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The Inter Milan man netted a screamer just prior to the half-hour mark to get Croatia back on level terms.
Video: Croatia tenacity, Perisic blast levels at 1-1
The Inter Milan man netted a screamer just prior to the half-hour mark to get Croatia back on level terms.
The Inter Milan man netted a screamer just prior to the half-hour mark to get Croatia back on level terms.
Video: Croatia tenacity, Perisic blast levels at 1-1
The Inter Milan man netted a screamer just prior to the half-hour mark to get Croatia back on level terms.
Ahead of their World Cup Final showdown with France today, we take a look at the Croatia World Cup squad, their strengths and weaknesses, and everything else you need to know. Croatia's World Cup squad - the 23 names Goalkeepers: Danijel Subasic (Monaco), Lovre Kalinic (Gent), Dominik Livakovic (Dinamo Zagreb) Defenders: Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), Domagoj Vida (Besiktas), Ivan Strinic (Sampdoria), Dejan Lovren (Liverpool), Sime Vrsaljko (Atletico Madrid), Josip Pivaric (Dynamo Kiev), Tin Jedvaj (Bayer Leverkusen), Duje Caleta-Car (Red Bull Salzburg) Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona), Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid), Milan Badelj (Fiorentina), Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan), Filip Bradaric (Rijeka) Forwards: Mario Mandzukic (Juventus), Ivan Perisic (Inter Milan), Nikola Kalinic (AC Milan), Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim), Marko Pjaca (Schalke), Ante Rebic (Eintracht Frankfurt) Croatia have reached their first ever final Credit: Getty Images How do they play? In Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, Croatia have arguably the best central midfield in the competition. Everything flows through them, but Mario Mandzukic is an excellent frontman and Dejan Lovren has enjoyed a fine tournament at the back. Keep an eye out, too, for Ivan Perisic, a man Jose Mourinho desperately wanted to bring to Manchester United last summer and who gave England a torrid time in the semis. What is their form like? Croatia were arguably the best side in the group stages, with their 3-0 win over Argentina certainly the finest individual performance, while they comfortably beat Nigeria and still won against Iceland despite resting a number of key players. They were less impressive in the early knockout round, requiring penalties to beat both Denmark and the hosts, Russia. But they came back to life against England, dominating the latter stages, with Modric saying: "We dominated the game physically, mentally, in all aspects." Croatia's World Cup 2018 fixtures and results Group stage: Croatia 2 Nigeria 0 Group stage: Argentina 0 Croatia 3 Group stage: Iceland 1 Croatia 2 Last 16: Croatia 1 (3 penalties) Denmark 1 (2 penalties) Quarter-final: Russia 2 (3 penalties) Croatia 2 (4 penalties) Semi-final: Croatia 2 England 1 (aet) Final: vs France on July 15 Have Croatia ever won the World Cup? Twenty years ago Croatia reached the last four with a brilliant team including the likes of Davor Suker, Zvonomir Boban and Slaven Bilic. They knocked Germany out in the last eight before losing to France in the semi-finals, but since then they have struggled - until this year. Group-stage exits in 2002, 2006 and 2014 were split by a failure to qualify in 2010 but this Croatian side is the best since those days of the late 90s. And now they are in their first ever World Cup final, 90 minute away from becoming immortals. World Cup record: Croatia What's their history with France? France are the team that knocked Croatia out of their World Cup semi-final in 1998. "There is no weakness in a team which is in the final," Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said of France, after his side beat England. "They are a top-drawer team with fantastic players. "But we are going to discuss France later. We're taking it step by step. "We've entered the final. We're going to celebrate, to rest and then we will prepare for France. "We're facing another daunting task but it's going to be a fantastic match. We are ready for it. I am sure everybody will enjoy watching that match. I have huge respect for France." What odds are Croatia to win the World Cup Croatia are now 2/1 to win the competition. The kits See where do Croatia's shirts end up in our ranking of all 64 World Cup shirts below: World Cup kits ranked Who's the coach? Zlatko Dalic secured Croatia's passage to the World Cup with a play-off victory against Greece Credit: AFP Zlatko Dalic was appointed last year after a successful three-year stint in charge of Al-Ain in the United Arab Emirates. A defensive midfielder in his playing days, Dalic guided Croatia to a 4-1 aggregate win over Greece in the play-offs to secure their place in Russia. If he now leads them to victory in the World Cup Final against France, he will become one of the most famous men in Croatian history. Who's the star? Real Madrid's Luka Modric is a beautiful midfielder whose vision, passing and ability to prompt teammates is as good as it gets. What are their strengths? Luka Modric has won four Champions League titles with Real Madrid Credit: Getty Images Luka Modrić may well be the best midfielder in the world right now. He's been indispensable to Real Madrid through their recent period of European dominance, and is near-impossible to mark. This Croatia team are World Cup finalists thanks to his goals, assists and leadership. Worth re-watching Croatia's demolition of Argentina to appreciate just how good he can be. His partner Ivan Rakitic is quite handy too, and will graft in midfield giving Modric the freedom to roam. And Mario Mandzukic, at 32, is still a predator in the box - he scored the winning goal to knock England out. And their weaknesses Croatia have conceded more set-pieces than anyone else at the World Cup Credit: Getty Images Set-pieces. Croatia have conceded more goals from set-pieces than anyone else. They will have to avoid giving away silly free-kicks or unnecessary corners if they want to nullify the likes of Samuel Umtiti, Olivier Giroud and Raphaël Varane. Their defence also lacks pace. In the semi-final against England, Raheem Sterling caused Domagoj Vida and Dejan Lovren all sorts of issues in the first half. Just imagine what Kylian Mbappe will do. Best thing about them Quality and experience all over the pitch, from 111-cap Luka Modric to 97-cap Ivan Rakitić, the Barcelona midfielder, and powerful forward Mario Mandzukic of Juventus. Worst thing about them First XI looks a serious outfit but is not the youngest and there's a gulf in quality to the squad players. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more You may recognise… Dejan Lovren has markedly improved since Liverpool signed Virgil van Dijk alongside him at centre-half but remains a candidate for a big-match howler. Cameramen will be picking out… Fans in their splendid red-and-white cheesecloth, singing Europop. Croatia fans have an unusually large appetite for official team songs. Fans' favourite chant Hopefully nothing racist; Croatia have quite a bit of previous for this. Any famous faces in the crowd? Mainly former footballers. Davor Suker is now the President of the Croatian FA and attends every game, while another President - head of the government Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic - is a vociferous fan who is happy to wear her replica kit cheer from the VIP section. There was also an excellent - albeit unverified - story recently that American actor Clint Eastwood has become a fan and requested a Croatian shirt to be sent to him. WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
Croatia World Cup 2018 squad guide and latest team news
Ahead of their World Cup Final showdown with France today, we take a look at the Croatia World Cup squad, their strengths and weaknesses, and everything else you need to know. Croatia's World Cup squad - the 23 names Goalkeepers: Danijel Subasic (Monaco), Lovre Kalinic (Gent), Dominik Livakovic (Dinamo Zagreb) Defenders: Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), Domagoj Vida (Besiktas), Ivan Strinic (Sampdoria), Dejan Lovren (Liverpool), Sime Vrsaljko (Atletico Madrid), Josip Pivaric (Dynamo Kiev), Tin Jedvaj (Bayer Leverkusen), Duje Caleta-Car (Red Bull Salzburg) Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona), Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid), Milan Badelj (Fiorentina), Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan), Filip Bradaric (Rijeka) Forwards: Mario Mandzukic (Juventus), Ivan Perisic (Inter Milan), Nikola Kalinic (AC Milan), Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim), Marko Pjaca (Schalke), Ante Rebic (Eintracht Frankfurt) Croatia have reached their first ever final Credit: Getty Images How do they play? In Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, Croatia have arguably the best central midfield in the competition. Everything flows through them, but Mario Mandzukic is an excellent frontman and Dejan Lovren has enjoyed a fine tournament at the back. Keep an eye out, too, for Ivan Perisic, a man Jose Mourinho desperately wanted to bring to Manchester United last summer and who gave England a torrid time in the semis. What is their form like? Croatia were arguably the best side in the group stages, with their 3-0 win over Argentina certainly the finest individual performance, while they comfortably beat Nigeria and still won against Iceland despite resting a number of key players. They were less impressive in the early knockout round, requiring penalties to beat both Denmark and the hosts, Russia. But they came back to life against England, dominating the latter stages, with Modric saying: "We dominated the game physically, mentally, in all aspects." Croatia's World Cup 2018 fixtures and results Group stage: Croatia 2 Nigeria 0 Group stage: Argentina 0 Croatia 3 Group stage: Iceland 1 Croatia 2 Last 16: Croatia 1 (3 penalties) Denmark 1 (2 penalties) Quarter-final: Russia 2 (3 penalties) Croatia 2 (4 penalties) Semi-final: Croatia 2 England 1 (aet) Final: vs France on July 15 Have Croatia ever won the World Cup? Twenty years ago Croatia reached the last four with a brilliant team including the likes of Davor Suker, Zvonomir Boban and Slaven Bilic. They knocked Germany out in the last eight before losing to France in the semi-finals, but since then they have struggled - until this year. Group-stage exits in 2002, 2006 and 2014 were split by a failure to qualify in 2010 but this Croatian side is the best since those days of the late 90s. And now they are in their first ever World Cup final, 90 minute away from becoming immortals. World Cup record: Croatia What's their history with France? France are the team that knocked Croatia out of their World Cup semi-final in 1998. "There is no weakness in a team which is in the final," Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said of France, after his side beat England. "They are a top-drawer team with fantastic players. "But we are going to discuss France later. We're taking it step by step. "We've entered the final. We're going to celebrate, to rest and then we will prepare for France. "We're facing another daunting task but it's going to be a fantastic match. We are ready for it. I am sure everybody will enjoy watching that match. I have huge respect for France." What odds are Croatia to win the World Cup Croatia are now 2/1 to win the competition. The kits See where do Croatia's shirts end up in our ranking of all 64 World Cup shirts below: World Cup kits ranked Who's the coach? Zlatko Dalic secured Croatia's passage to the World Cup with a play-off victory against Greece Credit: AFP Zlatko Dalic was appointed last year after a successful three-year stint in charge of Al-Ain in the United Arab Emirates. A defensive midfielder in his playing days, Dalic guided Croatia to a 4-1 aggregate win over Greece in the play-offs to secure their place in Russia. If he now leads them to victory in the World Cup Final against France, he will become one of the most famous men in Croatian history. Who's the star? Real Madrid's Luka Modric is a beautiful midfielder whose vision, passing and ability to prompt teammates is as good as it gets. What are their strengths? Luka Modric has won four Champions League titles with Real Madrid Credit: Getty Images Luka Modrić may well be the best midfielder in the world right now. He's been indispensable to Real Madrid through their recent period of European dominance, and is near-impossible to mark. This Croatia team are World Cup finalists thanks to his goals, assists and leadership. Worth re-watching Croatia's demolition of Argentina to appreciate just how good he can be. His partner Ivan Rakitic is quite handy too, and will graft in midfield giving Modric the freedom to roam. And Mario Mandzukic, at 32, is still a predator in the box - he scored the winning goal to knock England out. And their weaknesses Croatia have conceded more set-pieces than anyone else at the World Cup Credit: Getty Images Set-pieces. Croatia have conceded more goals from set-pieces than anyone else. They will have to avoid giving away silly free-kicks or unnecessary corners if they want to nullify the likes of Samuel Umtiti, Olivier Giroud and Raphaël Varane. Their defence also lacks pace. In the semi-final against England, Raheem Sterling caused Domagoj Vida and Dejan Lovren all sorts of issues in the first half. Just imagine what Kylian Mbappe will do. Best thing about them Quality and experience all over the pitch, from 111-cap Luka Modric to 97-cap Ivan Rakitić, the Barcelona midfielder, and powerful forward Mario Mandzukic of Juventus. Worst thing about them First XI looks a serious outfit but is not the youngest and there's a gulf in quality to the squad players. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more You may recognise… Dejan Lovren has markedly improved since Liverpool signed Virgil van Dijk alongside him at centre-half but remains a candidate for a big-match howler. Cameramen will be picking out… Fans in their splendid red-and-white cheesecloth, singing Europop. Croatia fans have an unusually large appetite for official team songs. Fans' favourite chant Hopefully nothing racist; Croatia have quite a bit of previous for this. Any famous faces in the crowd? Mainly former footballers. Davor Suker is now the President of the Croatian FA and attends every game, while another President - head of the government Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic - is a vociferous fan who is happy to wear her replica kit cheer from the VIP section. There was also an excellent - albeit unverified - story recently that American actor Clint Eastwood has become a fan and requested a Croatian shirt to be sent to him. WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
Ahead of their World Cup Final showdown with France today, we take a look at the Croatia World Cup squad, their strengths and weaknesses, and everything else you need to know. Croatia's World Cup squad - the 23 names Goalkeepers: Danijel Subasic (Monaco), Lovre Kalinic (Gent), Dominik Livakovic (Dinamo Zagreb) Defenders: Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), Domagoj Vida (Besiktas), Ivan Strinic (Sampdoria), Dejan Lovren (Liverpool), Sime Vrsaljko (Atletico Madrid), Josip Pivaric (Dynamo Kiev), Tin Jedvaj (Bayer Leverkusen), Duje Caleta-Car (Red Bull Salzburg) Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona), Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid), Milan Badelj (Fiorentina), Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan), Filip Bradaric (Rijeka) Forwards: Mario Mandzukic (Juventus), Ivan Perisic (Inter Milan), Nikola Kalinic (AC Milan), Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim), Marko Pjaca (Schalke), Ante Rebic (Eintracht Frankfurt) Croatia have reached their first ever final Credit: Getty Images How do they play? In Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, Croatia have arguably the best central midfield in the competition. Everything flows through them, but Mario Mandzukic is an excellent frontman and Dejan Lovren has enjoyed a fine tournament at the back. Keep an eye out, too, for Ivan Perisic, a man Jose Mourinho desperately wanted to bring to Manchester United last summer and who gave England a torrid time in the semis. What is their form like? Croatia were arguably the best side in the group stages, with their 3-0 win over Argentina certainly the finest individual performance, while they comfortably beat Nigeria and still won against Iceland despite resting a number of key players. They were less impressive in the early knockout round, requiring penalties to beat both Denmark and the hosts, Russia. But they came back to life against England, dominating the latter stages, with Modric saying: "We dominated the game physically, mentally, in all aspects." Croatia's World Cup 2018 fixtures and results Group stage: Croatia 2 Nigeria 0 Group stage: Argentina 0 Croatia 3 Group stage: Iceland 1 Croatia 2 Last 16: Croatia 1 (3 penalties) Denmark 1 (2 penalties) Quarter-final: Russia 2 (3 penalties) Croatia 2 (4 penalties) Semi-final: Croatia 2 England 1 (aet) Final: vs France on July 15 Have Croatia ever won the World Cup? Twenty years ago Croatia reached the last four with a brilliant team including the likes of Davor Suker, Zvonomir Boban and Slaven Bilic. They knocked Germany out in the last eight before losing to France in the semi-finals, but since then they have struggled - until this year. Group-stage exits in 2002, 2006 and 2014 were split by a failure to qualify in 2010 but this Croatian side is the best since those days of the late 90s. And now they are in their first ever World Cup final, 90 minute away from becoming immortals. World Cup record: Croatia What's their history with France? France are the team that knocked Croatia out of their World Cup semi-final in 1998. "There is no weakness in a team which is in the final," Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said of France, after his side beat England. "They are a top-drawer team with fantastic players. "But we are going to discuss France later. We're taking it step by step. "We've entered the final. We're going to celebrate, to rest and then we will prepare for France. "We're facing another daunting task but it's going to be a fantastic match. We are ready for it. I am sure everybody will enjoy watching that match. I have huge respect for France." What odds are Croatia to win the World Cup Croatia are now 2/1 to win the competition. The kits See where do Croatia's shirts end up in our ranking of all 64 World Cup shirts below: World Cup kits ranked Who's the coach? Zlatko Dalic secured Croatia's passage to the World Cup with a play-off victory against Greece Credit: AFP Zlatko Dalic was appointed last year after a successful three-year stint in charge of Al-Ain in the United Arab Emirates. A defensive midfielder in his playing days, Dalic guided Croatia to a 4-1 aggregate win over Greece in the play-offs to secure their place in Russia. If he now leads them to victory in the World Cup Final against France, he will become one of the most famous men in Croatian history. Who's the star? Real Madrid's Luka Modric is a beautiful midfielder whose vision, passing and ability to prompt teammates is as good as it gets. What are their strengths? Luka Modric has won four Champions League titles with Real Madrid Credit: Getty Images Luka Modrić may well be the best midfielder in the world right now. He's been indispensable to Real Madrid through their recent period of European dominance, and is near-impossible to mark. This Croatia team are World Cup finalists thanks to his goals, assists and leadership. Worth re-watching Croatia's demolition of Argentina to appreciate just how good he can be. His partner Ivan Rakitic is quite handy too, and will graft in midfield giving Modric the freedom to roam. And Mario Mandzukic, at 32, is still a predator in the box - he scored the winning goal to knock England out. And their weaknesses Croatia have conceded more set-pieces than anyone else at the World Cup Credit: Getty Images Set-pieces. Croatia have conceded more goals from set-pieces than anyone else. They will have to avoid giving away silly free-kicks or unnecessary corners if they want to nullify the likes of Samuel Umtiti, Olivier Giroud and Raphaël Varane. Their defence also lacks pace. In the semi-final against England, Raheem Sterling caused Domagoj Vida and Dejan Lovren all sorts of issues in the first half. Just imagine what Kylian Mbappe will do. Best thing about them Quality and experience all over the pitch, from 111-cap Luka Modric to 97-cap Ivan Rakitić, the Barcelona midfielder, and powerful forward Mario Mandzukic of Juventus. Worst thing about them First XI looks a serious outfit but is not the youngest and there's a gulf in quality to the squad players. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more You may recognise… Dejan Lovren has markedly improved since Liverpool signed Virgil van Dijk alongside him at centre-half but remains a candidate for a big-match howler. Cameramen will be picking out… Fans in their splendid red-and-white cheesecloth, singing Europop. Croatia fans have an unusually large appetite for official team songs. Fans' favourite chant Hopefully nothing racist; Croatia have quite a bit of previous for this. Any famous faces in the crowd? Mainly former footballers. Davor Suker is now the President of the Croatian FA and attends every game, while another President - head of the government Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic - is a vociferous fan who is happy to wear her replica kit cheer from the VIP section. There was also an excellent - albeit unverified - story recently that American actor Clint Eastwood has become a fan and requested a Croatian shirt to be sent to him. WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
Croatia World Cup 2018 squad guide and latest team news
