An­der­son out­lasts marathon man Is­ner to take it

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

IT WAS a case of bet­ter late than never as Kevin An­der­son reached his first Wimbledon fi­nal with a heart-stop­ping 7-6(6) 6-7(5) 6-7(9) 6-4 26-24 win yesterday over John Is­ner, the sport’s peren­nial marathon man.

Af­ter be­ing kept on the run for six hours and 36 min­utes, the long­est sin­gles semi-fi­nal at the All Eng­land club, how he was still stand­ing was any­one’s guess.

Play­ing Is­ner, who is en­shrined in Wimbledon folk­lore for win­ning the “end­less match” – an 11-hour five-minute hum- dinger against Ni­co­las Mahut in 2010 – An­der­son needed five nerve-shred­ding sets to top­ple the Amer­i­can and be­come the first South African man to reach the Wimbledon fi­nal for 97 years.

A show­down between two ten­nis sky­scrapers – with Is­ner top­ping the 2m-tall An­der­son by 5cm – pre­dictably fea­tured three tie-breaks and 102 thun­der­bolt aces, but it was the 32-year-old South African who de­liv­ered the knock-out blow.

Af­ter watch­ing Is­ner strike a weary fore­hand wide, An­der­son ad­vanced to the Wimbledon fi­nal at the 10th time of ask­ing.

The eighth seed will face ei­ther twice cham­pion Rafael Nadal or three- times win­ner No­vak Djokovic in to­mor­row’s fi­nal.

Brian Nor­ton was the last man to reach the fi­nal for South Africa in 1921.

To­day, an­other South African, Raven Klaasen, will con­test the dou­bles fi­nal along­side New Zealand’s Michael Venus. It is the first time in ten­nis’s Open era his­tory that South Africa is rep­re­sented in the sin­gles and the dou­bles fi­nal at a Grand Slam.

In reach­ing the fi­nal, Klaasen has equalled his best Grand Slam dou­bles per­for­mance. He also reached the fi­nal at the 2014 Aus­tralian Open along­side Eric Bu­torac in their first ap­pear­ance to­gether at a ma­jor (Lukasz Kubot/Robert Lind­st­edt). This is his 23rd Grand Slam ap­pear­ance.

Klaasen has won 14 dou­bles ti­tles with six dif­fer­ent part­ners, two on grass – at Halle with Ra­jeev Ram, both in 2015. – Reuters/African News Agency (ANA)

PIC­TURE: EPA-EFE/AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY (ANA)

South African ten­nis player Kevin An­der­son cel­e­brates a win against John Is­ner of the US in their semi-fi­nal match dur­ing the Wimbledon Cham­pi­onships in Lon­don, UK yesterday. See page 28

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