Djokovic, Nadal can't be separated, Wimbledon semi-final runs into second day

Roger Federer Wimbledon

GETTYKevin Anderson is through to the semi-finals

Former Illini Kevin Anderson put together a slightly cleaner game than foe John Isner.

The Isner-Anderson semi-final was expected to serve as a warm-up to Friday's main event on Centre Court between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

"I don't really know what to say right now", Anderson told the BBC.

Nadal has won the last two matchups, but those were both on clay, and Djokovic won the previous seven pre-2017 and pre-elbow injury.

However, he recovered quickly, denying Nadal several set points with some spectacular tennis before ending the night up a set at 6-4 3-5 7-6 (11-9). But if and when Djokovic does break serve, or win a set, or save a set point, or do something to fire himself up and sow doubt in Nadal's head, all of that could be turned upside-down in a hurry, the same way their rivalry has been turned upside-down in a hurry in the past.

Our recommended way to watch Nadal vs Djokovic online without cable is via Hulu Live TV with Wimbledon coverage.

John Isner of the USA leaves the court after being defeated by Kevin Anderson of South Africa in the men's semifinal match at Wimbledon on Friday.

They played until approximately 11 p.m. local time under the roof, when play was suspended.

Their record in Wimbledon matches is 1-1, with Nadal winning the 2007 semi-final to go with Djokovic's final victory four years later.

He faced his friend and old college foe Kevin Anderson in the semifinals Friday, where he lost in a game that lasted more than six hours.

The three-time Wimbledon remains the only player on the ATP Tour capable of defeating the pair on their favoured surfaces and he relished the cooler conditions. "Just disappointed to lose".

Anderson had break points in the 15th, 21st and 35th games of the decider before taking victory when a tired Isner hit long.

This was a match with two of the biggest servers in the game and neither disappointed in the aces department with 102 served, 49 by Anderson and 53 by the American eighth seed. "At that stage, you're just trying to fight in every single moment, and I was like, 'Just get up!"' The mammoth match, which Anderson won 26-24 in the fifth set, broke a few Wimbledon records along the way. Anderson is a righty, prompting the Wimbledon crowd collectively gasp at the play.

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Immediately, though, she broke back at love to end it, placing her left fist on her chest when Goerges' last shot landed long. Kerber is going to need every bit of her powerful return game and relentless hitting to force Williams to make mistakes.

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.

While both of those Nadal victories came on clay, they may set the tone for how this match begins.

Indeed, one tired spectator had had enough in the 27th game of a grueling fifth set that seemed to be dragging on with no end in sight as he heckled: "C'mon guys, we want to see Rafa!" Isner pounded his at up to 142 miles per hour; Anderson reached 136 miles per hour.

"With how I'm feeling physically and mentally, I'm in a very good spot", Isner said in his post-match press conference. Isner wasted a set point in the opener.

But that break in the eighth game of the third set did not hurt anything like the moment when he finally slapped a tired forehand wide at 7.46pm local time to surrender his title hopes.

In a column in the London Evening Standard, nine-time Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova said her "dream match" would have been on Centre Court against Serena Williams.

Could we be about to see the sixth and last break of a match that would end up with 90 holds? But Anderson roared back, outlasting the great Swiss to win 2-6 6-7 7-5 6-4 13-11. The 10-all game ended with Isner hitting a forehand passing victor on the run to hold, then letting his momentum carry him directly to his sideline chair, where he plopped himself down.

"I feel pretty bad".

"I like the level of tennis that I'm playing on right now".

He couldn´t capitalise, however, and was broken straight back before Isner claimed the ensuing tiebreak having saved two set points.

The intense battle saw the two tennis stars going head-to-head for over 6 hours and 35 minutes, in a match that was termed as an "instant classic" by the commentators.

Soon, they were meeting for an embrace.

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