Ahead of their World Cup Final showdown with France today, we take a look at the Croatia World Cup squad, their strengths and weaknesses, and everything else you need to know. Croatia's World Cup squad - the 23 names Goalkeepers: Danijel Subasic (Monaco), Lovre Kalinic (Gent), Dominik Livakovic (Dinamo Zagreb) Defenders: Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), Domagoj Vida (Besiktas), Ivan Strinic (Sampdoria), Dejan Lovren (Liverpool), Sime Vrsaljko (Atletico Madrid), Josip Pivaric (Dynamo Kiev), Tin Jedvaj (Bayer Leverkusen), Duje Caleta-Car (Red Bull Salzburg) Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona), Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid), Milan Badelj (Fiorentina), Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan), Filip Bradaric (Rijeka) Forwards: Mario Mandzukic (Juventus), Ivan Perisic (Inter Milan), Nikola Kalinic (AC Milan), Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim), Marko Pjaca (Schalke), Ante Rebic (Eintracht Frankfurt) Croatia have reached their first ever final Credit: Getty Images How do they play? In Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, Croatia have arguably the best central midfield in the competition. Everything flows through them, but Mario Mandzukic is an excellent frontman and Dejan Lovren has enjoyed a fine tournament at the back. Keep an eye out, too, for Ivan Perisic, a man Jose Mourinho desperately wanted to bring to Manchester United last summer and who gave England a torrid time in the semis. What is their form like? Croatia were arguably the best side in the group stages, with their 3-0 win over Argentina certainly the finest individual performance, while they comfortably beat Nigeria and still won against Iceland despite resting a number of key players. They were less impressive in the early knockout round, requiring penalties to beat both Denmark and the hosts, Russia. But they came back to life against England, dominating the latter stages, with Modric saying: "We dominated the game physically, mentally, in all aspects." Croatia's World Cup 2018 fixtures and results Group stage: Croatia 2 Nigeria 0 Group stage: Argentina 0 Croatia 3 Group stage: Iceland 1 Croatia 2 Last 16: Croatia 1 (3 penalties) Denmark 1 (2 penalties) Quarter-final: Russia 2 (3 penalties) Croatia 2 (4 penalties) Semi-final: Croatia 2 England 1 (aet) Final: vs France on July 15 Have Croatia ever won the World Cup? Twenty years ago Croatia reached the last four with a brilliant team including the likes of Davor Suker, Zvonomir Boban and Slaven Bilic. They knocked Germany out in the last eight before losing to France in the semi-finals, but since then they have struggled - until this year. Group-stage exits in 2002, 2006 and 2014 were split by a failure to qualify in 2010 but this Croatian side is the best since those days of the late 90s. And now they are in their first ever World Cup final, 90 minute away from becoming immortals. World Cup record: Croatia What's their history with France? France are the team that knocked Croatia out of their World Cup semi-final in 1998. "There is no weakness in a team which is in the final," Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said of France, after his side beat England. "They are a top-drawer team with fantastic players. "But we are going to discuss France later. We're taking it step by step. "We've entered the final. We're going to celebrate, to rest and then we will prepare for France. "We're facing another daunting task but it's going to be a fantastic match. We are ready for it. I am sure everybody will enjoy watching that match. I have huge respect for France." What odds are Croatia to win the World Cup Croatia are now 2/1 to win the competition. The kits See where do Croatia's shirts end up in our ranking of all 64 World Cup shirts below: World Cup kits ranked Who's the coach? Zlatko Dalic secured Croatia's passage to the World Cup with a play-off victory against Greece Credit: AFP Zlatko Dalic was appointed last year after a successful three-year stint in charge of Al-Ain in the United Arab Emirates. A defensive midfielder in his playing days, Dalic guided Croatia to a 4-1 aggregate win over Greece in the play-offs to secure their place in Russia. If he now leads them to victory in the World Cup Final against France, he will become one of the most famous men in Croatian history. Who's the star? Real Madrid's Luka Modric is a beautiful midfielder whose vision, passing and ability to prompt teammates is as good as it gets. What are their strengths? Luka Modric has won four Champions League titles with Real Madrid Credit: Getty Images Luka Modrić may well be the best midfielder in the world right now. He's been indispensable to Real Madrid through their recent period of European dominance, and is near-impossible to mark. This Croatia team are World Cup finalists thanks to his goals, assists and leadership. Worth re-watching Croatia's demolition of Argentina to appreciate just how good he can be. His partner Ivan Rakitic is quite handy too, and will graft in midfield giving Modric the freedom to roam. And Mario Mandzukic, at 32, is still a predator in the box - he scored the winning goal to knock England out. And their weaknesses Croatia have conceded more set-pieces than anyone else at the World Cup Credit: Getty Images Set-pieces. Croatia have conceded more goals from set-pieces than anyone else. They will have to avoid giving away silly free-kicks or unnecessary corners if they want to nullify the likes of Samuel Umtiti, Olivier Giroud and Raphaël Varane. Their defence also lacks pace. In the semi-final against England, Raheem Sterling caused Domagoj Vida and Dejan Lovren all sorts of issues in the first half. Just imagine what Kylian Mbappe will do. Best thing about them Quality and experience all over the pitch, from 111-cap Luka Modric to 97-cap Ivan Rakitić, the Barcelona midfielder, and powerful forward Mario Mandzukic of Juventus. Worst thing about them First XI looks a serious outfit but is not the youngest and there's a gulf in quality to the squad players. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more You may recognise… Dejan Lovren has markedly improved since Liverpool signed Virgil van Dijk alongside him at centre-half but remains a candidate for a big-match howler. Cameramen will be picking out… Fans in their splendid red-and-white cheesecloth, singing Europop. Croatia fans have an unusually large appetite for official team songs. Fans' favourite chant Hopefully nothing racist; Croatia have quite a bit of previous for this. Any famous faces in the crowd? Mainly former footballers. Davor Suker is now the President of the Croatian FA and attends every game, while another President - head of the government Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic - is a vociferous fan who is happy to wear her replica kit cheer from the VIP section. There was also an excellent - albeit unverified - story recently that American actor Clint Eastwood has become a fan and requested a Croatian shirt to be sent to him. WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
Ahead of their World Cup Final showdown with France today, we take a look at the Croatia World Cup squad, their strengths and weaknesses, and everything else you need to know. Croatia's World Cup squad - the 23 names Goalkeepers: Danijel Subasic (Monaco), Lovre Kalinic (Gent), Dominik Livakovic (Dinamo Zagreb) Defenders: Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), Domagoj Vida (Besiktas), Ivan Strinic (Sampdoria), Dejan Lovren (Liverpool), Sime Vrsaljko (Atletico Madrid), Josip Pivaric (Dynamo Kiev), Tin Jedvaj (Bayer Leverkusen), Duje Caleta-Car (Red Bull Salzburg) Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona), Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid), Milan Badelj (Fiorentina), Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan), Filip Bradaric (Rijeka) Forwards: Mario Mandzukic (Juventus), Ivan Perisic (Inter Milan), Nikola Kalinic (AC Milan), Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim), Marko Pjaca (Schalke), Ante Rebic (Eintracht Frankfurt) Croatia have reached their first ever final Credit: Getty Images How do they play? In Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, Croatia have arguably the best central midfield in the competition. Everything flows through them, but Mario Mandzukic is an excellent frontman and Dejan Lovren has enjoyed a fine tournament at the back. Keep an eye out, too, for Ivan Perisic, a man Jose Mourinho desperately wanted to bring to Manchester United last summer and who gave England a torrid time in the semis. What is their form like? Croatia were arguably the best side in the group stages, with their 3-0 win over Argentina certainly the finest individual performance, while they comfortably beat Nigeria and still won against Iceland despite resting a number of key players. They were less impressive in the early knockout round, requiring penalties to beat both Denmark and the hosts, Russia. But they came back to life against England, dominating the latter stages, with Modric saying: "We dominated the game physically, mentally, in all aspects." Croatia's World Cup 2018 fixtures and results Group stage: Croatia 2 Nigeria 0 Group stage: Argentina 0 Croatia 3 Group stage: Iceland 1 Croatia 2 Last 16: Croatia 1 (3 penalties) Denmark 1 (2 penalties) Quarter-final: Russia 2 (3 penalties) Croatia 2 (4 penalties) Semi-final: Croatia 2 England 1 (aet) Final: vs France on July 15 Have Croatia ever won the World Cup? Twenty years ago Croatia reached the last four with a brilliant team including the likes of Davor Suker, Zvonomir Boban and Slaven Bilic. They knocked Germany out in the last eight before losing to France in the semi-finals, but since then they have struggled - until this year. Group-stage exits in 2002, 2006 and 2014 were split by a failure to qualify in 2010 but this Croatian side is the best since those days of the late 90s. And now they are in their first ever World Cup final, 90 minute away from becoming immortals. World Cup record: Croatia What's their history with France? France are the team that knocked Croatia out of their World Cup semi-final in 1998. "There is no weakness in a team which is in the final," Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said of France, after his side beat England. "They are a top-drawer team with fantastic players. "But we are going to discuss France later. We're taking it step by step. "We've entered the final. We're going to celebrate, to rest and then we will prepare for France. "We're facing another daunting task but it's going to be a fantastic match. We are ready for it. I am sure everybody will enjoy watching that match. I have huge respect for France." What odds are Croatia to win the World Cup Croatia are now 2/1 to win the competition. The kits See where do Croatia's shirts end up in our ranking of all 64 World Cup shirts below: World Cup kits ranked Who's the coach? Zlatko Dalic secured Croatia's passage to the World Cup with a play-off victory against Greece Credit: AFP Zlatko Dalic was appointed last year after a successful three-year stint in charge of Al-Ain in the United Arab Emirates. A defensive midfielder in his playing days, Dalic guided Croatia to a 4-1 aggregate win over Greece in the play-offs to secure their place in Russia. If he now leads them to victory in the World Cup Final against France, he will become one of the most famous men in Croatian history. Who's the star? Real Madrid's Luka Modric is a beautiful midfielder whose vision, passing and ability to prompt teammates is as good as it gets. What are their strengths? Luka Modric has won four Champions League titles with Real Madrid Credit: Getty Images Luka Modrić may well be the best midfielder in the world right now. He's been indispensable to Real Madrid through their recent period of European dominance, and is near-impossible to mark. This Croatia team are World Cup finalists thanks to his goals, assists and leadership. Worth re-watching Croatia's demolition of Argentina to appreciate just how good he can be. His partner Ivan Rakitic is quite handy too, and will graft in midfield giving Modric the freedom to roam. And Mario Mandzukic, at 32, is still a predator in the box - he scored the winning goal to knock England out. And their weaknesses Croatia have conceded more set-pieces than anyone else at the World Cup Credit: Getty Images Set-pieces. Croatia have conceded more goals from set-pieces than anyone else. They will have to avoid giving away silly free-kicks or unnecessary corners if they want to nullify the likes of Samuel Umtiti, Olivier Giroud and Raphaël Varane. Their defence also lacks pace. In the semi-final against England, Raheem Sterling caused Domagoj Vida and Dejan Lovren all sorts of issues in the first half. Just imagine what Kylian Mbappe will do. Best thing about them Quality and experience all over the pitch, from 111-cap Luka Modric to 97-cap Ivan Rakitić, the Barcelona midfielder, and powerful forward Mario Mandzukic of Juventus. Worst thing about them First XI looks a serious outfit but is not the youngest and there's a gulf in quality to the squad players. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more You may recognise… Dejan Lovren has markedly improved since Liverpool signed Virgil van Dijk alongside him at centre-half but remains a candidate for a big-match howler. Cameramen will be picking out… Fans in their splendid red-and-white cheesecloth, singing Europop. Croatia fans have an unusually large appetite for official team songs. Fans' favourite chant Hopefully nothing racist; Croatia have quite a bit of previous for this. Any famous faces in the crowd? Mainly former footballers. Davor Suker is now the President of the Croatian FA and attends every game, while another President - head of the government Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic - is a vociferous fan who is happy to wear her replica kit cheer from the VIP section. There was also an excellent - albeit unverified - story recently that American actor Clint Eastwood has become a fan and requested a Croatian shirt to be sent to him. WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
Croatia World Cup 2018 squad guide and latest team news
Ahead of their World Cup Final showdown with France today, we take a look at the Croatia World Cup squad, their strengths and weaknesses, and everything else you need to know. Croatia's World Cup squad - the 23 names Goalkeepers: Danijel Subasic (Monaco), Lovre Kalinic (Gent), Dominik Livakovic (Dinamo Zagreb) Defenders: Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), Domagoj Vida (Besiktas), Ivan Strinic (Sampdoria), Dejan Lovren (Liverpool), Sime Vrsaljko (Atletico Madrid), Josip Pivaric (Dynamo Kiev), Tin Jedvaj (Bayer Leverkusen), Duje Caleta-Car (Red Bull Salzburg) Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona), Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid), Milan Badelj (Fiorentina), Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan), Filip Bradaric (Rijeka) Forwards: Mario Mandzukic (Juventus), Ivan Perisic (Inter Milan), Nikola Kalinic (AC Milan), Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim), Marko Pjaca (Schalke), Ante Rebic (Eintracht Frankfurt) Croatia have reached their first ever final Credit: Getty Images How do they play? In Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, Croatia have arguably the best central midfield in the competition. Everything flows through them, but Mario Mandzukic is an excellent frontman and Dejan Lovren has enjoyed a fine tournament at the back. Keep an eye out, too, for Ivan Perisic, a man Jose Mourinho desperately wanted to bring to Manchester United last summer and who gave England a torrid time in the semis. What is their form like? Croatia were arguably the best side in the group stages, with their 3-0 win over Argentina certainly the finest individual performance, while they comfortably beat Nigeria and still won against Iceland despite resting a number of key players. They were less impressive in the early knockout round, requiring penalties to beat both Denmark and the hosts, Russia. But they came back to life against England, dominating the latter stages, with Modric saying: "We dominated the game physically, mentally, in all aspects." Croatia's World Cup 2018 fixtures and results Group stage: Croatia 2 Nigeria 0 Group stage: Argentina 0 Croatia 3 Group stage: Iceland 1 Croatia 2 Last 16: Croatia 1 (3 penalties) Denmark 1 (2 penalties) Quarter-final: Russia 2 (3 penalties) Croatia 2 (4 penalties) Semi-final: Croatia 2 England 1 (aet) Final: vs France on July 15 Have Croatia ever won the World Cup? Twenty years ago Croatia reached the last four with a brilliant team including the likes of Davor Suker, Zvonomir Boban and Slaven Bilic. They knocked Germany out in the last eight before losing to France in the semi-finals, but since then they have struggled - until this year. Group-stage exits in 2002, 2006 and 2014 were split by a failure to qualify in 2010 but this Croatian side is the best since those days of the late 90s. And now they are in their first ever World Cup final, 90 minute away from becoming immortals. World Cup record: Croatia What's their history with France? France are the team that knocked Croatia out of their World Cup semi-final in 1998. "There is no weakness in a team which is in the final," Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said of France, after his side beat England. "They are a top-drawer team with fantastic players. "But we are going to discuss France later. We're taking it step by step. "We've entered the final. We're going to celebrate, to rest and then we will prepare for France. "We're facing another daunting task but it's going to be a fantastic match. We are ready for it. I am sure everybody will enjoy watching that match. I have huge respect for France." What odds are Croatia to win the World Cup Croatia are now 2/1 to win the competition. The kits See where do Croatia's shirts end up in our ranking of all 64 World Cup shirts below: World Cup kits ranked Who's the coach? Zlatko Dalic secured Croatia's passage to the World Cup with a play-off victory against Greece Credit: AFP Zlatko Dalic was appointed last year after a successful three-year stint in charge of Al-Ain in the United Arab Emirates. A defensive midfielder in his playing days, Dalic guided Croatia to a 4-1 aggregate win over Greece in the play-offs to secure their place in Russia. If he now leads them to victory in the World Cup Final against France, he will become one of the most famous men in Croatian history. Who's the star? Real Madrid's Luka Modric is a beautiful midfielder whose vision, passing and ability to prompt teammates is as good as it gets. What are their strengths? Luka Modric has won four Champions League titles with Real Madrid Credit: Getty Images Luka Modrić may well be the best midfielder in the world right now. He's been indispensable to Real Madrid through their recent period of European dominance, and is near-impossible to mark. This Croatia team are World Cup finalists thanks to his goals, assists and leadership. Worth re-watching Croatia's demolition of Argentina to appreciate just how good he can be. His partner Ivan Rakitic is quite handy too, and will graft in midfield giving Modric the freedom to roam. And Mario Mandzukic, at 32, is still a predator in the box - he scored the winning goal to knock England out. And their weaknesses Croatia have conceded more set-pieces than anyone else at the World Cup Credit: Getty Images Set-pieces. Croatia have conceded more goals from set-pieces than anyone else. They will have to avoid giving away silly free-kicks or unnecessary corners if they want to nullify the likes of Samuel Umtiti, Olivier Giroud and Raphaël Varane. Their defence also lacks pace. In the semi-final against England, Raheem Sterling caused Domagoj Vida and Dejan Lovren all sorts of issues in the first half. Just imagine what Kylian Mbappe will do. Best thing about them Quality and experience all over the pitch, from 111-cap Luka Modric to 97-cap Ivan Rakitić, the Barcelona midfielder, and powerful forward Mario Mandzukic of Juventus. Worst thing about them First XI looks a serious outfit but is not the youngest and there's a gulf in quality to the squad players. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more You may recognise… Dejan Lovren has markedly improved since Liverpool signed Virgil van Dijk alongside him at centre-half but remains a candidate for a big-match howler. Cameramen will be picking out… Fans in their splendid red-and-white cheesecloth, singing Europop. Croatia fans have an unusually large appetite for official team songs. Fans' favourite chant Hopefully nothing racist; Croatia have quite a bit of previous for this. Any famous faces in the crowd? Mainly former footballers. Davor Suker is now the President of the Croatian FA and attends every game, while another President - head of the government Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic - is a vociferous fan who is happy to wear her replica kit cheer from the VIP section. There was also an excellent - albeit unverified - story recently that American actor Clint Eastwood has become a fan and requested a Croatian shirt to be sent to him. WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
Ahead of their World Cup Final showdown with France today, we take a look at the Croatia World Cup squad, their strengths and weaknesses, and everything else you need to know. Croatia's World Cup squad - the 23 names Goalkeepers: Danijel Subasic (Monaco), Lovre Kalinic (Gent), Dominik Livakovic (Dinamo Zagreb) Defenders: Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), Domagoj Vida (Besiktas), Ivan Strinic (Sampdoria), Dejan Lovren (Liverpool), Sime Vrsaljko (Atletico Madrid), Josip Pivaric (Dynamo Kiev), Tin Jedvaj (Bayer Leverkusen), Duje Caleta-Car (Red Bull Salzburg) Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona), Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid), Milan Badelj (Fiorentina), Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan), Filip Bradaric (Rijeka) Forwards: Mario Mandzukic (Juventus), Ivan Perisic (Inter Milan), Nikola Kalinic (AC Milan), Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim), Marko Pjaca (Schalke), Ante Rebic (Eintracht Frankfurt) Croatia have reached their first ever final Credit: Getty Images How do they play? In Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, Croatia have arguably the best central midfield in the competition. Everything flows through them, but Mario Mandzukic is an excellent frontman and Dejan Lovren has enjoyed a fine tournament at the back. Keep an eye out, too, for Ivan Perisic, a man Jose Mourinho desperately wanted to bring to Manchester United last summer and who gave England a torrid time in the semis. What is their form like? Croatia were arguably the best side in the group stages, with their 3-0 win over Argentina certainly the finest individual performance, while they comfortably beat Nigeria and still won against Iceland despite resting a number of key players. They were less impressive in the early knockout round, requiring penalties to beat both Denmark and the hosts, Russia. But they came back to life against England, dominating the latter stages, with Modric saying: "We dominated the game physically, mentally, in all aspects." Croatia's World Cup 2018 fixtures and results Group stage: Croatia 2 Nigeria 0 Group stage: Argentina 0 Croatia 3 Group stage: Iceland 1 Croatia 2 Last 16: Croatia 1 (3 penalties) Denmark 1 (2 penalties) Quarter-final: Russia 2 (3 penalties) Croatia 2 (4 penalties) Semi-final: Croatia 2 England 1 (aet) Final: vs France on July 15 Have Croatia ever won the World Cup? Twenty years ago Croatia reached the last four with a brilliant team including the likes of Davor Suker, Zvonomir Boban and Slaven Bilic. They knocked Germany out in the last eight before losing to France in the semi-finals, but since then they have struggled - until this year. Group-stage exits in 2002, 2006 and 2014 were split by a failure to qualify in 2010 but this Croatian side is the best since those days of the late 90s. And now they are in their first ever World Cup final, 90 minute away from becoming immortals. World Cup record: Croatia What's their history with France? France are the team that knocked Croatia out of their World Cup semi-final in 1998. "There is no weakness in a team which is in the final," Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said of France, after his side beat England. "They are a top-drawer team with fantastic players. "But we are going to discuss France later. We're taking it step by step. "We've entered the final. We're going to celebrate, to rest and then we will prepare for France. "We're facing another daunting task but it's going to be a fantastic match. We are ready for it. I am sure everybody will enjoy watching that match. I have huge respect for France." What odds are Croatia to win the World Cup Croatia are now 2/1 to win the competition. The kits See where do Croatia's shirts end up in our ranking of all 64 World Cup shirts below: World Cup kits ranked Who's the coach? Zlatko Dalic secured Croatia's passage to the World Cup with a play-off victory against Greece Credit: AFP Zlatko Dalic was appointed last year after a successful three-year stint in charge of Al-Ain in the United Arab Emirates. A defensive midfielder in his playing days, Dalic guided Croatia to a 4-1 aggregate win over Greece in the play-offs to secure their place in Russia. If he now leads them to victory in the World Cup Final against France, he will become one of the most famous men in Croatian history. Who's the star? Real Madrid's Luka Modric is a beautiful midfielder whose vision, passing and ability to prompt teammates is as good as it gets. What are their strengths? Luka Modric has won four Champions League titles with Real Madrid Credit: Getty Images Luka Modrić may well be the best midfielder in the world right now. He's been indispensable to Real Madrid through their recent period of European dominance, and is near-impossible to mark. This Croatia team are World Cup finalists thanks to his goals, assists and leadership. Worth re-watching Croatia's demolition of Argentina to appreciate just how good he can be. His partner Ivan Rakitic is quite handy too, and will graft in midfield giving Modric the freedom to roam. And Mario Mandzukic, at 32, is still a predator in the box - he scored the winning goal to knock England out. And their weaknesses Croatia have conceded more set-pieces than anyone else at the World Cup Credit: Getty Images Set-pieces. Croatia have conceded more goals from set-pieces than anyone else. They will have to avoid giving away silly free-kicks or unnecessary corners if they want to nullify the likes of Samuel Umtiti, Olivier Giroud and Raphaël Varane. Their defence also lacks pace. In the semi-final against England, Raheem Sterling caused Domagoj Vida and Dejan Lovren all sorts of issues in the first half. Just imagine what Kylian Mbappe will do. Best thing about them Quality and experience all over the pitch, from 111-cap Luka Modric to 97-cap Ivan Rakitić, the Barcelona midfielder, and powerful forward Mario Mandzukic of Juventus. Worst thing about them First XI looks a serious outfit but is not the youngest and there's a gulf in quality to the squad players. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more You may recognise… Dejan Lovren has markedly improved since Liverpool signed Virgil van Dijk alongside him at centre-half but remains a candidate for a big-match howler. Cameramen will be picking out… Fans in their splendid red-and-white cheesecloth, singing Europop. Croatia fans have an unusually large appetite for official team songs. Fans' favourite chant Hopefully nothing racist; Croatia have quite a bit of previous for this. Any famous faces in the crowd? Mainly former footballers. Davor Suker is now the President of the Croatian FA and attends every game, while another President - head of the government Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic - is a vociferous fan who is happy to wear her replica kit cheer from the VIP section. There was also an excellent - albeit unverified - story recently that American actor Clint Eastwood has become a fan and requested a Croatian shirt to be sent to him. WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
