 service games, facing a measly seven break points in five matches.

This will be the 52nd meeting between 17-time major champion Nadal and 12-time major champ Djokovic, more than any other two men ever have played each other.

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