Anderson clearly had the edge though, as he did not have to face a single break point in the final set and forced Isner, who was clearly looking like the more tired player, to battle his way out of numerous 0-30 holes.
His ultramarathon loss to Kevin Anderson, by that score and over all those hours, in the Wimbledon semifinals on Friday amounted to the longest Grand Slam singles semifinal in tennis history. 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.
After taking a medical timeout after the third set, Anderson surprisingly broke Isner's serve at 2-all in the fourth. Isner was 8-3 lifetime versus Anderson coming into the match. Between that and the energy-sapper against Isner, it's hard to imagine how Anderson will have much left for Sunday's final, his second at a major.
While Nadal hasn't really been off the scene at all, Djokovic is ending a string of five straight majors in which he didn't play a semifinal match - his longest such stretch since 2006.
Into the decider they went, and a grim treadmill of service holds persisted until, at 17-17 all, Anderson found himself with two break points, only for two aces to prolong proceedings. "I really do. I think with the performances I've had, I deserve to be in the semifinals", he continued. "I really hope we can look at it and address this because at the end you don't even feel that great out there".
This time, there was to be no tiebreak as the final set at Wimbledon is traditionally decided by a difference of two games.
Djokovic immediately broke back, but then Nadal regained the advantage in the following game with a forehand victor. "At the end you feel like it is a draw, but someone has to win", a drained Anderson, who had sensationally beaten defending champion Roger Federer in another nail-biting five setter two days ago, said.
For Nadal, victory would put him in a sixth Wimbledon final and 25th at the majors.
There's no doubt Djokovic will be a big favorite, even if he did need to play almost 2 hours Saturday while Anderson was able to rest and relax and recover.
That's how the U.S. Open settles things at 6-all in the fifth set of a men's singles match - or at 6-all in the third set for women - and has since 1970.
"If I talk about it, then you are going to write about this, and I don't want you to write about this today". I give it my best, and that's it.
Nadal, 32, is back in the semi-finals at Wimbledon for the first time since 2011 when he finished runner-up to Djokovic. A few days' rest, maybe more than that, and I'll recoup and try to get all healed up again. He converted his second set point when Nadal netted a backhand, minutes past the tournament's 11 p.m. curfew.
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