After 6-hour, 35-minute match, Kevin Anderson defeats John Isner, of Delray Beach, to earn a spot in the men’s finals against either Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal, whose game was suspended at curfew.
LONDON — They were supposed to be the warmup act to a main course featuring superstars with 29 major championships between them.
But Kevin Anderson and John Isner, with zero Grand Slam titles to their name, doggedly refused to quit Friday at Wimbledon.
In a 6-hour, 35-minute semifinal match, Anderson finally won 7-6 (6), 6-7 (5), 6-7 (9), 6-4 and a whopping 26-24.
“I tried as much as I could to just keep fighting,” Anderson said. “I take a lot of pride in that. Fortunately, I was able to find a way over the finish line.”
That secured him a spot in Sunday’s final against Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal, whose match was suspended Friday night because of an 11 p.m. curfew. That match will resume Saturday with Djokovic up 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (9).
Also Saturday, Serena Williams will play Angelique Kerber in the women’s final.
Isner’s name was already synonymous with marathons. At Wimbledon in 2010, his first-round match against Nicolas Mahut was the longest in tennis history, lasting 11 hours, 5 minutes over three days. But playing the two longest matches in Wimbledon history means little to him.
“That’s no consolation to me,” he said. “It’s more just disappointed to lose. I was pretty close to making a Grand Slam final, and it didn’t happen.”
Isner, of Delray Beach, was looking to become the first American since Andy Roddick in 2009 to reach a Grand Slam final.
“I competed hard,” Isner said. “That’s what I have to be proud of. It stinks to lose, but I gave it everything I had.”
The question for Anderson is: How does he recover after such a grueling match? The win came on the heels of a quarterfinal upset of Roger Federer that went to 13-11 in the fifth set.
“I need a lot of treatment in terms of getting the body back balanced and stuff, but at the same time, sleep is important too,” he said.
Isner and Anderson said their match should rekindle the debate about having some type of tiebreaker in the fifth set at Wimbledon.
Kevin Anderson celebrates a point in his marathon fiveset victory over John Isner in the semifinals Friday.