Croatia World Cup 2018 squad guide and latest team news
Ahead of their World Cup Final showdown with France today, we take a look at the Croatia World Cup squad, their strengths and weaknesses, and everything else you need to know. Croatia's World Cup squad - the 23 names Goalkeepers: Danijel Subasic (Monaco), Lovre Kalinic (Gent), Dominik Livakovic (Dinamo Zagreb) Defenders: Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), Domagoj Vida (Besiktas), Ivan Strinic (Sampdoria), Dejan Lovren (Liverpool), Sime Vrsaljko (Atletico Madrid), Josip Pivaric (Dynamo Kiev), Tin Jedvaj (Bayer Leverkusen), Duje Caleta-Car (Red Bull Salzburg) Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona), Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid), Milan Badelj (Fiorentina), Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan), Filip Bradaric (Rijeka) Forwards: Mario Mandzukic (Juventus), Ivan Perisic (Inter Milan), Nikola Kalinic (AC Milan), Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim), Marko Pjaca (Schalke), Ante Rebic (Eintracht Frankfurt) Croatia have reached their first ever final Credit: Getty Images How do they play? In Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, Croatia have arguably the best central midfield in the competition. Everything flows through them, but Mario Mandzukic is an excellent frontman and Dejan Lovren has enjoyed a fine tournament at the back. Keep an eye out, too, for Ivan Perisic, a man Jose Mourinho desperately wanted to bring to Manchester United last summer and who gave England a torrid time in the semis. What is their form like? Croatia were arguably the best side in the group stages, with their 3-0 win over Argentina certainly the finest individual performance, while they comfortably beat Nigeria and still won against Iceland despite resting a number of key players. They were less impressive in the early knockout round, requiring penalties to beat both Denmark and the hosts, Russia. But they came back to life against England, dominating the latter stages, with Modric saying: "We dominated the game physically, mentally, in all aspects." Croatia's World Cup 2018 fixtures and results Group stage: Croatia 2 Nigeria 0 Group stage: Argentina 0 Croatia 3 Group stage: Iceland 1 Croatia 2 Last 16: Croatia 1 (3 penalties) Denmark 1 (2 penalties) Quarter-final: Russia 2 (3 penalties) Croatia 2 (4 penalties) Semi-final: Croatia 2 England 1 (aet) Final: vs France on July 15 Have Croatia ever won the World Cup? Twenty years ago Croatia reached the last four with a brilliant team including the likes of Davor Suker, Zvonomir Boban and Slaven Bilic. They knocked Germany out in the last eight before losing to France in the semi-finals, but since then they have struggled - until this year. Group-stage exits in 2002, 2006 and 2014 were split by a failure to qualify in 2010 but this Croatian side is the best since those days of the late 90s. And now they are in their first ever World Cup final, 90 minute away from becoming immortals. World Cup record: Croatia What's their history with France? France are the team that knocked Croatia out of their World Cup semi-final in 1998. "There is no weakness in a team which is in the final," Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said of France, after his side beat England. "They are a top-drawer team with fantastic players. "But we are going to discuss France later. We're taking it step by step. "We've entered the final. We're going to celebrate, to rest and then we will prepare for France. "We're facing another daunting task but it's going to be a fantastic match. We are ready for it. I am sure everybody will enjoy watching that match. I have huge respect for France." What odds are Croatia to win the World Cup Croatia are now 2/1 to win the competition. The kits See where do Croatia's shirts end up in our ranking of all 64 World Cup shirts below: World Cup kits ranked Who's the coach? Zlatko Dalic secured Croatia's passage to the World Cup with a play-off victory against Greece Credit: AFP Zlatko Dalic was appointed last year after a successful three-year stint in charge of Al-Ain in the United Arab Emirates. A defensive midfielder in his playing days, Dalic guided Croatia to a 4-1 aggregate win over Greece in the play-offs to secure their place in Russia. If he now leads them to victory in the World Cup Final against France, he will become one of the most famous men in Croatian history. Who's the star? Real Madrid's Luka Modric is a beautiful midfielder whose vision, passing and ability to prompt teammates is as good as it gets. What are their strengths? Luka Modric has won four Champions League titles with Real Madrid Credit: Getty Images Luka Modrić may well be the best midfielder in the world right now. He's been indispensable to Real Madrid through their recent period of European dominance, and is near-impossible to mark. This Croatia team are World Cup finalists thanks to his goals, assists and leadership. Worth re-watching Croatia's demolition of Argentina to appreciate just how good he can be. His partner Ivan Rakitic is quite handy too, and will graft in midfield giving Modric the freedom to roam. And Mario Mandzukic, at 32, is still a predator in the box - he scored the winning goal to knock England out. And their weaknesses Croatia have conceded more set-pieces than anyone else at the World Cup Credit: Getty Images Set-pieces. Croatia have conceded more goals from set-pieces than anyone else. They will have to avoid giving away silly free-kicks or unnecessary corners if they want to nullify the likes of Samuel Umtiti, Olivier Giroud and Raphaël Varane. Their defence also lacks pace. In the semi-final against England, Raheem Sterling caused Domagoj Vida and Dejan Lovren all sorts of issues in the first half. Just imagine what Kylian Mbappe will do. Best thing about them Quality and experience all over the pitch, from 111-cap Luka Modric to 97-cap Ivan Rakitić, the Barcelona midfielder, and powerful forward Mario Mandzukic of Juventus. Worst thing about them First XI looks a serious outfit but is not the youngest and there's a gulf in quality to the squad players. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more You may recognise… Dejan Lovren has markedly improved since Liverpool signed Virgil van Dijk alongside him at centre-half but remains a candidate for a big-match howler. Cameramen will be picking out… Fans in their splendid red-and-white cheesecloth, singing Europop. Croatia fans have an unusually large appetite for official team songs. Fans' favourite chant Hopefully nothing racist; Croatia have quite a bit of previous for this. Any famous faces in the crowd? Mainly former footballers. Davor Suker is now the President of the Croatian FA and attends every game, while another President - head of the government Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic - is a vociferous fan who is happy to wear her replica kit cheer from the VIP section. There was also an excellent - albeit unverified - story recently that American actor Clint Eastwood has become a fan and requested a Croatian shirt to be sent to him. WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
Ahead of their World Cup Final showdown with France today, we take a look at the Croatia World Cup squad, their strengths and weaknesses, and everything else you need to know. Croatia's World Cup squad - the 23 names Goalkeepers: Danijel Subasic (Monaco), Lovre Kalinic (Gent), Dominik Livakovic (Dinamo Zagreb) Defenders: Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), Domagoj Vida (Besiktas), Ivan Strinic (Sampdoria), Dejan Lovren (Liverpool), Sime Vrsaljko (Atletico Madrid), Josip Pivaric (Dynamo Kiev), Tin Jedvaj (Bayer Leverkusen), Duje Caleta-Car (Red Bull Salzburg) Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona), Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid), Milan Badelj (Fiorentina), Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan), Filip Bradaric (Rijeka) Forwards: Mario Mandzukic (Juventus), Ivan Perisic (Inter Milan), Nikola Kalinic (AC Milan), Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim), Marko Pjaca (Schalke), Ante Rebic (Eintracht Frankfurt) Croatia have reached their first ever final Credit: Getty Images How do they play? In Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, Croatia have arguably the best central midfield in the competition. Everything flows through them, but Mario Mandzukic is an excellent frontman and Dejan Lovren has enjoyed a fine tournament at the back. Keep an eye out, too, for Ivan Perisic, a man Jose Mourinho desperately wanted to bring to Manchester United last summer and who gave England a torrid time in the semis. What is their form like? Croatia were arguably the best side in the group stages, with their 3-0 win over Argentina certainly the finest individual performance, while they comfortably beat Nigeria and still won against Iceland despite resting a number of key players. They were less impressive in the early knockout round, requiring penalties to beat both Denmark and the hosts, Russia. But they came back to life against England, dominating the latter stages, with Modric saying: "We dominated the game physically, mentally, in all aspects." Croatia's World Cup 2018 fixtures and results Group stage: Croatia 2 Nigeria 0 Group stage: Argentina 0 Croatia 3 Group stage: Iceland 1 Croatia 2 Last 16: Croatia 1 (3 penalties) Denmark 1 (2 penalties) Quarter-final: Russia 2 (3 penalties) Croatia 2 (4 penalties) Semi-final: Croatia 2 England 1 (aet) Final: vs France on July 15 Have Croatia ever won the World Cup? Twenty years ago Croatia reached the last four with a brilliant team including the likes of Davor Suker, Zvonomir Boban and Slaven Bilic. They knocked Germany out in the last eight before losing to France in the semi-finals, but since then they have struggled - until this year. Group-stage exits in 2002, 2006 and 2014 were split by a failure to qualify in 2010 but this Croatian side is the best since those days of the late 90s. And now they are in their first ever World Cup final, 90 minute away from becoming immortals. World Cup record: Croatia What's their history with France? France are the team that knocked Croatia out of their World Cup semi-final in 1998. "There is no weakness in a team which is in the final," Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said of France, after his side beat England. "They are a top-drawer team with fantastic players. "But we are going to discuss France later. We're taking it step by step. "We've entered the final. We're going to celebrate, to rest and then we will prepare for France. "We're facing another daunting task but it's going to be a fantastic match. We are ready for it. I am sure everybody will enjoy watching that match. I have huge respect for France." What odds are Croatia to win the World Cup Croatia are now 2/1 to win the competition. The kits See where do Croatia's shirts end up in our ranking of all 64 World Cup shirts below: World Cup kits ranked Who's the coach? Zlatko Dalic secured Croatia's passage to the World Cup with a play-off victory against Greece Credit: AFP Zlatko Dalic was appointed last year after a successful three-year stint in charge of Al-Ain in the United Arab Emirates. A defensive midfielder in his playing days, Dalic guided Croatia to a 4-1 aggregate win over Greece in the play-offs to secure their place in Russia. If he now leads them to victory in the World Cup Final against France, he will become one of the most famous men in Croatian history. Who's the star? Real Madrid's Luka Modric is a beautiful midfielder whose vision, passing and ability to prompt teammates is as good as it gets. What are their strengths? Luka Modric has won four Champions League titles with Real Madrid Credit: Getty Images Luka Modrić may well be the best midfielder in the world right now. He's been indispensable to Real Madrid through their recent period of European dominance, and is near-impossible to mark. This Croatia team are World Cup finalists thanks to his goals, assists and leadership. Worth re-watching Croatia's demolition of Argentina to appreciate just how good he can be. His partner Ivan Rakitic is quite handy too, and will graft in midfield giving Modric the freedom to roam. And Mario Mandzukic, at 32, is still a predator in the box - he scored the winning goal to knock England out. And their weaknesses Croatia have conceded more set-pieces than anyone else at the World Cup Credit: Getty Images Set-pieces. Croatia have conceded more goals from set-pieces than anyone else. They will have to avoid giving away silly free-kicks or unnecessary corners if they want to nullify the likes of Samuel Umtiti, Olivier Giroud and Raphaël Varane. Their defence also lacks pace. In the semi-final against England, Raheem Sterling caused Domagoj Vida and Dejan Lovren all sorts of issues in the first half. Just imagine what Kylian Mbappe will do. Best thing about them Quality and experience all over the pitch, from 111-cap Luka Modric to 97-cap Ivan Rakitić, the Barcelona midfielder, and powerful forward Mario Mandzukic of Juventus. Worst thing about them First XI looks a serious outfit but is not the youngest and there's a gulf in quality to the squad players. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more You may recognise… Dejan Lovren has markedly improved since Liverpool signed Virgil van Dijk alongside him at centre-half but remains a candidate for a big-match howler. Cameramen will be picking out… Fans in their splendid red-and-white cheesecloth, singing Europop. Croatia fans have an unusually large appetite for official team songs. Fans' favourite chant Hopefully nothing racist; Croatia have quite a bit of previous for this. Any famous faces in the crowd? Mainly former footballers. Davor Suker is now the President of the Croatian FA and attends every game, while another President - head of the government Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic - is a vociferous fan who is happy to wear her replica kit cheer from the VIP section. There was also an excellent - albeit unverified - story recently that American actor Clint Eastwood has become a fan and requested a Croatian shirt to be sent to him. WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
Croatia World Cup 2018 squad guide and latest team news
Ahead of their World Cup Final showdown with France today, we take a look at the Croatia World Cup squad, their strengths and weaknesses, and everything else you need to know. Croatia's World Cup squad - the 23 names Goalkeepers: Danijel Subasic (Monaco), Lovre Kalinic (Gent), Dominik Livakovic (Dinamo Zagreb) Defenders: Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), Domagoj Vida (Besiktas), Ivan Strinic (Sampdoria), Dejan Lovren (Liverpool), Sime Vrsaljko (Atletico Madrid), Josip Pivaric (Dynamo Kiev), Tin Jedvaj (Bayer Leverkusen), Duje Caleta-Car (Red Bull Salzburg) Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona), Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid), Milan Badelj (Fiorentina), Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan), Filip Bradaric (Rijeka) Forwards: Mario Mandzukic (Juventus), Ivan Perisic (Inter Milan), Nikola Kalinic (AC Milan), Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim), Marko Pjaca (Schalke), Ante Rebic (Eintracht Frankfurt) Croatia have reached their first ever final Credit: Getty Images How do they play? In Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, Croatia have arguably the best central midfield in the competition. Everything flows through them, but Mario Mandzukic is an excellent frontman and Dejan Lovren has enjoyed a fine tournament at the back. Keep an eye out, too, for Ivan Perisic, a man Jose Mourinho desperately wanted to bring to Manchester United last summer and who gave England a torrid time in the semis. What is their form like? Croatia were arguably the best side in the group stages, with their 3-0 win over Argentina certainly the finest individual performance, while they comfortably beat Nigeria and still won against Iceland despite resting a number of key players. They were less impressive in the early knockout round, requiring penalties to beat both Denmark and the hosts, Russia. But they came back to life against England, dominating the latter stages, with Modric saying: "We dominated the game physically, mentally, in all aspects." Croatia's World Cup 2018 fixtures and results Group stage: Croatia 2 Nigeria 0 Group stage: Argentina 0 Croatia 3 Group stage: Iceland 1 Croatia 2 Last 16: Croatia 1 (3 penalties) Denmark 1 (2 penalties) Quarter-final: Russia 2 (3 penalties) Croatia 2 (4 penalties) Semi-final: Croatia 2 England 1 (aet) Final: vs France on July 15 Have Croatia ever won the World Cup? Twenty years ago Croatia reached the last four with a brilliant team including the likes of Davor Suker, Zvonomir Boban and Slaven Bilic. They knocked Germany out in the last eight before losing to France in the semi-finals, but since then they have struggled - until this year. Group-stage exits in 2002, 2006 and 2014 were split by a failure to qualify in 2010 but this Croatian side is the best since those days of the late 90s. And now they are in their first ever World Cup final, 90 minute away from becoming immortals. World Cup record: Croatia What's their history with France? France are the team that knocked Croatia out of their World Cup semi-final in 1998. "There is no weakness in a team which is in the final," Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said of France, after his side beat England. "They are a top-drawer team with fantastic players. "But we are going to discuss France later. We're taking it step by step. "We've entered the final. We're going to celebrate, to rest and then we will prepare for France. "We're facing another daunting task but it's going to be a fantastic match. We are ready for it. I am sure everybody will enjoy watching that match. I have huge respect for France." What odds are Croatia to win the World Cup Croatia are now 2/1 to win the competition. The kits See where do Croatia's shirts end up in our ranking of all 64 World Cup shirts below: World Cup kits ranked Who's the coach? Zlatko Dalic secured Croatia's passage to the World Cup with a play-off victory against Greece Credit: AFP Zlatko Dalic was appointed last year after a successful three-year stint in charge of Al-Ain in the United Arab Emirates. A defensive midfielder in his playing days, Dalic guided Croatia to a 4-1 aggregate win over Greece in the play-offs to secure their place in Russia. If he now leads them to victory in the World Cup Final against France, he will become one of the most famous men in Croatian history. Who's the star? Real Madrid's Luka Modric is a beautiful midfielder whose vision, passing and ability to prompt teammates is as good as it gets. What are their strengths? Luka Modric has won four Champions League titles with Real Madrid Credit: Getty Images Luka Modrić may well be the best midfielder in the world right now. He's been indispensable to Real Madrid through their recent period of European dominance, and is near-impossible to mark. This Croatia team are World Cup finalists thanks to his goals, assists and leadership. Worth re-watching Croatia's demolition of Argentina to appreciate just how good he can be. His partner Ivan Rakitic is quite handy too, and will graft in midfield giving Modric the freedom to roam. And Mario Mandzukic, at 32, is still a predator in the box - he scored the winning goal to knock England out. And their weaknesses Croatia have conceded more set-pieces than anyone else at the World Cup Credit: Getty Images Set-pieces. Croatia have conceded more goals from set-pieces than anyone else. They will have to avoid giving away silly free-kicks or unnecessary corners if they want to nullify the likes of Samuel Umtiti, Olivier Giroud and Raphaël Varane. Their defence also lacks pace. In the semi-final against England, Raheem Sterling caused Domagoj Vida and Dejan Lovren all sorts of issues in the first half. Just imagine what Kylian Mbappe will do. Best thing about them Quality and experience all over the pitch, from 111-cap Luka Modric to 97-cap Ivan Rakitić, the Barcelona midfielder, and powerful forward Mario Mandzukic of Juventus. Worst thing about them First XI looks a serious outfit but is not the youngest and there's a gulf in quality to the squad players. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more You may recognise… Dejan Lovren has markedly improved since Liverpool signed Virgil van Dijk alongside him at centre-half but remains a candidate for a big-match howler. Cameramen will be picking out… Fans in their splendid red-and-white cheesecloth, singing Europop. Croatia fans have an unusually large appetite for official team songs. Fans' favourite chant Hopefully nothing racist; Croatia have quite a bit of previous for this. Any famous faces in the crowd? Mainly former footballers. Davor Suker is now the President of the Croatian FA and attends every game, while another President - head of the government Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic - is a vociferous fan who is happy to wear her replica kit cheer from the VIP section. There was also an excellent - albeit unverified - story recently that American actor Clint Eastwood has become a fan and requested a Croatian shirt to be sent to him. WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
The 20-year-old Argentine sensation was overlooked for the World Cup, but he needed just 16 minutes to open his Inter account in Saturday's friendly
Lautaro Martinez on target in impressive Inter debut
The 20-year-old Argentine sensation was overlooked for the World Cup, but he needed just 16 minutes to open his Inter account in Saturday's friendly
Inter's new signings look to be settling in well with the Serie A side making a winning start to pre-season.
