ICYMI at Wimbledon - A looooong semifinal and unfinished business highlight wild day

Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon

GETTYRafael Nadal is among the favourites for the Wimbledon title

Kevin Anderson celebrates winning a point against John Isner during their long semifinal match Friday at Wimbledon.

The semi-final forced Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokoic to start their clash late with the first ball hit at 8:09pm (local time), meaning there was never really a chance the clash would be over before 11pm curfew. The 32-year-old has made six event finals since August 2017, including a display in last year's U.S. Open against Nadal.

Anderson agreed, adding: 'I really hope we can address this'. "For us to be out there for that..."

World number one Nadal, the 2008 and 2010 champion at the All England Club, trails Djokovic, the 2011, 2014, and 2015 victor, 26-25 in a rivalry which began at Roland Garros 12 years ago.

It is the third-longest match in tennis history, falling short of the 11 hours and five minutes that it took for Isner to beat France's Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in the fifth set in their first-round match at Wimbledon in 2010.

With the set tied at 24-24 Anderson somehow managed to break Isner's serve to lead 25-24 and then held to win an astonishing final set 26-24 and a place in his first Wimbledon final.

Three-time winner John McEnroe called for a rule change in commentary, suggesting there should be fifth-set tie-break at grand slams rather than wait for a clear victor. "I think it needs to be done".

The first semifinal at Centre Court, between No. 8 seed Kevin Anderson of South Africa and No. 9 John Isner of the US, features two powerful servers with similar games who have a lot less star power and considerably fewer Grand Slam trophies, to say the least: The Nadal-Djokovic combined count is 29, including five at Wimbledon.

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"I have to recover as much as I can for the final now".

The crowd grew restless as it left Centre Court ticket-holders waiting far longer than anticipated to watch icons of the sport Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic resume their enduring rivalry with a 52nd meeting on the ATP Tour in the other semifinal.

"You know somebody has to win".

But the 31-year-old has been rejuvenated at Wimbledon, sweeping into the semi-finals for the eighth time.

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.

"My results were not up to the standard that I had before", said Djokovic after beating Kei Nishikori in the quarterfinals. They combined for 102 aces: 53 by Isner, 49 by Anderson. "I have to say congratulations to John on a great tournament and hopefully he can come back stronger".

With the time approaching 10pm, that made it highly unlikely there would be a victor on Friday and both players knew how important that third set was likely to be.

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