An­der­son wins; No. 2 semi­fi­nal gets sus­pended

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - - Golf / ten­nis -

his­tory. It went more than 11 hours over three days and fin­ished 70-68 in the fifth on Court 18, which now bears a plaque com­mem­o­rat­ing it.

The con­testFri­day lasted so long, the day’s sec­ond semi­fi­nal didn’t fin­ish.

No­vak Djokovic was lead­ing Rafael Nadal, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (9), in a com­pelling show­down filled with en­ter­tain­ing points that was sus­pended as soon as the third set con­cluded at just past 11 p.m., the cur­few at the All Eng­land Club. Some peo­ple in the stands booed the de­ci­sion to halt the match af­ter a fan­tas­tic tiebreaker in which Nadal wasted three set points at 6-5, 7-6 and 8-7. Djokovic cashed in on his sec­ond when Nadal’s back­hand found the net af­ter an 18stroke ex­change.

Be­cause Nadal and Djokovic didn’t be­gin play­ing un­til af­ter 8 p.m., the re­tractable roof above the main sta­dium was shut be­tween the matches and the arena’s ar­ti­fi­cial lights were turned on. Now they’ll come back Satur­day to fig­ure out who will face An­der­son in the fi­nal, re­sum­ing at 1 p.m. lo­cal time, un­der the roof.

The women’s fi­nal be­tween Ser­ena Williams and An­gelique Ker­ber will then fol­low. That cre­ates an un­usual sit­u­a­tion: In­stead of a stan­dard 2 p.m. start, Williams and Ker­ber won’t know ex­actly when their match will be­gin.

An­der­son cer­tainly will ap­pre­ci­ate the chance to put his feet up ahead of the fi­nal Sun­day, while Nadal and Djokovic — who have a com­bined 29 Grand Slam ti­tles be­tween them, five at Wim­ble­don — push each other some more.

An­der­son’s fifth set alone lasted nearly 3 hours as his semi­fi­nal be­came a test of en­durance more than skill.

“He stayed the course in­cred­i­bly well,” said No. 9seeded Is­ner, 33, an Amer­i­can play­ing in his first ma­jor semi­fi­nal. “Just dis­ap­pointed to lose. I was pretty close to mak­ing a Grand Slam fi­nal an­dit didn’t hap­pen.”

An­der­son fi­nally earned the must-have, go-ahead ser­vice break with the help of a point in which the righthander tum­bled to his back­side, scram­bled back to his feet and hit a shot lefty.

“That def­i­nitely brings a smile to my face,” said An­der­son, the run­ner-up to Nadal at the 2017 U.S. Open. “At that stage, you’re just try­ing to fight in ev­ery sin­gle mo­ment, andI was like, ‘Just get up!’”

No. 8-seeded An­der­son elim­i­nated eight-time Wim­ble­don cham­pion Roger Fed­erer in a 13-11 fifth set Wed­nes­day in the quar­ter­fi­nals. Be­tween that and the en­er­gys­ap­per against Is­ner, it’s hard to imag­ine how An­der­son will have much left for his sec­ond Slam fi­nal.

Wim­ble­don doesn’t use tiebreak­ers in the fifth set for men, or third set for women, so there’s noth­ing to pre­vent a match from con­tin­u­ing ad in­fini­tum. Is­ner and An­der­son said they’d like to see that change.

At one point in the fifth set, a spec­ta­tor shouted, “Come on, guys! We want to see Rafa!”

As­so­ci­ated Press

John Is­ner re­ceives med­i­cal treat­ment dur­ing Fri­day’s Wim­ble­don semi­fi­nal that he lost af­ter 6½ hours of play.

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