Martinez on target in impressive Inter debut
Inter's new signings look to be settling in well with the Serie A side making a winning start to pre-season.
The Ghanaian began life with the Blacks and Blues on a winning note against Swiss Super League side, Lugano
Kwadwo Asamoah enjoys winning debut for Inter Milan
The Ghanaian began life with the Blacks and Blues on a winning note against Swiss Super League side, Lugano
Eden Hazard has issued a come and get me plea to Real Madrid by confirming that the time might be right for him to leave Chelsea once he returns from the World Cup. Chelsea are desperate to keep Hazard, who has two years remaining on his contract, but the Belgian is a target of both Real and Barcelona. After scoring against England to secure third place for Belgium at the World Cup, Hazard, who Chelsea value at over £200 million, was asked about his future. “I will go on holiday and ask myself the right questions,” said Hazard. “After six wonderful years at Chelsea, it might be time to discover something different. I can decide if I want to stay or go, but Chelsea will make the final decision - if they want to let me go. “For my career, certainly after this World Cup, I’m at a moment where I might change.” Hazard has spent six years at Chelsea, and has two years left on his contract Credit: Getty Images Hazard, who has never tried to hide his desire to play for Real one day, added: “We all know that I’ve always felt well at Chelsea, and I’ve been linked to all the big clubs. Next week it will be Bayern (Munich). No I’m joking. You all know my preferred destination.” Confirmation that Hazard may want to leave is a big blow to new head coach Maurizio Sarri and the 27-year-old said: “We knew for a while that Sarri was going to become the new manager. Now it's official. If he's a good manager? If he lets me win trophies, yes. Dries Mertens has said its a good manager. We will have to work hard. The Italian way, but we were used to that with Antonio Conte too. We will see what happens." Meanwhile, Sarri assured Chelsea he does not hold any homophobic or sexist views ahead of his appointment. And the Italian has also been enrolled straight on to an intensive course to improve his English, following his move to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea formally announced the appointment of Sarri, on a three-year contract, and the signing of midfielder Jorginho, on a five-year deal, on Saturday. England vs Belgium, player ratings The news was met positively by Chelsea supporters, despite some concerns over Sarri’s past misdemeanors. In 2016, while in charge of Napoli, he was accused of calling then Inter Milan manager Roberto Mancini a “poof” and a “faggott”, and was subsequently given a two-game ban and had to pay a 20,000 euro fine. At the time, Sarri said: “I was just irritable...I was not discriminating against anyone. If I did indeed use those words, then I apologise to the gay community.” Sarri was forced to apologise again in March this year for responding to a female reporter’s question by saying: “You’re a woman, you’re beautiful, for those two reasons I won’t tell you to go f*** yourself.” Telegraph Sport understands both incidents came up in negotiations between Sarri and Chelsea, and the 59-year-old was left in no doubt that any similar comments would be deemed completely unacceptable. Losing Hazard would be a blow for Chelsea's newly appointed manager, Maurizio Sarri Credit: Getty Images Sarri assured his new Blues bosses that both sets of comments did not represent his views and that they were ill-judged, and poorly worded. He also promised that they would not be repeated. In order to make sure he can communicate himself effectively at Chelsea, Sarri will immediately start taking English lessons at least once or twice a week while he prepares for the new season. Sarri is said to have a basic level of English he can already speak, due in part to the time he spent in the country in his previous career as a banker, but he is keen to improve it as quickly as possible. His cigarette habit is another issue that he will have to address, as smoking is banned inside English football stadiums. One player who will have no problem understanding Sarri is Jorginho, who turned down a move to Premier League champions Manchester City, to join Chelsea. Sarri and Jorginho worked together at Napoli, and the 26-year-old said: “I am absolutely ecstatic to be here at Chelsea. It is not easy to become part of such a big team so I am very, very happy. I am excited to play in such an intense league for a team that gives everything to play and win.”
Eden Hazard eyes future with Real Madrid as he confirms his time with Chelsea might be up
Eden Hazard has issued a come and get me plea to Real Madrid by confirming that the time might be right for him to leave Chelsea once he returns from the World Cup. Chelsea are desperate to keep Hazard, who has two years remaining on his contract, but the Belgian is a target of both Real and Barcelona. After scoring against England to secure third place for Belgium at the World Cup, Hazard, who Chelsea value at over £200 million, was asked about his future. “I will go on holiday and ask myself the right questions,” said Hazard. “After six wonderful years at Chelsea, it might be time to discover something different. I can decide if I want to stay or go, but Chelsea will make the final decision - if they want to let me go. “For my career, certainly after this World Cup, I’m at a moment where I might change.” Hazard has spent six years at Chelsea, and has two years left on his contract Credit: Getty Images Hazard, who has never tried to hide his desire to play for Real one day, added: “We all know that I’ve always felt well at Chelsea, and I’ve been linked to all the big clubs. Next week it will be Bayern (Munich). No I’m joking. You all know my preferred destination.” Confirmation that Hazard may want to leave is a big blow to new head coach Maurizio Sarri and the 27-year-old said: “We knew for a while that Sarri was going to become the new manager. Now it's official. If he's a good manager? If he lets me win trophies, yes. Dries Mertens has said its a good manager. We will have to work hard. The Italian way, but we were used to that with Antonio Conte too. We will see what happens." Meanwhile, Sarri assured Chelsea he does not hold any homophobic or sexist views ahead of his appointment. And the Italian has also been enrolled straight on to an intensive course to improve his English, following his move to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea formally announced the appointment of Sarri, on a three-year contract, and the signing of midfielder Jorginho, on a five-year deal, on Saturday. England vs Belgium, player ratings The news was met positively by Chelsea supporters, despite some concerns over Sarri’s past misdemeanors. In 2016, while in charge of Napoli, he was accused of calling then Inter Milan manager Roberto Mancini a “poof” and a “faggott”, and was subsequently given a two-game ban and had to pay a 20,000 euro fine. At the time, Sarri said: “I was just irritable...I was not discriminating against anyone. If I did indeed use those words, then I apologise to the gay community.” Sarri was forced to apologise again in March this year for responding to a female reporter’s question by saying: “You’re a woman, you’re beautiful, for those two reasons I won’t tell you to go f*** yourself.” Telegraph Sport understands both incidents came up in negotiations between Sarri and Chelsea, and the 59-year-old was left in no doubt that any similar comments would be deemed completely unacceptable. Losing Hazard would be a blow for Chelsea's newly appointed manager, Maurizio Sarri Credit: Getty Images Sarri assured his new Blues bosses that both sets of comments did not represent his views and that they were ill-judged, and poorly worded. He also promised that they would not be repeated. In order to make sure he can communicate himself effectively at Chelsea, Sarri will immediately start taking English lessons at least once or twice a week while he prepares for the new season. Sarri is said to have a basic level of English he can already speak, due in part to the time he spent in the country in his previous career as a banker, but he is keen to improve it as quickly as possible. His cigarette habit is another issue that he will have to address, as smoking is banned inside English football stadiums. One player who will have no problem understanding Sarri is Jorginho, who turned down a move to Premier League champions Manchester City, to join Chelsea. Sarri and Jorginho worked together at Napoli, and the 26-year-old said: “I am absolutely ecstatic to be here at Chelsea. It is not easy to become part of such a big team so I am very, very happy. I am excited to play in such an intense league for a team that gives everything to play and win.”
Eden Hazard has issued a come and get me plea to Real Madrid by confirming that the time might be right for him to leave Chelsea once he returns from the World Cup. Chelsea are desperate to keep Hazard, who has two years remaining on his contract, but the Belgian is a target of both Real and Barcelona. After scoring against England to secure third place for Belgium at the World Cup, Hazard, who Chelsea value at over £200 million, was asked about his future. “I will go on holiday and ask myself the right questions,” said Hazard. “After six wonderful years at Chelsea, it might be time to discover something different. I can decide if I want to stay or go, but Chelsea will make the final decision - if they want to let me go. “For my career, certainly after this World Cup, I’m at a moment where I might change.” Hazard has spent six years at Chelsea, and has two years left on his contract Credit: Getty Images Hazard, who has never tried to hide his desire to play for Real one day, added: “We all know that I’ve always felt well at Chelsea, and I’ve been linked to all the big clubs. Next week it will be Bayern (Munich). No I’m joking. You all know my preferred destination.” Confirmation that Hazard may want to leave is a big blow to new head coach Maurizio Sarri and the 27-year-old said: “We knew for a while that Sarri was going to become the new manager. Now it's official. If he's a good manager? If he lets me win trophies, yes. Dries Mertens has said its a good manager. We will have to work hard. The Italian way, but we were used to that with Antonio Conte too. We will see what happens." Meanwhile, Sarri assured Chelsea he does not hold any homophobic or sexist views ahead of his appointment. And the Italian has also been enrolled straight on to an intensive course to improve his English, following his move to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea formally announced the appointment of Sarri, on a three-year contract, and the signing of midfielder Jorginho, on a five-year deal, on Saturday. England vs Belgium, player ratings The news was met positively by Chelsea supporters, despite some concerns over Sarri’s past misdemeanors. In 2016, while in charge of Napoli, he was accused of calling then Inter Milan manager Roberto Mancini a “poof” and a “faggott”, and was subsequently given a two-game ban and had to pay a 20,000 euro fine. At the time, Sarri said: “I was just irritable...I was not discriminating against anyone. If I did indeed use those words, then I apologise to the gay community.” Sarri was forced to apologise again in March this year for responding to a female reporter’s question by saying: “You’re a woman, you’re beautiful, for those two reasons I won’t tell you to go f*** yourself.” Telegraph Sport understands both incidents came up in negotiations between Sarri and Chelsea, and the 59-year-old was left in no doubt that any similar comments would be deemed completely unacceptable. Losing Hazard would be a blow for Chelsea's newly appointed manager, Maurizio Sarri Credit: Getty Images Sarri assured his new Blues bosses that both sets of comments did not represent his views and that they were ill-judged, and poorly worded. He also promised that they would not be repeated. In order to make sure he can communicate himself effectively at Chelsea, Sarri will immediately start taking English lessons at least once or twice a week while he prepares for the new season. Sarri is said to have a basic level of English he can already speak, due in part to the time he spent in the country in his previous career as a banker, but he is keen to improve it as quickly as possible. His cigarette habit is another issue that he will have to address, as smoking is banned inside English football stadiums. One player who will have no problem understanding Sarri is Jorginho, who turned down a move to Premier League champions Manchester City, to join Chelsea. Sarri and Jorginho worked together at Napoli, and the 26-year-old said: “I am absolutely ecstatic to be here at Chelsea. It is not easy to become part of such a big team so I am very, very happy. I am excited to play in such an intense league for a team that gives everything to play and win.”
Eden Hazard eyes future with Real Madrid as he confirms his time with Chelsea might be up
Eden Hazard has issued a come and get me plea to Real Madrid by confirming that the time might be right for him to leave Chelsea once he returns from the World Cup. Chelsea are desperate to keep Hazard, who has two years remaining on his contract, but the Belgian is a target of both Real and Barcelona. After scoring against England to secure third place for Belgium at the World Cup, Hazard, who Chelsea value at over £200 million, was asked about his future. “I will go on holiday and ask myself the right questions,” said Hazard. “After six wonderful years at Chelsea, it might be time to discover something different. I can decide if I want to stay or go, but Chelsea will make the final decision - if they want to let me go. “For my career, certainly after this World Cup, I’m at a moment where I might change.” Hazard has spent six years at Chelsea, and has two years left on his contract Credit: Getty Images Hazard, who has never tried to hide his desire to play for Real one day, added: “We all know that I’ve always felt well at Chelsea, and I’ve been linked to all the big clubs. Next week it will be Bayern (Munich). No I’m joking. You all know my preferred destination.” Confirmation that Hazard may want to leave is a big blow to new head coach Maurizio Sarri and the 27-year-old said: “We knew for a while that Sarri was going to become the new manager. Now it's official. If he's a good manager? If he lets me win trophies, yes. Dries Mertens has said its a good manager. We will have to work hard. The Italian way, but we were used to that with Antonio Conte too. We will see what happens." Meanwhile, Sarri assured Chelsea he does not hold any homophobic or sexist views ahead of his appointment. And the Italian has also been enrolled straight on to an intensive course to improve his English, following his move to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea formally announced the appointment of Sarri, on a three-year contract, and the signing of midfielder Jorginho, on a five-year deal, on Saturday. England vs Belgium, player ratings The news was met positively by Chelsea supporters, despite some concerns over Sarri’s past misdemeanors. In 2016, while in charge of Napoli, he was accused of calling then Inter Milan manager Roberto Mancini a “poof” and a “faggott”, and was subsequently given a two-game ban and had to pay a 20,000 euro fine. At the time, Sarri said: “I was just irritable...I was not discriminating against anyone. If I did indeed use those words, then I apologise to the gay community.” Sarri was forced to apologise again in March this year for responding to a female reporter’s question by saying: “You’re a woman, you’re beautiful, for those two reasons I won’t tell you to go f*** yourself.” Telegraph Sport understands both incidents came up in negotiations between Sarri and Chelsea, and the 59-year-old was left in no doubt that any similar comments would be deemed completely unacceptable. Losing Hazard would be a blow for Chelsea's newly appointed manager, Maurizio Sarri Credit: Getty Images Sarri assured his new Blues bosses that both sets of comments did not represent his views and that they were ill-judged, and poorly worded. He also promised that they would not be repeated. In order to make sure he can communicate himself effectively at Chelsea, Sarri will immediately start taking English lessons at least once or twice a week while he prepares for the new season. Sarri is said to have a basic level of English he can already speak, due in part to the time he spent in the country in his previous career as a banker, but he is keen to improve it as quickly as possible. His cigarette habit is another issue that he will have to address, as smoking is banned inside English football stadiums. One player who will have no problem understanding Sarri is Jorginho, who turned down a move to Premier League champions Manchester City, to join Chelsea. Sarri and Jorginho worked together at Napoli, and the 26-year-old said: “I am absolutely ecstatic to be here at Chelsea. It is not easy to become part of such a big team so I am very, very happy. I am excited to play in such an intense league for a team that gives everything to play and win.”
