John Isner loses to eight seed in longest semifinal match at Wimbledon

Adjust Comment Print

Djokovic-Nadal had clearly been the headline act of the day - they have five Wimbledon titles between them and met in the 2011 final while Anderson and Isner had never made the semifinals before - and their tennis was at another level from the earlier match.

World number one Nadal, the 2008 and 2010 champion at the All England Club, trails Djokovic, the 2011, 2014, and 2015 victor, 26-25 in a rivalry which began at Roland Garros 12 years ago. Isner and Anderson, both giants capable of enormous serves, just kept blasting the ball past each other, trading service and sides of the court as the rules dictated, but rarely ever competing in a compelling rally.

"I hope this is a sign for Grand Slams to change".

Wimbledon bosses closed the roof before the start but a 23:00 curfew meant the match will resume at 13:00 on Saturday.

Isner also took part in the longest match - period, no caveats - in tennis history, which, astoundingly, almost doubled the duration of Friday's contest.


Overall, Djokovic leads the head to head 26-25, but Nadal won their most recent grand-slam meeting - the 2014 French Open final, in four sets.

At one point in the fifth set, a spectator shouted, "Come on, guys!"

At least Anderson can boast of one runner-up finish, and it was recent, against Nadal at last year's U.S. Open.

The following year, Nadal downed the Serb, who was world number one at the time, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7, 9-7 in the semifinals in Paris, this time in four hours and 37 minutes.

He faced his friend and old college foe Kevin Anderson in the semifinals Friday, where he lost in a game that lasted more than six hours.


Anderson and Isner, who were meeting for the 12th time in their professional careers, played an extremely even bout to decide who would take on the victor of Friday's later semifinal, between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

John Isner already had won the longest match in Wimbledon - and tennis - history.

The 33-year-old American is best known, of course, for beating Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in the fifth set of an 11-hour, 5-minute match that was contested over three days in Wimbledon's first round in 2010. At 13-13 in the final set, one spectator screamed "we want to see Rafa!" Anderson had 49 aces in the victory.

Moreover, Djokovic has historically been a better grass-court player and could potentially be a little more rested, as he wasn't pushed almost as hard in his quarterfinal matchup.

The first three sets were decided by tiebreaker before Anderson won the fourth set.


Yet Anderson's previously impenetrable serve suddenly looked vulnerable and in the very next game Isner broke back, once again taking the set thundering towards another tie-break. On Wednesday, we saw Nadal's confidence, and even his intensity, briefly wane when Juan Martin del Potro forced his way into their quarterfinal late in the second set.

Comments