South African Kevin Anderson beat American John Isner 7-6 (8-6), 6-7 (5-7), 6-7 (9-11), 6-4, 26-24 in a six hour, 35-minute Wimbledon semi-final on Friday.
It was the second longest Wimbledon match ever, with the fifth set alone lasting for two hours and 50 minutes.
Having gone 30-0 up on Isner’s serves several times in the fifth set, only for the American’s booming serve to save him, Anderson finally broke him in the 49th game of the set and then held serve to clinch a famous win.
The longest ever Wimbledon match had also involved Isner, who needed 11 hours and five minutes to beat Nicolas Mahut in the first round in 2010, taking the fifth set 70-68.
Anderson became the first South African man to reach the Wimbledon decider since Brian Norton in 1921 (South African-born Kevin Curren played under the American flag in 1985 when he lost to Boris Becker).
Anderson gave a gracious interview after the match in which he credited his opponent. However, the 32-year-old also questioned Wimbledon’s policy not to have a fifth-set tiebreak, with a player having to win by a two-game margin after reaching 6-6.
‘I hope this is a sign for Grand Slams to change,’ said Anderson. ‘For us to be out there for that length of time… I really hope we can look at this, because at the end you don’t feel great.
‘I have to recover as much as I can for the final now. It will take time to process it but I’m in the final of Wimbledon and that’s a dream come true.’
Anderson will face either Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic in Sunday’s final. Djokovic was leading 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (11-9) when play was suspended. The semi-final will continue on Saturday.