Eden Hazard has issued a come and get me plea to Real Madrid by confirming that the time might be right for him to leave Chelsea once he returns from the World Cup. Chelsea are desperate to keep Hazard, who has two years remaining on his contract, but the Belgian is a target of both Real and Barcelona. After scoring against England to secure third place for Belgium at the World Cup, Hazard, who Chelsea value at over £200 million, was asked about his future. “I will go on holiday and ask myself the right questions,” said Hazard. “After six wonderful years at Chelsea, it might be time to discover something different. I can decide if I want to stay or go, but Chelsea will make the final decision - if they want to let me go. “For my career, certainly after this World Cup, I’m at a moment where I might change.” Hazard has spent six years at Chelsea, and has two years left on his contract Credit: Getty Images Hazard, who has never tried to hide his desire to play for Real one day, added: “We all know that I’ve always felt well at Chelsea, and I’ve been linked to all the big clubs. Next week it will be Bayern (Munich). No I’m joking. You all know my preferred destination.” Confirmation that Hazard may want to leave is a big blow to new head coach Maurizio Sarri and the 27-year-old said: “We knew for a while that Sarri was going to become the new manager. Now it's official. If he's a good manager? If he lets me win trophies, yes. Dries Mertens has said its a good manager. We will have to work hard. The Italian way, but we were used to that with Antonio Conte too. We will see what happens." Meanwhile, Sarri assured Chelsea he does not hold any homophobic or sexist views ahead of his appointment. And the Italian has also been enrolled straight on to an intensive course to improve his English, following his move to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea formally announced the appointment of Sarri, on a three-year contract, and the signing of midfielder Jorginho, on a five-year deal, on Saturday. England vs Belgium, player ratings The news was met positively by Chelsea supporters, despite some concerns over Sarri’s past misdemeanors. In 2016, while in charge of Napoli, he was accused of calling then Inter Milan manager Roberto Mancini a “poof” and a “faggott”, and was subsequently given a two-game ban and had to pay a 20,000 euro fine. At the time, Sarri said: “I was just irritable...I was not discriminating against anyone. If I did indeed use those words, then I apologise to the gay community.” Sarri was forced to apologise again in March this year for responding to a female reporter’s question by saying: “You’re a woman, you’re beautiful, for those two reasons I won’t tell you to go f*** yourself.” Telegraph Sport understands both incidents came up in negotiations between Sarri and Chelsea, and the 59-year-old was left in no doubt that any similar comments would be deemed completely unacceptable. Losing Hazard would be a blow for Chelsea's newly appointed manager, Maurizio Sarri Credit: Getty Images Sarri assured his new Blues bosses that both sets of comments did not represent his views and that they were ill-judged, and poorly worded. He also promised that they would not be repeated. In order to make sure he can communicate himself effectively at Chelsea, Sarri will immediately start taking English lessons at least once or twice a week while he prepares for the new season. Sarri is said to have a basic level of English he can already speak, due in part to the time he spent in the country in his previous career as a banker, but he is keen to improve it as quickly as possible. His cigarette habit is another issue that he will have to address, as smoking is banned inside English football stadiums. One player who will have no problem understanding Sarri is Jorginho, who turned down a move to Premier League champions Manchester City, to join Chelsea. Sarri and Jorginho worked together at Napoli, and the 26-year-old said: “I am absolutely ecstatic to be here at Chelsea. It is not easy to become part of such a big team so I am very, very happy. I am excited to play in such an intense league for a team that gives everything to play and win.”
Eden Hazard eyes future with Real Madrid as he confirms his time with Chelsea might be up
Eden Hazard has issued a come and get me plea to Real Madrid by confirming that the time might be right for him to leave Chelsea once he returns from the World Cup. Chelsea are desperate to keep Hazard, who has two years remaining on his contract, but the Belgian is a target of both Real and Barcelona. After scoring against England to secure third place for Belgium at the World Cup, Hazard, who Chelsea value at over £200 million, was asked about his future. “I will go on holiday and ask myself the right questions,” said Hazard. “After six wonderful years at Chelsea, it might be time to discover something different. I can decide if I want to stay or go, but Chelsea will make the final decision - if they want to let me go. “For my career, certainly after this World Cup, I’m at a moment where I might change.” Hazard has spent six years at Chelsea, and has two years left on his contract Credit: Getty Images Hazard, who has never tried to hide his desire to play for Real one day, added: “We all know that I’ve always felt well at Chelsea, and I’ve been linked to all the big clubs. Next week it will be Bayern (Munich). No I’m joking. You all know my preferred destination.” Confirmation that Hazard may want to leave is a big blow to new head coach Maurizio Sarri and the 27-year-old said: “We knew for a while that Sarri was going to become the new manager. Now it's official. If he's a good manager? If he lets me win trophies, yes. Dries Mertens has said its a good manager. We will have to work hard. The Italian way, but we were used to that with Antonio Conte too. We will see what happens." Meanwhile, Sarri assured Chelsea he does not hold any homophobic or sexist views ahead of his appointment. And the Italian has also been enrolled straight on to an intensive course to improve his English, following his move to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea formally announced the appointment of Sarri, on a three-year contract, and the signing of midfielder Jorginho, on a five-year deal, on Saturday. England vs Belgium, player ratings The news was met positively by Chelsea supporters, despite some concerns over Sarri’s past misdemeanors. In 2016, while in charge of Napoli, he was accused of calling then Inter Milan manager Roberto Mancini a “poof” and a “faggott”, and was subsequently given a two-game ban and had to pay a 20,000 euro fine. At the time, Sarri said: “I was just irritable...I was not discriminating against anyone. If I did indeed use those words, then I apologise to the gay community.” Sarri was forced to apologise again in March this year for responding to a female reporter’s question by saying: “You’re a woman, you’re beautiful, for those two reasons I won’t tell you to go f*** yourself.” Telegraph Sport understands both incidents came up in negotiations between Sarri and Chelsea, and the 59-year-old was left in no doubt that any similar comments would be deemed completely unacceptable. Losing Hazard would be a blow for Chelsea's newly appointed manager, Maurizio Sarri Credit: Getty Images Sarri assured his new Blues bosses that both sets of comments did not represent his views and that they were ill-judged, and poorly worded. He also promised that they would not be repeated. In order to make sure he can communicate himself effectively at Chelsea, Sarri will immediately start taking English lessons at least once or twice a week while he prepares for the new season. Sarri is said to have a basic level of English he can already speak, due in part to the time he spent in the country in his previous career as a banker, but he is keen to improve it as quickly as possible. His cigarette habit is another issue that he will have to address, as smoking is banned inside English football stadiums. One player who will have no problem understanding Sarri is Jorginho, who turned down a move to Premier League champions Manchester City, to join Chelsea. Sarri and Jorginho worked together at Napoli, and the 26-year-old said: “I am absolutely ecstatic to be here at Chelsea. It is not easy to become part of such a big team so I am very, very happy. I am excited to play in such an intense league for a team that gives everything to play and win.”
Maurizio Sarri assured Chelsea he does not hold any homophobic or sexist views ahead of his appointment as new head coach. And Sarri has also been enrolled straight on to an intensive course to improve his English, following his move to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea formally announced the appointment of Sarri, on a three-year contract, and the signing of midfielder Jorginho, on a five-year deal, on Saturday. The news was met positively by Chelsea supporters, despite some concerns over Sarri’s past misdemeanors. In 2016, while in charge of Napoli, he was accused of calling then Inter Milan manager Roberto Mancini a “p***” and a “f******”, and was subsequently given a two-game ban and had to pay a €20,000 fine. Maurizio Sarri signing on the dotted line with Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia (right) Credit: getty images At the time, Sarri said: “I was just irritable... I was not discriminating against anyone. If I did indeed use those words, then I apologise to the gay community.” Sarri was forced to apologise again in March this year for responding to a female reporter’s question by saying: “You’re a woman, you’re beautiful, for those two reasons I won’t tell you to go f*** yourself.” Telegraph Sport understands both incidents came up in negotiations between Sarri and Chelsea, and the 59 year-old was left in no doubt that any similar comments would be deemed completely unacceptable. Sarri assured his new Blues bosses that both sets of comments did not represent his views and that they were ill-judged, and poorly worded. He also promised that they would not be repeated. In order to make sure he can communicate effectively at Chelsea, Sarri will immediately start taking English lessons at least once or twice a week while he prepares for the new season. Maurizio Sarri has been enrolled straight on to an intensive course to improve his English Credit: afp Sarri is said to have a basic level of English, due in part to the time he spent in the country in his previous career as a banker, but he is keen to improve it as quickly as possible. His cigarette habit is another issue that he will have to address, as smoking is banned inside English football stadiums. One player who will have no problem understanding Sarri is Jorginho, who turned down a move to Premier League champions Manchester City, to join Chelsea. Sarri and Jorginho worked together at Napoli, and the 26 year-old said: “I am absolutely ecstatic to be here at Chelsea. It is not easy to become part of such a big team so I am very, very happy. I am excited to play in such an intense league for a team that gives everything to play and win.”
Exclusive: Maurizio Sarri assures Chelsea he is not homophobic or sexist as he and Jorginho move to Stamford Bridge
Maurizio Sarri assured Chelsea he does not hold any homophobic or sexist views ahead of his appointment as new head coach. And Sarri has also been enrolled straight on to an intensive course to improve his English, following his move to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea formally announced the appointment of Sarri, on a three-year contract, and the signing of midfielder Jorginho, on a five-year deal, on Saturday. The news was met positively by Chelsea supporters, despite some concerns over Sarri’s past misdemeanors. In 2016, while in charge of Napoli, he was accused of calling then Inter Milan manager Roberto Mancini a “p***” and a “f******”, and was subsequently given a two-game ban and had to pay a €20,000 fine. Maurizio Sarri signing on the dotted line with Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia (right) Credit: getty images At the time, Sarri said: “I was just irritable... I was not discriminating against anyone. If I did indeed use those words, then I apologise to the gay community.” Sarri was forced to apologise again in March this year for responding to a female reporter’s question by saying: “You’re a woman, you’re beautiful, for those two reasons I won’t tell you to go f*** yourself.” Telegraph Sport understands both incidents came up in negotiations between Sarri and Chelsea, and the 59 year-old was left in no doubt that any similar comments would be deemed completely unacceptable. Sarri assured his new Blues bosses that both sets of comments did not represent his views and that they were ill-judged, and poorly worded. He also promised that they would not be repeated. In order to make sure he can communicate effectively at Chelsea, Sarri will immediately start taking English lessons at least once or twice a week while he prepares for the new season. Maurizio Sarri has been enrolled straight on to an intensive course to improve his English Credit: afp Sarri is said to have a basic level of English, due in part to the time he spent in the country in his previous career as a banker, but he is keen to improve it as quickly as possible. His cigarette habit is another issue that he will have to address, as smoking is banned inside English football stadiums. One player who will have no problem understanding Sarri is Jorginho, who turned down a move to Premier League champions Manchester City, to join Chelsea. Sarri and Jorginho worked together at Napoli, and the 26 year-old said: “I am absolutely ecstatic to be here at Chelsea. It is not easy to become part of such a big team so I am very, very happy. I am excited to play in such an intense league for a team that gives everything to play and win.”
Maurizio Sarri assured Chelsea he does not hold any homophobic or sexist views ahead of his appointment as new head coach. And Sarri has also been enrolled straight on to an intensive course to improve his English, following his move to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea formally announced the appointment of Sarri, on a three-year contract, and the signing of midfielder Jorginho, on a five-year deal, on Saturday. The news was met positively by Chelsea supporters, despite some concerns over Sarri’s past misdemeanors. In 2016, while in charge of Napoli, he was accused of calling then Inter Milan manager Roberto Mancini a “p***” and a “f******”, and was subsequently given a two-game ban and had to pay a €20,000 fine. Maurizio Sarri signing on the dotted line with Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia (right) Credit: getty images At the time, Sarri said: “I was just irritable... I was not discriminating against anyone. If I did indeed use those words, then I apologise to the gay community.” Sarri was forced to apologise again in March this year for responding to a female reporter’s question by saying: “You’re a woman, you’re beautiful, for those two reasons I won’t tell you to go f*** yourself.” Telegraph Sport understands both incidents came up in negotiations between Sarri and Chelsea, and the 59 year-old was left in no doubt that any similar comments would be deemed completely unacceptable. Sarri assured his new Blues bosses that both sets of comments did not represent his views and that they were ill-judged, and poorly worded. He also promised that they would not be repeated. In order to make sure he can communicate effectively at Chelsea, Sarri will immediately start taking English lessons at least once or twice a week while he prepares for the new season. Maurizio Sarri has been enrolled straight on to an intensive course to improve his English Credit: afp Sarri is said to have a basic level of English, due in part to the time he spent in the country in his previous career as a banker, but he is keen to improve it as quickly as possible. His cigarette habit is another issue that he will have to address, as smoking is banned inside English football stadiums. One player who will have no problem understanding Sarri is Jorginho, who turned down a move to Premier League champions Manchester City, to join Chelsea. Sarri and Jorginho worked together at Napoli, and the 26 year-old said: “I am absolutely ecstatic to be here at Chelsea. It is not easy to become part of such a big team so I am very, very happy. I am excited to play in such an intense league for a team that gives everything to play and win.”
Exclusive: Maurizio Sarri assures Chelsea he is not homophobic or sexist as he and Jorginho move to Stamford Bridge
Maurizio Sarri assured Chelsea he does not hold any homophobic or sexist views ahead of his appointment as new head coach. And Sarri has also been enrolled straight on to an intensive course to improve his English, following his move to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea formally announced the appointment of Sarri, on a three-year contract, and the signing of midfielder Jorginho, on a five-year deal, on Saturday. The news was met positively by Chelsea supporters, despite some concerns over Sarri’s past misdemeanors. In 2016, while in charge of Napoli, he was accused of calling then Inter Milan manager Roberto Mancini a “p***” and a “f******”, and was subsequently given a two-game ban and had to pay a €20,000 fine. Maurizio Sarri signing on the dotted line with Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia (right) Credit: getty images At the time, Sarri said: “I was just irritable... I was not discriminating against anyone. If I did indeed use those words, then I apologise to the gay community.” Sarri was forced to apologise again in March this year for responding to a female reporter’s question by saying: “You’re a woman, you’re beautiful, for those two reasons I won’t tell you to go f*** yourself.” Telegraph Sport understands both incidents came up in negotiations between Sarri and Chelsea, and the 59 year-old was left in no doubt that any similar comments would be deemed completely unacceptable. Sarri assured his new Blues bosses that both sets of comments did not represent his views and that they were ill-judged, and poorly worded. He also promised that they would not be repeated. In order to make sure he can communicate effectively at Chelsea, Sarri will immediately start taking English lessons at least once or twice a week while he prepares for the new season. Maurizio Sarri has been enrolled straight on to an intensive course to improve his English Credit: afp Sarri is said to have a basic level of English, due in part to the time he spent in the country in his previous career as a banker, but he is keen to improve it as quickly as possible. His cigarette habit is another issue that he will have to address, as smoking is banned inside English football stadiums. One player who will have no problem understanding Sarri is Jorginho, who turned down a move to Premier League champions Manchester City, to join Chelsea. Sarri and Jorginho worked together at Napoli, and the 26 year-old said: “I am absolutely ecstatic to be here at Chelsea. It is not easy to become part of such a big team so I am very, very happy. I am excited to play in such an intense league for a team that gives everything to play and win.”
Maurizio Sarri assured Chelsea he does not hold any homophobic or sexist views ahead of his appointment as new head coach. And Sarri has also been enrolled straight on to an intensive course to improve his English, following his move to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea formally announced the appointment of Sarri, on a three-year contract, and the signing of midfielder Jorginho, on a five-year deal, on Saturday. The news was met positively by Chelsea supporters, despite some concerns over Sarri’s past misdemeanors. In 2016, while in charge of Napoli, he was accused of calling then Inter Milan manager Roberto Mancini a “p***” and a “f******”, and was subsequently given a two-game ban and had to pay a €20,000 fine. Maurizio Sarri signing on the dotted line with Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia (right) Credit: getty images At the time, Sarri said: “I was just irritable... I was not discriminating against anyone. If I did indeed use those words, then I apologise to the gay community.” Sarri was forced to apologise again in March this year for responding to a female reporter’s question by saying: “You’re a woman, you’re beautiful, for those two reasons I won’t tell you to go f*** yourself.” Telegraph Sport understands both incidents came up in negotiations between Sarri and Chelsea, and the 59 year-old was left in no doubt that any similar comments would be deemed completely unacceptable. Sarri assured his new Blues bosses that both sets of comments did not represent his views and that they were ill-judged, and poorly worded. He also promised that they would not be repeated. In order to make sure he can communicate effectively at Chelsea, Sarri will immediately start taking English lessons at least once or twice a week while he prepares for the new season. Maurizio Sarri has been enrolled straight on to an intensive course to improve his English Credit: afp Sarri is said to have a basic level of English, due in part to the time he spent in the country in his previous career as a banker, but he is keen to improve it as quickly as possible. His cigarette habit is another issue that he will have to address, as smoking is banned inside English football stadiums. One player who will have no problem understanding Sarri is Jorginho, who turned down a move to Premier League champions Manchester City, to join Chelsea. Sarri and Jorginho worked together at Napoli, and the 26 year-old said: “I am absolutely ecstatic to be here at Chelsea. It is not easy to become part of such a big team so I am very, very happy. I am excited to play in such an intense league for a team that gives everything to play and win.”
Exclusive: Maurizio Sarri assures Chelsea he is not homophobic or sexist as he and Jorginho move to Stamford Bridge
Maurizio Sarri assured Chelsea he does not hold any homophobic or sexist views ahead of his appointment as new head coach. And Sarri has also been enrolled straight on to an intensive course to improve his English, following his move to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea formally announced the appointment of Sarri, on a three-year contract, and the signing of midfielder Jorginho, on a five-year deal, on Saturday. The news was met positively by Chelsea supporters, despite some concerns over Sarri’s past misdemeanors. In 2016, while in charge of Napoli, he was accused of calling then Inter Milan manager Roberto Mancini a “p***” and a “f******”, and was subsequently given a two-game ban and had to pay a €20,000 fine. Maurizio Sarri signing on the dotted line with Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia (right) Credit: getty images At the time, Sarri said: “I was just irritable... I was not discriminating against anyone. If I did indeed use those words, then I apologise to the gay community.” Sarri was forced to apologise again in March this year for responding to a female reporter’s question by saying: “You’re a woman, you’re beautiful, for those two reasons I won’t tell you to go f*** yourself.” Telegraph Sport understands both incidents came up in negotiations between Sarri and Chelsea, and the 59 year-old was left in no doubt that any similar comments would be deemed completely unacceptable. Sarri assured his new Blues bosses that both sets of comments did not represent his views and that they were ill-judged, and poorly worded. He also promised that they would not be repeated. In order to make sure he can communicate effectively at Chelsea, Sarri will immediately start taking English lessons at least once or twice a week while he prepares for the new season. Maurizio Sarri has been enrolled straight on to an intensive course to improve his English Credit: afp Sarri is said to have a basic level of English, due in part to the time he spent in the country in his previous career as a banker, but he is keen to improve it as quickly as possible. His cigarette habit is another issue that he will have to address, as smoking is banned inside English football stadiums. One player who will have no problem understanding Sarri is Jorginho, who turned down a move to Premier League champions Manchester City, to join Chelsea. Sarri and Jorginho worked together at Napoli, and the 26 year-old said: “I am absolutely ecstatic to be here at Chelsea. It is not easy to become part of such a big team so I am very, very happy. I am excited to play in such an intense league for a team that gives everything to play and win.”
Liverpool have signed Xherdan Shaqiri from Stoke City in a five-year deal. The forward is an absolute bargain as Liverpool only had to meet his £13 mn release clause as Stoke City were relegated from the Premier League in 2017/18. He had joined the Potters, in 2015, for a club record of £12 mn from Inter Milan and is one of their biggest stars.
Why did Liverpool decide to sign Xherdan Shaqiri?
Liverpool have signed Xherdan Shaqiri from Stoke City in a five-year deal. The forward is an absolute bargain as Liverpool only had to meet his £13 mn release clause as Stoke City were relegated from the Premier League in 2017/18. He had joined the Potters, in 2015, for a club record of £12 mn from Inter Milan and is one of their biggest stars.
