Anderson outlasts marathon man Isner to take it
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)
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