6-hour tennis match sets Wimbledon record

South Africa's Kevin Anderson defeated US player John Isner in a record match at Wimbledon lasting over six hours. CNN's Ravi Ubha reports.

Posted: Jul 15, 2018 2:40 PM
Updated: Jul 15, 2018 3:00 PM

Kevin Anderson outslugged fellow giant John Isner in a record match lasting six hours, 36 minutes to reach his first Wimbledon final.

The 6-foot-10 (208 cm) Isner finally succumbed to the 6-foot-8 (203 cm) Anderson just before 8 p.m. local time Friday in a grueling encounter full of plot twists in the longest men's semifinal in grand slam history and the third longest match of all time. It started at 1 p.m. local time.

The fifth set alone involved 50 games with Anderson eventually triumphing 7-6 (8-6) 6-7 (5-7) 6-7 (9-11) 6-4 26-24 in what was also the longest single-day match ever at the grass court tournament.

The result came two days after Anderson stunned eight-time champion Roger Federer in four hours and five more sets, saving a match point in the process.

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

"It was really tough for both of us. Somebody has to win, John is such a great guy and I really feel for him," added Anderson, who has known Isner for 14 years after their time playing college tennis in the US.

Nadal Djokovic

Anderson will face a giant of a different kind in the men's final Sunday -- either twice champion Rafael Nadal of Spain or three-time winner Novak Djokovic, who posted a picture on social media of himself playing marbles while waiting for Isner and Anderson to finish.

The pair faced off for a men's record 52nd time in their careers in the other semifinal, which Djokovic led 6-4 3-6 7-6 (13-11) when play was suspended at 11:03 p.m.

Although the All England Club has a retractable roof with lights, a curfew of 11 p.m. is implemented in order not to disturb its residential neighbors in southwest London. The match will resume Saturday ahead of the women's final between Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber.

Serbia's Djokovic had beaten the current world No. 1 in the 2011 final, the last time Nadal advanced beyond the fourth round until this year. And he held the upper hand Friday after saving three set points in the gripping tiebreak.

But if Nadal rallies, he would encounter Anderson in a second grand slam final in less than a year, having toppled the 32-year-old at the US Open last September.

Anderson calls for new format

In 2010, Isner famously won the longest tennis match of all time, beating France's Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in the final set in a contest that lasted 11 hours, 5 minutes, took three days to complete and featured 216 aces.

But his record in fifth sets slumped to 9-18 overall, including defeats of 19-17, 18-16, 12-10 and now 26-24.

"I feel pretty terrible," Isner said in a news conference. "My left heel is killing me. I have an awful blister on my right foot."

READ: Mahut no longer defined by epic match

The match time beat the previous Wimbledon semifinal record of four hours, 44 minutes set by Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro in 2013.

When asked how he would recover and play in the final Sunday, Anderson said: "It's tough, I really don't know."

The final set of a men's singles match at Wimbledon is traditionally decided by a difference of two games, like at the Australian Open and French Open. The US Open is the lone major that has a tiebreak in the deciding set.

Anderson called for change.

"It's a bit of a sign for the grand slams to change this five-set format," he said.

Isner, who lost his second-round match in 2010 because he could barely move after beating Mahut, agreed.

"if one person can't finish the other off before 12-all, then do a tiebreaker there," Isner said. "I think it's long overdue."

READ: Roger Federer suffers shock Wimbledon loss to Kevin Anderson

'House of horrors'

The match between Isner and Anderson -- the first South African male to reach the Wimbledon final since Brian Norton in 1921 -- featured 102 aces, with only 22 rallies going to nine points or more.

Isner, who previously said Wimbledon had become "a house of horrors" for him since his 2010 match, had been trying to become the first American man to reach the final since Andy Roddick in 2009.

READ: Isner makes first Wimbledon quarterfinal, hopes Trump will watch him

Isner's unbreakable run ends

Having served 284 aces between them to reach their first Wimbledon semifinal and first and second in aces on tour this year, not many service breaks were expected in the 12th duel between Anderson and Isner.

After Isner saved a set point at 5-4 in the first with a 129 mile-per-hour second serve into the body, the match went, predictably, to a tiebreak. At 6-5, Anderson saved a set point with a smash on his serve and went on to take the opener 7-6 (10-8) in 63 minutes on two errors by his opponent.

Anderson dropped the second set on a tiebreak despite making only one unforced error before a see-saw third full of momentum changes followed, with both men creating chances but unable to take them.

After two-and-a-half hours of play, Anderson managed to clinch the first break of serve in the match to end a run of 110 straight service games held by the 33-year-old at Wimbledon this fortnight.

Remarkably, Isner broke straight back as Anderson failed to serve it out from 5-3, 30-15.