Luciano Spalletti likened Inter attacker Ivan Perisic to incoming Juventus superstar and five-time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo.
Spalletti compares Perisic to Ronaldo
Luciano Spalletti likened Inter attacker Ivan Perisic to incoming Juventus superstar and five-time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo.
Wimbledon’s marathon man John Isner was at it again, but this time he was outlasted by Kevin Anderson in an extraordinary 6hr 36min semi-final, the third-longest singles match in history. It was going to take something special to separate these gladiators as they went ace for ace and blow for blow. With the light starting to fade close to 8pm, the saga duly got the ending that it deserved. In the 49th game of the fifth set and at love-15 up, Anderson slipped at the back of the court. He fell to the ground, so did his racket, but when Isner put his return into the centre of the court, Anderson got off the canvas like Rocky, picked up his racket left-handed and got his forehand back into play to win the point. Hollywood eat your heart out. For the fourth consecutive Isner service game, Anderson was love-30 up. On every previous occasion, Isner’s blunderbuss serve, which peaked at 142mph, had come to his rescue. Not this time. A second serve was the chance that Anderson had been waiting for and he hit a forehand winner to engineer three break points. Isner had saved four previous break points in this marathon final set, which was approaching the three-hour mark. Each time he produced an ace to save his skin. The fifth was saved with a serve and volley, but he could not repeat the trick, at 15-40 putting a backhand into the net. The crowd celebrated raucously, as much with relief than anything else, but the job was not yet done and Anderson had to serve out the match. What must have been going through the 32-year-old’s head? On two of the three games that he had broken Isner, the American had broken straight back. This time he held his nerve as Isner put a forehand into the tramlines. There were no wild celebrations from Anderson despite becoming the first South African man in 97 years to reach a Wimbledon final, in part because of exhaustion, in part in sympathy for his vanquished foe who he first played on the American college circuit 14 years ago. Anderson prevails at last by winning the 99th game of the semi-final Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images “Coming through that match, obviously I’m ecstatic to be through to the finals.” Anderson said. “At the same time, you know, you feel like it should be a draw. But somebody has to win.” Eight years ago, Isner took part in the longest match in history in his 11hrs 5ms conquest of Nicolas Mahut. The 33-year-old has repeatedly said that he did not want his career be defined by that match. Fate obviously has a sick sense of humour. The Donald Trump supporter will have to wait to make American men’s tennis great again with Andy Roddick, their last male representative to reached a grand slam final nine years ago. “I feel pretty terrible,” Isner said. My left heel is killing me. I have an awful blister on my right foot. It stinks to lose, but I gave it everything I had out there. I just lost to someone who is a little bit better at the end.” Anderson’s victory is even more remarkable when you consider that in the last 16 he went three and a half hours against Gaël Monfils in the last 16 and then became only the fifth man to come from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in a four-hour plus quarter-final. We all thought he would have nothing left. How wrong we were. “You’re really in a war of attrition out there,” Anderson said. “It’s way beyond a normal tennis match or tactics. I mean, it’s just who’s going to, you know, outlast each other.” "Anderson vs Isner, a Wimbledon classic - you better believe it" A Centre Court epic ends with @KAndersonATP going through to the #Wimbledon final, beating John Isner 7-6(6), 6-7(5), 6-7(9), 6-4, 26-24 pic.twitter.com/Fv4ww2cEzK— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 That a match between the tournament’s two leading severs went to five sets was no surprise. To paraphrase Guns n’ Roses, “Take me down to tiebreak city, where the grass is green and the serves aren’t pretty.” Yet as the match progress and each man’s serve lost its rapier edge and the rallies went to script. The first three sets went according to script, although how different might the contest have been had Isner seized one of three break points in Anderson’s second service game? Anderson took the first tiebreak and double-faulted on set point in the second which allowed his opponent to draw level. Business started picking up in the third set when Isner, after winning 110 consecutive service games at this tournament, was finally broken. Almost inevitably, Isner broke back straight away as if he was righting a cosmetic imbalance. Health of players at risk The third-set tie-break was a classic bit of psychological theatre. Each man traded mini-breaks and lost set-point opportunities, notably when Anderson double-faulted at 8-7. When Anderson sent a forehand into the tramlines, Isner looked too shocked to celebrate. Showing some incredible reflexes, Anderson broke in the fourth game of the fourth set. Like night follows day, Isner broke straight back only to go love-40 down in his very next service game and this time Anderson held his nerve to take it to a fifth set that even Tolstoy would have considered overblown. 7:59PM A word for the vanquished "At the end you feel like it’s a draw, but someone has to win. John is a great guy and I really feel for him" - @KAndersonATP#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/SHU5fVNUc9— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 7:51PM Big Kev is through Anderson looks completely frazzled and the first thing he does is express his sympathy for his opponent: "I don't know how you can take playing for that long and not coming out on the winning side." 7:48PM Game, set and match! Anderson defeats Isner 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 26-24 An ace takes Anderson to 30-15. He exhales meaningfully. Isner then sends a return long and it's two match points at 40-15. And that's it! Isner pushes a forehand wide, and finally, finally it's over. Kevin Anderson is through to the Wimbledon final after 6hr 35min. 7:43PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 25-24 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Anderson falls to the floor, drops his racket and picks it up to play left-handed. And he wins the point to make it 0-30 again! That was insane! Anderson then spins away a forehand winner and it's three break points at 0-40. Surely, surely he has to take one of these?! Yes he does! Isner nets a backhand on the second one and Anderson will serve for the match! Oh my word, if Anderson gets broken here! Credit: PA 7:40PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 24-24 Isner* (*next server) Isner has not had a single break point all set, and Anderson holds again to love. 7:37PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 23-24 Isner (*next server) Right, is this it. Isner puts a tired forehand into the net and it's 0-30 again. But once again Isner bangs down a flurry of big serves and holds to 30. Isner's won enough games this set to have won four sets. 7:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 23-23 Isner* (*next server) Love hold for Anderson. What on earth must Nadal and Djokovic, who follow this match, be thinking? 7:30PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 22-23 Isner (*next server) It's another chance for Anderson, as he caresses a backhand down the line for 0-30. An ace and a missed Anderson backhand make it 30-30. Isner then flicks away a forehand for 40-30 before a missed Anderson forehand seals the hold. Credit: REUTERS 7:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 22-22 Isner* (*next server) Isner has the tiniest glimmer of a break at 15-15. Anderson slams the door shut and holds to 15. 7:23PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 21-22 Isner (*next server) Here we go again. Isner misses a forehand for 0-30 but responds with two big serves for 30-30. Anderson then duffs an easy backhand to make it 30-40, before Isner returns the favour with a netted volley for deuce. Isner desperately retrieves a low forehand and then punches away a volley to complete the hold. 7:19PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 21-21 Isner* (*next server) Isner receives rapturous applause at each of the points he wins this game, but Anderson emerges with a hold to 30. 7:14PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 20-21 Isner (*next server) Anderson sprays a forehand just wide and Isner holds on to 15. Credit: REUTERS 7:12PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 20-20 Isner* (*next server) Anderson responds with a hold to love. Genuinely starting to wonder if this will ever end. 7:12PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 19-20 Isner (*next server) No sniff for Anderson this game as Isner holds to 15. 7:07PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 19-19 Isner* (*next server) Anderson guides a backhand beautifully down the line to complete a hold to 15. For a moment at 15-15, Isner dared to ream. 7:03PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 18-19 Isner (*next server) Isner endures a shaky moment as he allows Anderson back in the game at 40-30 from 40-0, but he forces Anderson to miss a backhand and holds on. 7:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 18-18 Isner* (*next server) This set began at 4.45. Anderson holds to love, and is yet to face a break point in this final set. Credit: Getty Images 6:58PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 17-18 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves two break points and holds Isner misses a forehand for 15-30, and another forehand flies wide for 15-40 - two break points. Isner saves the first with an ace out wide. And indeed the second with an ace down the T. A service winner makes it advantage Isner, and he digs out the hold with a backhand pass. Nothing Anderson could have done there. 6:52PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 17-17 Isner* (*next server) Anderson holds to love, as the court coverers start to gather. We continue for now. Hopefully the shower will pass. 6:50PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 16-17 Isner (*next server) Still no immediate end in sight as Isner holds to 15. Play can go on until 11pm tonight. Will it end before then? And it's started to rain! On we go for the moment but it's definitely spitting. 6:47PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 16-16 Isner* (*next server) Two aces and a service winner from Anderson seals a very impressive hold. He's kept his level superbly this set. So has Isner in the main to be fair. Of all Wimbledon matches ever, only Isner v Mahut has ever lasted longer than this. Kevin Anderson vs John Isner. Officially the second longest singles match in Championships history.#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/fGGHRQaqz7— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 6:44PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 15-16 Isner (*next server) Isner nets a backhand for 0-15, and Anderson is close to 0-30 but he pulls a backhand just wide. Instead it's 15-15, and buoyed by the reprieve Isner holds to 30. 6:41PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 15-15 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is so on top at the moment in general play but he just can't get the break. He holds to 30 here having sped to 40-0. It is 15-15. 6:36PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 14-15 Isner (*next server) An ace and a forehand winner take Isner to a hold to 15. We're almost at 15-15 in games, which I always find amusing. It's the little things in life. Credit: AFP 6:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 14-14 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks knackered as he fails painfully to get to a low backhand. Anderson holds to 15. On we go. It feels like about a year since this match started. 6:30PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 13-14 Isner (*next server) "Come on guys, we want to see Rafa!" someone screams from the crowd. But the wait continues as Isner holds to 30. 6:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 13-13 Isner* (*next server) Anderson certainly looks the fresher of the two but Isner knows he's so close now to the final. Anderson keeps him at arm's length with a hold to 15 - sealed with consecutive aces out wide. Credit: REUTERS 6:23PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 12-13 Isner (*next server) A missed Isner backhand has us at 15-15, but any hopes of a break are dashed in the next few points as Isner holds to 30 with a clinical forehand winner. 6:20PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 12-12 Isner* (*next server) Still Anderson continues to serve accurately. He hasn't faced a break point in this final set, and races to 40-0 here. A forehand winner secures the hold to 15. We've been playing 5hr 9 min. 6:15PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 11-12 Isner (*next server) A blessedly straightforward hold for Isner after those recent struggles. He holds to love here. 6:14PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 11-11 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks pumped up, especially after Anderson nets a forehand volley for 0-15. Anderson responds in style again and holds to 15 after reeling off the next four points. Will this ever end? Credit: Getty Images 6:10PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 10-11 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds It's 0-30 again as Anderson whips away a forehand winner. Can Isner pull himself up from the canvas again? An ace out wide and a forehand winner make it 30-30. But a fizzing low return brings up a break point for Anderson at 30-40. He gets a look at it but miscues a backhand pass well long. Isner then bangs down an ace and heroically chases down a drop shot to seal the game. His momentum takes him into his chair for the change of ends. That was spectacular. 6:04PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 10-10 Isner* (*next server) Now it's Isner who can sniff a break, after he sends a forehand perfectly onto the baseline for 0-15. Anderson responds well though and reels off the next three points for 40-15. He eventually holds for 40-30. 5:59PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 9-10 Isner (*next server) Isner misses two forehands and it's 0-30! It's then heart in mouth time for Isner but he just clears the net with a low volley for 15-30. He then repeats the trick for 30-30 after Anderson stretched every sinew to retrieve a forehand. An ace makes it 40-30 and a volley winner completes the hold. 5:55PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 9-9 Isner* (*next server) Crazy how fresh Anderson looks given his previous matches lasted almost eight hours, and he's played nigh on five hours here. Anderson races to 40-15, but Isner is two points away from the final at deuce as Anderson sends a backhand wide at the end of a rare long rally. Anderson responds in style, with an ace and service winner to complete the hold. Credit: REUTERS 5:48PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 8-9 Isner (*next server) The players are wearying but no-one can get the break. Isner holds to 15 and the pressure swings right back to Anderson. 5:45PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 8-8 Isner* (*next server) After the drama of the last game, Anderson holds to love - sealed with an ace out wide. On we go. 5:43PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 7-8 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds Big chance here for Anderson. Isner sends a lunging volley long and Anderson's up 0-30. A hush fills Centre Court. A stupendous low volley from Isner makes it 15-30, before an ace down the T has us at 30-30. But a stinging Anderson return brings up a break point at 30-40. Isner of course saves it with an ace. Two crushing serves follow, and Isner holds. He screams "that's it!" in celebration. 5:36PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 7-7 Isner* (*next server) No dramas for Big Kev as an inside-in forehand winner seals a hold to love. Credit: REUTERS 5:33PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 6-7 Isner (*next server) An effective serve-volley play helps Isner to a hold to 15. No break points yet this set. 5:30PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 6-6 Isner* (*next server) Anderson nets a backhand. It's 0-15. Isner is three points from the final. Make that two points, as Isner smokes a forehand up the line for 15-30. Isner then sends a pair of backhands long and it's 40-30. Anderson seals the hold with a bullet serve out wide. No final set tie-breaker remember so on we go. Meanwhile... The Telegraph Sports desk has had their say on Anderson vs Isner Who will come out on top in this five set thriller, and what will the score be? @TelegraphSport#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/C3RzGzHubd— Jamie Johnson (@JamieoJohnson) July 13, 2018 5:26PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 5-6 Isner (*next server) Stinging Anderson forehand return winner has us at 15-15. In the context of the match so far, this is a chance! Isner responds well with a couple of banging serves for 40-15, and he eventually holds to 30. Anderson will serve to stay in the match for a second time. I'm going to stop writing that from here on in as he will be serving to stay in the match on every service game. 5:22PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 5-5 Isner* (*next server) Isner gets a look a couple of returns but he's a little flat footed and Anderson holds to 15. A reminder from Greg below that there's no tie-break on the final set at Wimbledon. US Open is the only grand slam where there is one. I think there should be tiebreakers in the final set at all Grand Slams as it creates more drama and allows players to recover better. Are we going to beat Isner vs Mahut record today with Anderson vs Isner Wimbledon semi?— Greg Rusedski (@GregRusedski1) July 13, 2018 5:18PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 4-5 Isner (*next server) Isner is still being bothered by that blister on his right hand. He holds to 15 and prior to the final point of the game calls for the trainer. Anderson will serve to stay in the match. 5:16PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) No let up from Anderson, who holds assertively to love. Meanwhile a word of encouragement for Isner from the last American man to reach a grand slam final. Come on John— andyroddick (@andyroddick) July 13, 2018 5:13PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 3-4 Isner (*next server) The worry is that as the players get progressively more tired they struggle even more to return. Speaking of which, Isner bangs down an ace - his 200th of the tournament - to wrap up a simple hold to 15. Credit: AP 5:11PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) Isner's won all five of the last meetings between these two. Will that mean anything as we enter the home straight? I suspect not a huge amount. Anderson holds to love as the match clock ticks into its fifth hour. 5:07PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 2-3 Isner (*next server) You've got to credit these guys, they've kept a very high level throughout. Isner sends down a couple of heat-seeking missile-like serves on his way to a breezy hold to 15. 5:04PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Isner hasn't been a break up at any point this match. It's a sequence that continues here as Anderson holds to 15. 5:01PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Isner bangs down three aces to take his tally to 39 and complete the hold. Credit: REUTERS 5:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Anderson looks fresher now than he did half an hour ago and holds easily to 15. 4:56PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 0-1 Isner (*next server) Isner picks himself up and holds to love. We've been playing 3hr 45 min. 4:53PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4 Isner* (*next server) - Fourth set Anderson! Can Anderson finally consolidate a break and in so doing take us into a deciding set? An ace takes Anderson to three set points at 40-0. Isner saves the first two with blistering returns, and the third with a howitzer of a forehand. This is insane! Anderson then earns a fourth set point with a smash, and he takes this one when Isner nets a return! We're heading for a final set. There'll be no tie-breaker remember so we could be here all night. Djokovic and Nadal continue to wait... Marathon men...@KAndersonATP wins the fourth set 6-4 against John Isner and the battle for a place in the #Wimbledon final goes all the way... pic.twitter.com/MagHg8E5zo— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 4:47PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 5-4 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Isner nets a half-volley and then does likewise on a backhand to gift Anderson a break point at 30-40. Anderson takes it with a backhand pass that flies past his opponent. Unbelievable. Anderson, who is breathing a little heavily now, will serve to take us into a fifth set. 4:43PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) Some normality restored as Anderson holds to love. On we go... Credit: Reuters 4:40PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-4 Isner (*next server) Isner double faults for 30-30. Surely not a third consecutive break in a row? No. Isner slams down a big serve and is then relieved as Anderson misses an easy backhand pass. 4:37PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) - Isner breaks back! The last time he broke Anderson was broken back immediately. Can he consolidate it this time? Possibly not, because Isner has rolled a forehand pass down the line for 15-30. It's then break back point for Isner as Anderson pushes a backhand pass long to make it 30-40. And Isner gets the instant break back again! This time with a backhand pass up the line. Neither man can quite believe it. 4:33PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-2 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Really good backhand pass on the run from Anderson gets him to 40-30, and an even better backhand return winner has us at deuce. Isner then gets a time violation warning before the next serve, and would you believe it Anderson flicks away another return winner to bring up a break point! Can he take it? Yes, he can! A fourth consecutive sensational shot from Anderson forces Isner into missing a half-volley, and out of nowhere he has the break. That was unreal returning from Anderson. Credit: PA 4:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Anderson regroups and holds comfortably to 15. Are we heading for another tie-break? 4:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Isner's on a groove on his serve and holds to love. With Isner serving first, he pressure will be on Anderson throughout this set. 4:21PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Isner is bouncing around the court, looking for the early kill at the start of the fourth set. But Anderson clings on and holds to 30. Credit: AP 4:17PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 0-1 Isner (*next server) Love hold from Isner to kick off the fourth set. 4:16PM Anderson's back out What must be going through his mind. He served for the third set and had a sitter to go up 40-15 in that game. He then double faulted when up set point in the breaker. How will he respond? 4:11PM Medical time out Anderson has left the court to receive treatment. 4:09PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7 Isner* (*next server) - Third set Isner Anderson pushes a forehand wide and that's the set for Isner. He takes the tie-break 11-9. After almost three hours Isner leads two sets to one. Anderson served for the set and had two set points, but he has it all to do now. Credit: REUTERS 4:08PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 9-10 Isner Anderson nets a backhand return and it's set point #3 for Isner. 4:07PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 9-9 Isner* A huge 136mph ace out wide saves it. The players change ends again. 4:06PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 9-8 Isner* An ace down the T makes it set point Anderson. Oh no it doesn't - Isner challenges and Hawk-Eye shows the ball to be out. A forehand winner does then make it set point Anderson #2. 4:05PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 8-8 Isner Oh dear, Anderson has double faulted! On we go. 4:04PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 8-7 Isner It's set point Anderson! He guides a backhand pass up the line, and will have this set point on his own serve. 4:04PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 7-7 Isner* Anderson saves it with a brilliant forehand pass! Wow, what a shot that was under immense pressure. 4:03PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 6-7 Isner* Anderson sends a forehand long and it's set point Isner. The American has this one on his own serve... 4:02PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 6-6 Isner Isner can't return a big serve down the T and Anderson clings on. 4:01PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 5-6 Isner Isner then produces another wondrous low volley to earn himself a set point. The crowd loved that. What a couple of points. 4:00PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 5-5 Isner* Sensational low pick-up from Isner levels the breaker up. 3:59PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 5-4 Isner* Service winner puts Anderson in front. Blimey, this is tense. 3:59PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 4-4 Isner Isner gets the mini-break with a forehand down the line. Anderson again could have done more with his forehand the shot before. 3:58PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 4-3 Isner Anderson guides a backhand down the line to secure the mini-break. Huge roar from the crowd. 3:57PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 3-3 Isner* An Isner ace down the T ensures the players are level at the change of ends. 3:56PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 2-3 Isner* Service winner puts Anderson in front. 3:55PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 2-2 Isner Forehand winner from Anderson levels things up. 3:55PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 1-2 Isner Stunning Anderson forehand winner return gets the mini-break back. That's the shot of the match so far. 3:54PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 0-2 Isner* An ace down the T doubles Isner's lead. 3:54PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 0-1 Isner* Anderson completely miscues a forehand, and it's an instant mini-break for Isner. 3:53PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-6 Isner (*next server) - third set tie-break Tense moments for Isner as he misses a forehand and double faults for 30-30. Anderson is two points from the set. Isner responds with his hardest serve of the match - a 142mph bomb for 40-30. An ace down the T then wraps up the game. We're into a third set tie-break. 3:49PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-5 Isner* (*next server) A love hold for Anderson. How he could have done with that a couple of games ago. Isner gets some more tape for the blister on his right hand. Once he's patched up he'll serve to stay in the third set for a second time. Credit: PA 3:46PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 5-5 Isner (*next server) Isner looks seriously pumped. He flicks away two neat volleys for 30-0, before two aces help him to a hold to 15. We're back on serve in the third set. 3:43PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 5-4 Isner* (*next server) - Isner breaks back! Imagine if after that Anderson got broken now. It could just happen. He makes a mess of an easy forehand, allowing Isner to guide a backhand pass down the line for 30-30. And then a long backhand from Anderson gives Isner a break back point at 30-40. And he takes it! Anderson nets an attempted forehand pass and we're back on serve. I do not believe that. Anderson missed a glorious chance to go up 40-15, and how he might regret losing his serve there. 3:39PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 5-3 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Isner's been on top this set but Anderson thumps a forehand up the line for 0-15. Isner then nets a forehand and it's 15-30. Chance here for Anderson. Big chance now, as Isner sends a forehand wide! It's two break points for Anderson at 15-40. Will Isner finally be broken at this year's Wimbledon? Yes! At last, Isner drops his serve. It's a brilliant Anderson backhand return that leaves Isner sprawling at the net. After 110 straight service holds this tournament, Isner is finally broken. Anderson will serve for the third set. Credit: Getty Images 3:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 4-3 Isner* (*next server) Isner again has a sniff by winning the first point of an Anderson service game, but Big Kev steels himself once more and holds to 30. 3:31PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 3-3 Isner (*next server) Another excellent half-volley pick-up from Isner helps him on his way to a hold to 15. 3:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 3-2 Isner* (*next server) A booming ace down the T secures a hold to 15 for Anderson. At the last change of ends it looked as though the umpire had a word with Isner about receiving coaching from his box. Isner angrily refutes the suggestion. 3:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 2-2 Isner (*next server) No such issues on the Isner serve as he holds to love. Credit: REUTERS 3:20PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 2-1 Isner* (*next server) First opening that Isner has had on the Anderson serve for an absolute age, as the South African nets a forehand for 15-30. Isner has a good chance at two break points but he nets a forehand off an Anderson second serve to make it 30-30. Isner then overhits a return for 40-30. A relieved Anderson screams "yes!" in celebration, and then thwacks away a forehand winner to complete the hold. A big opportunity missed for Isner. 3:17PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 1-1 Isner (*next server) Beautiful pick-up from Isner secures a hold to 15. He hit that from absolute no-man's land between the baseline and service line. Ridiculous stat below by the way... Kevin Anderson hit one unforced error in the last set and lost it.— Tumaini Carayol (@tumcarayol) July 13, 2018 3:14PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 1-0 Isner* (*next server) Anderson holds to love in the blink of an eye. Who's going to crack here? No breaks of serve all match remember. Credit: BBC 3:10PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7 Isner (*next server) - Second set Isner Isner sends an ace flying screaming down the T and he lets out a huge roar in celebration after winning the tie-break 7-5. It's one-set all after exactly two hours. Djokovic and Nadal could be waiting a while longer... Credit: REUTERS 3:08PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 5-6 Isner* Isner nets a forehand so on we go. The third set point though will be on the Isner serve...what have you got big John? 3:07PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 4-6 Isner Anderson saves the first set point with an ace out wide. 3:07PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 3-6 Isner Service winner brings up three set points for Isner. 3:06PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 3-5 Isner* Anderson gets one of the mini-breaks back with a backhand winner. Isner had thought he was 6-2 up but a Hawk-Eye challenge showed his serve to be out. 3:05PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 2-5 Isner* Another ace down the T reduces the deficit. 3:04PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 1-5 Isner An ace down the T gets Anderson off the mark. 3:03PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-5 Isner Unreturned serve extends Isner's lead. 3:03PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 0-4 Isner* A serve-volley play ends in an easy smash for Isner. He's running away with this. 3:02PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 0-3 Isner* Wow, another stunning return sets Isner up for an easy forehand put-away. He's two mini-breaks to the good. 3:01PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-2 Isner Blistering service return secures an instant mini-break for Isner. 3:01PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-1 Isner Unreturnable serve seals the first point of the breaker for Isner. 3:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-6 Isner* (*next server) - Second set tie-break Isner punches away a volley for 0-15, but Anderson rolls off a few forehand winners and eventually holds to 30. We're into a second set tie-break. 2:55PM Anderson* 7-6, 5-6 Isner (*next server) Isner looks a little tired all of a sudden as Anderson cranks up the power to move to 30-30 again. But Isner responds in style, thwacking down two service winners to hold to 30. Anderson will serve to stay in the second set for a second time. 2:51PM Anderson 7-6, 5-5 Isner* (*next server) Anderson brushes off the disappointment of not taking that break point and holds to 15. After Isner shaded the first set performance-wise, Anderson's been the stronger player in the second. Credit: AFP 2:48PM Anderson* 7-6, 4-5 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds Well, well, what have we here ? Isner pushes a volley wide and it's 30-30. Make that 30-40 and break point Anderson after another brilliant forehand winner! Can he take it? No, Isner saves it with a punched volley. How do you break this guy?! Isner then claims the next two points and that's 106 service holds in a row at this year's Wimbledon. Had Anderson broken there he would have been serving for a two-sets lead. 2:43PM Anderson 7-6, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) Anderson responds with a love hold of his own. Can we just play the tie-break now? (Tie-breaks at 3-3 was incidentally one of the rule changes experiments with at the ATP Next Gen Finals last year). 2:40PM Anderson* 7-6, 3-4 Isner (*next server) Aaaand it's a love hold for Isner, who hasn't dropped his serve all tournament. Credit: AFP 2:38PM Anderson 7-6, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is hitting his forehand sensationally well today, snaring Isner with another crosscourt pass for 30-0. A couple of points later he completes a love hold. It feels at the moment as if we're heading inexorably for another tie-break. 2:34PM Anderson* 7-6, 2-3 Isner (*next server) Beautiful rolled forehand pass from Anderson has the Centre Court crowd in raptures. Isner reels off the next three points to go up 40-15, but a couple of excellent Anderson returns have us at deuce. Only the second time Isner's been taken to deuce today. He fends off the danger with two wicked second serves. We remain on serve, with neither player having dropped their serve so far this match. 2:29PM Anderson 7-6, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Yeah no sign of a break at the moment. Anderson holds to 15 with an 11th ace. Isner is fine to continue. 2:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Impressive game from Isner, who hits a lovely curling forehand winner on his way to a hold to love. It feels like both players are getting into ominous rhythms on their serve. Isner is getting treatement for a blister on his racket hand. Please don't let this end like Cilic's blister-induced tears in last year's final. Credit: REUTERS 2:23PM Anderson 7-6, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Isner's swinging pretty wildly and he misses a couple of backhands to help Anderson to a hold to 15. 2:18PM Anderson* 7-6, 0-1 Isner (*next server) That was a really high-level first set, so much more than just big serving. Isner started much the better and missed three break points, as well as a set point, but he'll have to put that disappointment quickly behind him. He certainly does that this game, banging down three consecutive aces in a confident hold to love. 2:15PM Anderson 7-6 Isner* (*next server) - First set Anderson A long, tense rally goes Anderson's way as Isner nets a forehand. First set Anderson. Anderson wins the tie-break 8-6, and after 63 minutes is a set to the good. Credit: Getty Images 2:13PM First set tie-break: Anderson 7-6 Isner* Isner nets a makeable backhand and it's set point Anderson. 2:12PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 6-6 Isner Well played Anderson. He hits a few nerveless forehands and saves the set point with a smash. 2:11PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 5-6 Isner A 139mph ace makes it set point Isner. 2:10PM First set tie-break: Anderson 5-5 Isner* Service winner levels things up. The next point will be a set point for one of these two... 2:09PM First set tie-break: Anderson 5-4 Isner* Brilliant low volley from Anderson makes it three points in a row for the South African. 2:08PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 4-4 Isner Anderson smash levels things up. 2:08PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 3-4 Isner What a shot! Anderson claims the mini-break back with a sensational forehand passing shot on the run. We're back on serve. 2:07PM First set tie-break: Anderson 2-4 Isner* Isner ensures he's ahead at the change of ends with a clever body serve. 2:06PM First set tie-break: Anderson 2-3 Isner* Anderson service winner reduces the deficit. 2:05PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 1-3 Isner Brilliant Isner forehand winner secures him the early mini-break. What a shot. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 1-2 Isner Isner ace gets his nose in front. No mini-breaks so far. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson 1-1 Isner* Isner levels up with a forehand volley winner. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson 1-0 Isner* Anderson forehand winner gets him the first point. 2:03PM Anderson* 6-6 Isner (*next server) - Tie-break Isner's eighth ace secures a hold to 15 and takes us into a first set tie-break. Anderson to serve first in the breaker. How's your nerve lads? 1:59PM Anderson 6-5 Isner* (*next server) Love hold for Anderson, sealed with a nifty volley. Isner will serve to stay in the first set for a second time. It's been an interesting, high-quality match so far. Anybody who thinks Isner vs Anderson is just a match between towering servebots has not been watching the match and definitely was not watching the 3d game— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) July 13, 2018 1:56PM Anderson* 5-5 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a set point and holds An awkward low return from Anderson draws a missed volley from Isner for 0-15. Isner responds with a 126 mph second serve for 15-15, but he then nets a backhand and it's 15-30 - Anderson is two points from the set. A booming serve out wide has us at 30-30, before a double fault gives Anderson a set point at 30-40! Can he take this precious opportunity? Isner has held all 99 of his previous service games at this tournament. And he clings on here with a gutsy second serve that completely jams Anderson. An ace and a service winner follow to make it 100 out of 100 service holds this tournament. Nothing Anderson could have done there, but what a huge moment that might prove to be. Make that 100 consecutive service games unbroken for @JohnIsner at #Wimbledon ���� pic.twitter.com/UK9gBlNMkh— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 1:50PM Anderson 5-4 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks a little sluggish as he fails to chase down a drop shot. Anderson then runs away with the game and holds to love. Isner will serve to stay in the first set. 1:48PM Anderson* 4-4 Isner (*next server) Two aces from Isner level the ace count at six apiece and the set at four-games all. Business end of the set incoming... 1:45PM Anderson 4-3 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is trying to mix up his serves by not solely targetting the Isner backhand. It makes sense to try and avoid being too predictable, but Isner is getting a lot of joy from thumping forehand returns. Anderson eventually holds to 15 here, as two more aces take his tally so far to six. Credit: Getty Images 1:42PM Anderson* 3-3 Isner (*next server) Anderson's last two matches have taken a combined time of nearly eight hours, so you'd expect he might have a few aching limbs. Isner is definitely leading this match 'on points' to use the boxing term. He's been by far the stronger player and slams down two aces to hold to 15. 1:39PM Anderson 3-2 Isner* (*next server) Isner is being so aggressive on his returns and is getting a good read on the Anderson serve. A couple of errors though help Anderson to a hold to 15. Anderson meanwhile has called for the trainer to deliver him a banana and a few pills. Oh dear, hopefully it's nothing serious. 1:35PM Anderson* 2-2 Isner (*next server) No mental let-down from Isner after missing those break points. An ace down the T seals a holds to 30, having raced to 40-0 up. Credit: REUTERS 1:30PM Anderson 2-1 Isner* (*next server) - Anderson saves three break points and holds Oooh, a rally of almost 10 shots breaks out which ends with Anderson netting a backhand for 30-30. Half a chance this for Isner. Anderson hits a brilliant forehand to go up 40-30, but Isner responds with one of his own for deuce. Isner then forces a break point (practically a set point?) with another huge forehand. He's absolutely nailing that shot at the moment. But he snatches at the break point by sending a forehand skidding long. Huge chance missed there. But another one presents itself straight away, as Isner absolutely smokes another forehand winner. Anderson saves this one too when a backhand kicks off the baseline and flummoxes his opponent. Moments later, Isner earns a third break point with a brilliant forehand return. And what a chance that is! But Isner misses a sitter of a volley and it's back to deuce. Blimey that looked all the world like being the break. John McEnroe says in commentary that this is the finest returning game he's ever seen Isner play. Anderson then misses a few chances of his own to win the game, as Isner continues to strike the ball beautifully off both wings. Anderson eventually holds after a game that lasts 13 minutes. He puffs his cheeks out in relief. Isner looks extremely sharp in these opening exchanges, but that's a big chance missed. 1:16PM Anderson* 1-1 Isner (*next server) Anderson gets to 15-0 with a flicked forehand pass. Isner reels off the next four points to claim the hold. 1:13PM Anderson 1-0 Isner* (*next server) Double fault and an ace to kick us off. Another ace helps Anderson to a hold to 15. 1:10PM Ready? Play Anderson won the toss and will serve first. A place in the #Wimbledon final awaits for one of @KAndersonATP and @JohnIsner… Follow it live �� �� https://t.co/N05LMuoUDMpic.twitter.com/QL51Ptc6GA— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 1:06PM They're knocking up Practising serves. Not sure you really need to lads. 1:02PM Players are out Isner hasn't dropped his serve this tournament, and has only faced seven break points. But amazingly this is his first match on Centre Court. The players step on to the court to warm applause from the crowd. 12:58PM What's it like facing Isner's serve? Simon Briggs went to find out. 12:44PM Ace, ace, ace Expect tie-breaks and very few rallies and service breaks this afternoon. As John Isner said yesterday: "When I say 'big points' I'm talking about break points for me, which are essentially set points". We all remember his 70-68 fifth set against Nicolas Mahut here eight years ago. Credit: Getty Images 12:08PM Land of the giants Back in 2004 fellow college freshmen John Isner and Kevin Anderson stepped onto court to play one another in an inter-university match. Isner was representing the university of Georgia, while Anderson was at the university of Illinois. Isner won the match, and now 14 years on here they both are on Centre Court, competing for a place in the Wimbledon final. Their paths have crossed many times in between - they met again in the 2007 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship match and have competed against each other 11 times as pros - but never on a stage as grand as this. "There could be a little mental aspect in our match," Isner said on Wednesday. "I say that because our rivalry, what have you, goes back way before the pro tour. We played each other in college probably three, four, five times. We played each other a bunch on the pro tour. "We've been lined up against each other for about 14 years now, because he left Illinois when I left Georgia. We've been doing it ever since. Credit: REUTERS "For me this matchup, and I think for him as well, is especially cool. It's a very nice spotlight on college tennis, that one of us, no matter what, is going to be playing in the Wimbledon final. We're duking it out in the semifinals. Two of us went to college, did it a little bit different route. It's pretty cool." As well as a shared history, Isner, 33 and Anderson, 32 have a lot else in common. They are both physical giants (Isner is 6ft 10in, Anderson is 6ft 8in) and possess among the finest serves in the game. They were also both viewed as underachievers until recently, with Isner winning a first Masters title in Miami in March and Anderson reaching the US Open final last year. This is the first time in the Wimbledon semis for both, and Isner leads the head to head 8-3. Credit: AP Isner - a proud Republican from North Carolina - has made the bigger noise of the two off the court this tournament when he said on Monday: "I'd love to have Trump watch me. That would be awesome.” Anderson though has received more plaudits for his on-court achievements, having become only the second man ever to beat Roger Federer from two sets down. Expect plenty of aces and very few rallies today in what promises to be an extremely close match. Personally I expect Isner to just have the edge.
