Anderson, Isner demand change after epic as Nadal and Djokovic halted


But there were, in fact, several breaks of serve.

Rafael Nadal said he was proud and had nothing to reproach himself for after losing a top-quality Wimbledon semi-final to great rival Novak Djokovic on Saturday. The Serbian 12th seed fired five aces and 14 winners.

The Spaniard Nadal was up a break in the final set but Djokovic clawed his way back to level the score at 4-4.

When Nadal made two unforced errors on his trusty forehand in the next game Djokovic was two points from victory - but Nadal slammed the door with four first serves.

Friday proved to be another long day for Anderson, who said after the match that he hoped the 50-game fifth set would be "a sign for Grand Slams to change". We played each other in college probably three, four, five times. I'm definitely going to have to recover as much as I can.

It was a case of better late than never as Kevin Anderson reached his first Wimbledon final with a heart-stopping 7-6 (6) 6-7 (5) 6-7 (9) 6-4 26-24 win over the sport's perennial ultra marathon man John Isner on Friday. They combined for 102 aces: 53 by Isner, 49 by Anderson.

When Kevin was 12 years old, he used to compete against Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal on the juniors circuit.

The start of the match had been delayed by the other men's semifinal, in which Kevin Anderson defeated John Isner in the second longest match in Wimbledon history.

Jamie Murray and Victoria Azarenka beat the British pair of Jay Clarke and Harriet Dart 6-2 6-2 to storm into the mixed doubles final.

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"We're duking it out in the semi-finals".

With women's singles finalists Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber waiting in the locker room, Djokovic and Nadal hogged the stage as they continued where they left off the night before under the Centre Court roof.

American Isner was a 6-7 (5/7) 7-6 (9/7) 6-4 6-3 victor against Canadian Milos Raonic. The third seeds face American Nicole Melichar and Czech Kveta Peschke, seeded 12th, in the title match.

Until Friday, he had not dropped serve until Anderson halted that run at 110 service games in the third set. However, the American broke right back before forcing a tiebreak. The match shattered Wimbledon semifinal records for the number of games as well as duration - besting the previous mark by 1 hour, 52 minutes.

Along the way, they have fought out a series of classic and epic battles including Djokovic's 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 7-5 Australian Open final victory in 2012.

Meanwhile, Anderson and Isner called for Grand Slam chiefs to introduce a cut-off point for final set marathons.

A 19th ace of the match bailed American Isner out of a potentially hard situation.

With Anderson serving for the final at 25-24, Isner handed his opponent two match points when a return sailed long. Given the drama of Anderson's prolonged tie-break-fest against John Isner, that is no certainty.