138MPH serve

After saving two set points in the third set tiebreak, Anderson blew his first set point at 8-7 with a double fault. Another set point came at 9-8, but this time on Isner's serve, who saved it with a 138 mile-per-hour serve. The American roared and turned to his box as he took the third set on his third set point.

Having once again swapped breaks early on in the fourth set, Anderson broke Isner for the third time, and took the match into a decider on his fourth set point.

Grueling

"We don't want it to be 70-68, John," someone shouted from the crowd at 8-8.

Anderson had a break point at 7-7 and at 10-10, but he missed the first one as Isner hit an ace and the second one as he erred on a backhand passing shot.

Then, 122 minutes into the fifth set, the crowd went wild as a tired-looking Isner faced two more break points, only to save them with back-to-back aces as dark rain clouds gathered over Centre Court.

With Isner serving at 24-24, 0-15, the right-handed Anderson fell down, dropped his racket, got up and played the point left-handed. After 170 minutes into the fifth set, he finally broke Isner's serve as the American made a backhand error.

Meanwhile, Anderson didn't face a break point in the fifth set.

With Anderson serving for the final at 25-24, Isner handed his opponent two match points when a return sailed long. Anderson moved to his first Wimbledon final as Isner produced his 59th unforced error.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 117450

Reported Deaths: 3580
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion21403766
Lake10618323
Elkhart6667111
St. Joseph6576110
Allen6292203
Hamilton4909109
Vanderburgh371931
Hendricks2747123
Monroe262736
Tippecanoe252313
Johnson2338124
Clark223657
Porter217647
Delaware198562
Cass19549
Vigo184327
Madison168975
LaPorte147441
Floyd138963
Warrick134440
Howard131863
Kosciusko124817
Bartholomew117957
Marshall101224
Dubois99119
Boone98646
Grant93334
Hancock93243
Noble92532
Henry80926
Jackson7689
Wayne76814
Morgan72938
Daviess67728
Shelby67729
Dearborn66528
LaGrange63911
Clinton60914
Harrison58724
Putnam58112
Gibson5305
Knox5259
Lawrence51529
Montgomery51121
DeKalb48711
White48614
Decatur45839
Miami4383
Greene42735
Fayette42313
Jasper3992
Steuben3877
Scott38111
Posey3400
Sullivan33812
Jennings31612
Franklin31125
Ripley3038
Clay3025
Orange28824
Whitley2796
Carroll27713
Adams2743
Wabash2718
Washington2691
Starke2677
Wells2654
Spencer2593
Jefferson2483
Huntington2453
Fulton2412
Tipton22822
Perry22113
Randolph2207
Jay1880
Newton17311
Owen1711
Martin1680
Pike1621
Rush1574
Vermillion1300
Fountain1282
Blackford1203
Pulaski1131
Crawford1080
Brown1043
Parke1032
Benton870
Ohio797
Union790
Switzerland690
Warren401
Unassigned0226

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 150809

Reported Deaths: 4741
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin26961607
Cuyahoga17490656
Hamilton13191315
Montgomery7883163
Lucas7322364
Butler6040111
Summit5332252
Marion310347
Warren309649
Mahoning3073281
Stark2883175
Pickaway267844
Lorain231786
Delaware228120
Fairfield211853
Licking193663
Columbiana193280
Wood190272
Trumbull1896132
Clark181040
Clermont173123
Lake163851
Medina147539
Greene146533
Miami145451
Allen144169
Portage115566
Mercer113218
Erie94647
Tuscarawas93620
Wayne93668
Richland90319
Ross89024
Madison83012
Darke80442
Geauga72349
Belmont72227
Hancock71210
Athens7072
Ashtabula65948
Lawrence65922
Shelby64910
Auglaize6089
Putnam60823
Sandusky57720
Huron5517
Union5452
Scioto5117
Seneca48514
Ottawa46930
Preble44015
Muskingum4213
Holmes3909
Jefferson3364
Defiance32511
Henry31814
Logan3123
Champaign3083
Clinton29913
Perry2989
Brown2902
Knox28615
Jackson2636
Morrow2612
Washington26123
Hardin25613
Fulton2461
Crawford2446
Ashland2424
Coshocton23411
Fayette2326
Highland2303
Williams2133
Wyandot21312
Pike2000
Gallia19113
Meigs17610
Guernsey1708
Hocking1669
Carroll1527
Adams1354
Van Wert1233
Monroe11018
Paulding1100
Harrison643
Morgan490
Vinton473
Noble330
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Broken Clouds
59° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 59°
Angola
Overcast
55° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 55°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
56° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 56°
Decatur
Scattered Clouds
54° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 54°
Van Wert
Scattered Clouds
54° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 54°
Fall-like Tuesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events