Published: Wed, July 18, 2018
Sport | By Patty Hardy

Isner wins serving battle vs Raonic to reach Wimbledon semis

Isner wins serving battle vs Raonic to reach Wimbledon semis

Djokovic saved that set point but Nadal earned another with a whipped forehand victor.

That moment, which took 99 grueling games to reach, sent the 32-year-old South African through to the final on Sunday, where he will play one of two legends of the sport, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

Novak Djokovic (12), Serbia, leads Rafael Nadal (2), Spain, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (9), completion of suspended match.

Because the match started Friday with the roof closed, it remained closed when Nadal and Djokovic took the court Saturday.

Friday's marathon was the longest semi-final ever played at Wimbledon, surpassing the four hours 44 minutes it took Djokovic to beat Juan Martin del Potro in 2013.It also passed the previous mark for the second longest match at a Slam of six hours and 33 minutes which Fabrice Santoro spent seeing off Arnaud Clement in the 2004 French Open. Just playing like that in those conditions was really tough on both of us.

At 7-8 Nadal won a brutal 21-stroke rally with a smash, raising his arms aloft as the crowd roared, then saved a match point with a backhand dropshot that had an eye-bulging Djokovic sprawling across the turf.

Nadal, meanwhile, is appearing in his first Wimbledon semifinal since 2011.

When Nadal broke in Saturday's second game, a dismayed Djokovic grabbed a spare ball and whacked it with his racket against the wall behind the baseline.

John Isner will face Kevin Anderson in the Wimbledon semifinals after the American ninth seed won the battle of the big servers against Milos Raonic on Wednesday. Novak is in the range as well, hitting a return victor for a deuce and he creates a break point, only to be denied by Nadal's service victor, as often when he was in danger in this match. The two will play at Wimbledon on Friday for the third time, with their record an even 1-1.

Anderson and Isner walked on to Centre Court at 1pm for a big-serving showdown which many thought might go the distance.

The first two sets had taken just under two hours. It's been a roller-coaster for him in the last couple of rounds but he had a day off and that means a lot. "It is what it is, I'm in the final of Wimbledon and it's an incredible achievement for me". "I'm going to have to recover as much as I can and to try to be as ready, as fresh as possible".

"Congratulations to John for such a great tournament and I'm sure he'll come back stronger soon". The last American man to win a Grand Slam singles title was Andy Roddick at the 2003 US Open.

"They've paid to see two matches, and they came pretty close to only seeing one match", Anderson said.

"I apologize I'm not more excited right now", he continued. I've felt better before.

At Wimbledon, there are no fifth-set tiebreaks, a rule with which Isner is extremely familiar, so one of the players was going to have to break the other's serve at least once in order to reach the final. Next door to us was Sloane Stephens, the US Open champion and one of many seeded women to exit the tournament early.

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