Djokovic sent the strongest signal yet he is back at the top of tennis by reaching his fifth Wimbledon final with a 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (9), 3-6, 10-8 victory over rival Rafael Nadal on Saturday in a match suspended overnight.
While the U.S. Open would have a 6-6 fifth set end in a tiebreaker race to win by two, with every point building in importance and drama, Wimbledon uses advantage sets and insists that you must break your opponent's service game and win the set by two games to win the match.
When Djokovic converted his second set point in the tiebreaker - having saved three of Nadal's - the clock had ticked a couple of minutes past 11.
John Isner participated in yet another marathon match at Wimbledon, only this time the result was not what he would have wanted.
A showdown between two tennis skyscrapers - with Isner topping the 6 foot 8 Anderson by two inches - predictably featured three tiebreaks and 102 thunderbolt aces but it was the 32-year-old South African who delivered the knockout blow. It was Anderson's sixth break point, while Isner had had none so far. That total also was more than double the amount he's had in any match against Nadal (11, on two occasions).
Anderson pulled off the upset win over Roger Federer in a thrilling five-set match. When I headed into the locker room I told my nephew that we had a problem, since I had seen a very good tennis player. The games between Isner and Anderson ticked by with a comforting, metronomic regularity over the first three or four sets.
Nadal, the 2008 and 2010 champion, was playing in his first semi-final at the All England Club since 2011 when he finished runner-up to Djokovic.
Playing out the final set in deuce-ad games accomplishes no great goal in this day era of grueling, physical tennis other than allowing Grand Slam tournaments to declare themselves the wardens of tennis tradition, as if that automatically is equated with credibility or even superiority. "Best-of-five is what makes the Grand Slams unique", Isner told ESPN.com past year. "I had surgery when I was quite young, and my dad, who coached me throughout my career, said, 'learn to play left-handed.' I didn't know that was going to come into play at this point in my career, at this stage, but that was obviously a vital point for me in the end".
The 31-year-old is eyeing a 13th major after making the semi-finals of a Slam for the first time since finishing runner-up at the 2016 US Open.
Which means not only will they not have a day off, but the start time of the Serena Williams-Angelique Kerber women's final could be pushed to much later in the day. We're out there playing for seven hours. But there were, in fact, several breaks of serve. There was the deluge of aces (more than 100, in fact), the three tiebreakers, the final set that itself lasted almost three hours.
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