Kevin Anderson defeats John Isner, in second-longest Wimbledon match of all time to reach final
Wimbledon’s marathon man John Isner was at it again, but this time he was outlasted by Kevin Anderson in an extraordinary 6hr 36min semi-final, the third-longest singles match in history. It was going to take something special to separate these gladiators as they went ace for ace and blow for blow. With the light starting to fade close to 8pm, the saga duly got the ending that it deserved. In the 49th game of the fifth set and at love-15 up, Anderson slipped at the back of the court. He fell to the ground, so did his racket, but when Isner put his return into the centre of the court, Anderson got off the canvas like Rocky, picked up his racket left-handed and got his forehand back into play to win the point. Hollywood eat your heart out. For the fourth consecutive Isner service game, Anderson was love-30 up. On every previous occasion, Isner’s blunderbuss serve, which peaked at 142mph, had come to his rescue. Not this time. A second serve was the chance that Anderson had been waiting for and he hit a forehand winner to engineer three break points. Isner had saved four previous break points in this marathon final set, which was approaching the three-hour mark. Each time he produced an ace to save his skin. The fifth was saved with a serve and volley, but he could not repeat the trick, at 15-40 putting a backhand into the net. The crowd celebrated raucously, as much with relief than anything else, but the job was not yet done and Anderson had to serve out the match. What must have been going through the 32-year-old’s head? On two of the three games that he had broken Isner, the American had broken straight back. This time he held his nerve as Isner put a forehand into the tramlines. There were no wild celebrations from Anderson despite becoming the first South African man in 97 years to reach a Wimbledon final, in part because of exhaustion, in part in sympathy for his vanquished foe who he first played on the American college circuit 14 years ago. Anderson prevails at last by winning the 99th game of the semi-final Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images “Coming through that match, obviously I’m ecstatic to be through to the finals.” Anderson said. “At the same time, you know, you feel like it should be a draw. But somebody has to win.” Eight years ago, Isner took part in the longest match in history in his 11hrs 5ms conquest of Nicolas Mahut. The 33-year-old has repeatedly said that he did not want his career be defined by that match. Fate obviously has a sick sense of humour. The Donald Trump supporter will have to wait to make American men’s tennis great again with Andy Roddick, their last male representative to reached a grand slam final nine years ago. “I feel pretty terrible,” Isner said. My left heel is killing me. I have an awful blister on my right foot. It stinks to lose, but I gave it everything I had out there. I just lost to someone who is a little bit better at the end.” Anderson’s victory is even more remarkable when you consider that in the last 16 he went three and a half hours against Gaël Monfils in the last 16 and then became only the fifth man to come from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in a four-hour plus quarter-final. We all thought he would have nothing left. How wrong we were. “You’re really in a war of attrition out there,” Anderson said. “It’s way beyond a normal tennis match or tactics. I mean, it’s just who’s going to, you know, outlast each other.” "Anderson vs Isner, a Wimbledon classic - you better believe it" A Centre Court epic ends with @KAndersonATP going through to the #Wimbledon final, beating John Isner 7-6(6), 6-7(5), 6-7(9), 6-4, 26-24 pic.twitter.com/Fv4ww2cEzK— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 That a match between the tournament’s two leading severs went to five sets was no surprise. To paraphrase Guns n’ Roses, “Take me down to tiebreak city, where the grass is green and the serves aren’t pretty.” Yet as the match progress and each man’s serve lost its rapier edge and the rallies went to script. The first three sets went according to script, although how different might the contest have been had Isner seized one of three break points in Anderson’s second service game? Anderson took the first tiebreak and double-faulted on set point in the second which allowed his opponent to draw level. Business started picking up in the third set when Isner, after winning 110 consecutive service games at this tournament, was finally broken. Almost inevitably, Isner broke back straight away as if he was righting a cosmetic imbalance. Health of players at risk The third-set tie-break was a classic bit of psychological theatre. Each man traded mini-breaks and lost set-point opportunities, notably when Anderson double-faulted at 8-7. When Anderson sent a forehand into the tramlines, Isner looked too shocked to celebrate. Showing some incredible reflexes, Anderson broke in the fourth game of the fourth set. Like night follows day, Isner broke straight back only to go love-40 down in his very next service game and this time Anderson held his nerve to take it to a fifth set that even Tolstoy would have considered overblown. 7:59PM A word for the vanquished "At the end you feel like it’s a draw, but someone has to win. John is a great guy and I really feel for him" - @KAndersonATP#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/SHU5fVNUc9— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 7:51PM Big Kev is through Anderson looks completely frazzled and the first thing he does is express his sympathy for his opponent: "I don't know how you can take playing for that long and not coming out on the winning side." 7:48PM Game, set and match! Anderson defeats Isner 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 26-24 An ace takes Anderson to 30-15. He exhales meaningfully. Isner then sends a return long and it's two match points at 40-15. And that's it! Isner pushes a forehand wide, and finally, finally it's over. Kevin Anderson is through to the Wimbledon final after 6hr 35min. 7:43PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 25-24 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Anderson falls to the floor, drops his racket and picks it up to play left-handed. And he wins the point to make it 0-30 again! That was insane! Anderson then spins away a forehand winner and it's three break points at 0-40. Surely, surely he has to take one of these?! Yes he does! Isner nets a backhand on the second one and Anderson will serve for the match! Oh my word, if Anderson gets broken here! Credit: PA 7:40PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 24-24 Isner* (*next server) Isner has not had a single break point all set, and Anderson holds again to love. 7:37PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 23-24 Isner (*next server) Right, is this it. Isner puts a tired forehand into the net and it's 0-30 again. But once again Isner bangs down a flurry of big serves and holds to 30. Isner's won enough games this set to have won four sets. 7:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 23-23 Isner* (*next server) Love hold for Anderson. What on earth must Nadal and Djokovic, who follow this match, be thinking? 7:30PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 22-23 Isner (*next server) It's another chance for Anderson, as he caresses a backhand down the line for 0-30. An ace and a missed Anderson backhand make it 30-30. Isner then flicks away a forehand for 40-30 before a missed Anderson forehand seals the hold. Credit: REUTERS 7:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 22-22 Isner* (*next server) Isner has the tiniest glimmer of a break at 15-15. Anderson slams the door shut and holds to 15. 7:23PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 21-22 Isner (*next server) Here we go again. Isner misses a forehand for 0-30 but responds with two big serves for 30-30. Anderson then duffs an easy backhand to make it 30-40, before Isner returns the favour with a netted volley for deuce. Isner desperately retrieves a low forehand and then punches away a volley to complete the hold. 7:19PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 21-21 Isner* (*next server) Isner receives rapturous applause at each of the points he wins this game, but Anderson emerges with a hold to 30. 7:14PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 20-21 Isner (*next server) Anderson sprays a forehand just wide and Isner holds on to 15. Credit: REUTERS 7:12PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 20-20 Isner* (*next server) Anderson responds with a hold to love. Genuinely starting to wonder if this will ever end. 7:12PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 19-20 Isner (*next server) No sniff for Anderson this game as Isner holds to 15. 7:07PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 19-19 Isner* (*next server) Anderson guides a backhand beautifully down the line to complete a hold to 15. For a moment at 15-15, Isner dared to ream. 7:03PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 18-19 Isner (*next server) Isner endures a shaky moment as he allows Anderson back in the game at 40-30 from 40-0, but he forces Anderson to miss a backhand and holds on. 7:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 18-18 Isner* (*next server) This set began at 4.45. Anderson holds to love, and is yet to face a break point in this final set. Credit: Getty Images 6:58PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 17-18 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves two break points and holds Isner misses a forehand for 15-30, and another forehand flies wide for 15-40 - two break points. Isner saves the first with an ace out wide. And indeed the second with an ace down the T. A service winner makes it advantage Isner, and he digs out the hold with a backhand pass. Nothing Anderson could have done there. 6:52PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 17-17 Isner* (*next server) Anderson holds to love, as the court coverers start to gather. We continue for now. Hopefully the shower will pass. 6:50PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 16-17 Isner (*next server) Still no immediate end in sight as Isner holds to 15. Play can go on until 11pm tonight. Will it end before then? And it's started to rain! On we go for the moment but it's definitely spitting. 6:47PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 16-16 Isner* (*next server) Two aces and a service winner from Anderson seals a very impressive hold. He's kept his level superbly this set. So has Isner in the main to be fair. Of all Wimbledon matches ever, only Isner v Mahut has ever lasted longer than this. Kevin Anderson vs John Isner. Officially the second longest singles match in Championships history.#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/fGGHRQaqz7— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 6:44PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 15-16 Isner (*next server) Isner nets a backhand for 0-15, and Anderson is close to 0-30 but he pulls a backhand just wide. Instead it's 15-15, and buoyed by the reprieve Isner holds to 30. 6:41PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 15-15 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is so on top at the moment in general play but he just can't get the break. He holds to 30 here having sped to 40-0. It is 15-15. 6:36PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 14-15 Isner (*next server) An ace and a forehand winner take Isner to a hold to 15. We're almost at 15-15 in games, which I always find amusing. It's the little things in life. Credit: AFP 6:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 14-14 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks knackered as he fails painfully to get to a low backhand. Anderson holds to 15. On we go. It feels like about a year since this match started. 6:30PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 13-14 Isner (*next server) "Come on guys, we want to see Rafa!" someone screams from the crowd. But the wait continues as Isner holds to 30. 6:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 13-13 Isner* (*next server) Anderson certainly looks the fresher of the two but Isner knows he's so close now to the final. Anderson keeps him at arm's length with a hold to 15 - sealed with consecutive aces out wide. Credit: REUTERS 6:23PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 12-13 Isner (*next server) A missed Isner backhand has us at 15-15, but any hopes of a break are dashed in the next few points as Isner holds to 30 with a clinical forehand winner. 6:20PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 12-12 Isner* (*next server) Still Anderson continues to serve accurately. He hasn't faced a break point in this final set, and races to 40-0 here. A forehand winner secures the hold to 15. We've been playing 5hr 9 min. 6:15PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 11-12 Isner (*next server) A blessedly straightforward hold for Isner after those recent struggles. He holds to love here. 6:14PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 11-11 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks pumped up, especially after Anderson nets a forehand volley for 0-15. Anderson responds in style again and holds to 15 after reeling off the next four points. Will this ever end? Credit: Getty Images 6:10PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 10-11 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds It's 0-30 again as Anderson whips away a forehand winner. Can Isner pull himself up from the canvas again? An ace out wide and a forehand winner make it 30-30. But a fizzing low return brings up a break point for Anderson at 30-40. He gets a look at it but miscues a backhand pass well long. Isner then bangs down an ace and heroically chases down a drop shot to seal the game. His momentum takes him into his chair for the change of ends. That was spectacular. 6:04PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 10-10 Isner* (*next server) Now it's Isner who can sniff a break, after he sends a forehand perfectly onto the baseline for 0-15. Anderson responds well though and reels off the next three points for 40-15. He eventually holds for 40-30. 5:59PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 9-10 Isner (*next server) Isner misses two forehands and it's 0-30! It's then heart in mouth time for Isner but he just clears the net with a low volley for 15-30. He then repeats the trick for 30-30 after Anderson stretched every sinew to retrieve a forehand. An ace makes it 40-30 and a volley winner completes the hold. 5:55PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 9-9 Isner* (*next server) Crazy how fresh Anderson looks given his previous matches lasted almost eight hours, and he's played nigh on five hours here. Anderson races to 40-15, but Isner is two points away from the final at deuce as Anderson sends a backhand wide at the end of a rare long rally. Anderson responds in style, with an ace and service winner to complete the hold. Credit: REUTERS 5:48PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 8-9 Isner (*next server) The players are wearying but no-one can get the break. Isner holds to 15 and the pressure swings right back to Anderson. 5:45PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 8-8 Isner* (*next server) After the drama of the last game, Anderson holds to love - sealed with an ace out wide. On we go. 5:43PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 7-8 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds Big chance here for Anderson. Isner sends a lunging volley long and Anderson's up 0-30. A hush fills Centre Court. A stupendous low volley from Isner makes it 15-30, before an ace down the T has us at 30-30. But a stinging Anderson return brings up a break point at 30-40. Isner of course saves it with an ace. Two crushing serves follow, and Isner holds. He screams "that's it!" in celebration. 5:36PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 7-7 Isner* (*next server) No dramas for Big Kev as an inside-in forehand winner seals a hold to love. Credit: REUTERS 5:33PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 6-7 Isner (*next server) An effective serve-volley play helps Isner to a hold to 15. No break points yet this set. 5:30PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 6-6 Isner* (*next server) Anderson nets a backhand. It's 0-15. Isner is three points from the final. Make that two points, as Isner smokes a forehand up the line for 15-30. Isner then sends a pair of backhands long and it's 40-30. Anderson seals the hold with a bullet serve out wide. No final set tie-breaker remember so on we go. Meanwhile... The Telegraph Sports desk has had their say on Anderson vs Isner Who will come out on top in this five set thriller, and what will the score be? @TelegraphSport#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/C3RzGzHubd— Jamie Johnson (@JamieoJohnson) July 13, 2018 5:26PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 5-6 Isner (*next server) Stinging Anderson forehand return winner has us at 15-15. In the context of the match so far, this is a chance! Isner responds well with a couple of banging serves for 40-15, and he eventually holds to 30. Anderson will serve to stay in the match for a second time. I'm going to stop writing that from here on in as he will be serving to stay in the match on every service game. 5:22PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 5-5 Isner* (*next server) Isner gets a look a couple of returns but he's a little flat footed and Anderson holds to 15. A reminder from Greg below that there's no tie-break on the final set at Wimbledon. US Open is the only grand slam where there is one. I think there should be tiebreakers in the final set at all Grand Slams as it creates more drama and allows players to recover better. Are we going to beat Isner vs Mahut record today with Anderson vs Isner Wimbledon semi?— Greg Rusedski (@GregRusedski1) July 13, 2018 5:18PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 4-5 Isner (*next server) Isner is still being bothered by that blister on his right hand. He holds to 15 and prior to the final point of the game calls for the trainer. Anderson will serve to stay in the match. 5:16PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) No let up from Anderson, who holds assertively to love. Meanwhile a word of encouragement for Isner from the last American man to reach a grand slam final. Come on John— andyroddick (@andyroddick) July 13, 2018 5:13PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 3-4 Isner (*next server) The worry is that as the players get progressively more tired they struggle even more to return. Speaking of which, Isner bangs down an ace - his 200th of the tournament - to wrap up a simple hold to 15. Credit: AP 5:11PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) Isner's won all five of the last meetings between these two. Will that mean anything as we enter the home straight? I suspect not a huge amount. Anderson holds to love as the match clock ticks into its fifth hour. 5:07PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 2-3 Isner (*next server) You've got to credit these guys, they've kept a very high level throughout. Isner sends down a couple of heat-seeking missile-like serves on his way to a breezy hold to 15. 5:04PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Isner hasn't been a break up at any point this match. It's a sequence that continues here as Anderson holds to 15. 5:01PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Isner bangs down three aces to take his tally to 39 and complete the hold. Credit: REUTERS 5:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Anderson looks fresher now than he did half an hour ago and holds easily to 15. 4:56PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 0-1 Isner (*next server) Isner picks himself up and holds to love. We've been playing 3hr 45 min. 4:53PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4 Isner* (*next server) - Fourth set Anderson! Can Anderson finally consolidate a break and in so doing take us into a deciding set? An ace takes Anderson to three set points at 40-0. Isner saves the first two with blistering returns, and the third with a howitzer of a forehand. This is insane! Anderson then earns a fourth set point with a smash, and he takes this one when Isner nets a return! We're heading for a final set. There'll be no tie-breaker remember so we could be here all night. Djokovic and Nadal continue to wait... Marathon men...@KAndersonATP wins the fourth set 6-4 against John Isner and the battle for a place in the #Wimbledon final goes all the way... pic.twitter.com/MagHg8E5zo— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 4:47PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 5-4 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Isner nets a half-volley and then does likewise on a backhand to gift Anderson a break point at 30-40. Anderson takes it with a backhand pass that flies past his opponent. Unbelievable. Anderson, who is breathing a little heavily now, will serve to take us into a fifth set. 4:43PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) Some normality restored as Anderson holds to love. On we go... Credit: Reuters 4:40PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-4 Isner (*next server) Isner double faults for 30-30. Surely not a third consecutive break in a row? No. Isner slams down a big serve and is then relieved as Anderson misses an easy backhand pass. 4:37PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) - Isner breaks back! The last time he broke Anderson was broken back immediately. Can he consolidate it this time? Possibly not, because Isner has rolled a forehand pass down the line for 15-30. It's then break back point for Isner as Anderson pushes a backhand pass long to make it 30-40. And Isner gets the instant break back again! This time with a backhand pass up the line. Neither man can quite believe it. 4:33PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-2 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Really good backhand pass on the run from Anderson gets him to 40-30, and an even better backhand return winner has us at deuce. Isner then gets a time violation warning before the next serve, and would you believe it Anderson flicks away another return winner to bring up a break point! Can he take it? Yes, he can! A fourth consecutive sensational shot from Anderson forces Isner into missing a half-volley, and out of nowhere he has the break. That was unreal returning from Anderson. Credit: PA 4:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Anderson regroups and holds comfortably to 15. Are we heading for another tie-break? 4:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Isner's on a groove on his serve and holds to love. With Isner serving first, he pressure will be on Anderson throughout this set. 4:21PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Isner is bouncing around the court, looking for the early kill at the start of the fourth set. But Anderson clings on and holds to 30. Credit: AP 4:17PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 0-1 Isner (*next server) Love hold from Isner to kick off the fourth set. 4:16PM Anderson's back out What must be going through his mind. He served for the third set and had a sitter to go up 40-15 in that game. He then double faulted when up set point in the breaker. How will he respond? 4:11PM Medical time out Anderson has left the court to receive treatment. 4:09PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7 Isner* (*next server) - Third set Isner Anderson pushes a forehand wide and that's the set for Isner. He takes the tie-break 11-9. After almost three hours Isner leads two sets to one. Anderson served for the set and had two set points, but he has it all to do now. Credit: REUTERS 4:08PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 9-10 Isner Anderson nets a backhand return and it's set point #3 for Isner. 4:07PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 9-9 Isner* A huge 136mph ace out wide saves it. The players change ends again. 4:06PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 9-8 Isner* An ace down the T makes it set point Anderson. Oh no it doesn't - Isner challenges and Hawk-Eye shows the ball to be out. A forehand winner does then make it set point Anderson #2. 4:05PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 8-8 Isner Oh dear, Anderson has double faulted! On we go. 4:04PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 8-7 Isner It's set point Anderson! He guides a backhand pass up the line, and will have this set point on his own serve. 4:04PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 7-7 Isner* Anderson saves it with a brilliant forehand pass! Wow, what a shot that was under immense pressure. 4:03PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 6-7 Isner* Anderson sends a forehand long and it's set point Isner. The American has this one on his own serve... 4:02PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 6-6 Isner Isner can't return a big serve down the T and Anderson clings on. 4:01PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 5-6 Isner Isner then produces another wondrous low volley to earn himself a set point. The crowd loved that. What a couple of points. 4:00PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 5-5 Isner* Sensational low pick-up from Isner levels the breaker up. 3:59PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 5-4 Isner* Service winner puts Anderson in front. Blimey, this is tense. 3:59PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 4-4 Isner Isner gets the mini-break with a forehand down the line. Anderson again could have done more with his forehand the shot before. 3:58PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 4-3 Isner Anderson guides a backhand down the line to secure the mini-break. Huge roar from the crowd. 3:57PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 3-3 Isner* An Isner ace down the T ensures the players are level at the change of ends. 3:56PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 2-3 Isner* Service winner puts Anderson in front. 3:55PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 2-2 Isner Forehand winner from Anderson levels things up. 3:55PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 1-2 Isner Stunning Anderson forehand winner return gets the mini-break back. That's the shot of the match so far. 3:54PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 0-2 Isner* An ace down the T doubles Isner's lead. 3:54PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 0-1 Isner* Anderson completely miscues a forehand, and it's an instant mini-break for Isner. 3:53PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-6 Isner (*next server) - third set tie-break Tense moments for Isner as he misses a forehand and double faults for 30-30. Anderson is two points from the set. Isner responds with his hardest serve of the match - a 142mph bomb for 40-30. An ace down the T then wraps up the game. We're into a third set tie-break. 3:49PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-5 Isner* (*next server) A love hold for Anderson. How he could have done with that a couple of games ago. Isner gets some more tape for the blister on his right hand. Once he's patched up he'll serve to stay in the third set for a second time. Credit: PA 3:46PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 5-5 Isner (*next server) Isner looks seriously pumped. He flicks away two neat volleys for 30-0, before two aces help him to a hold to 15. We're back on serve in the third set. 3:43PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 5-4 Isner* (*next server) - Isner breaks back! Imagine if after that Anderson got broken now. It could just happen. He makes a mess of an easy forehand, allowing Isner to guide a backhand pass down the line for 30-30. And then a long backhand from Anderson gives Isner a break back point at 30-40. And he takes it! Anderson nets an attempted forehand pass and we're back on serve. I do not believe that. Anderson missed a glorious chance to go up 40-15, and how he might regret losing his serve there. 3:39PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 5-3 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Isner's been on top this set but Anderson thumps a forehand up the line for 0-15. Isner then nets a forehand and it's 15-30. Chance here for Anderson. Big chance now, as Isner sends a forehand wide! It's two break points for Anderson at 15-40. Will Isner finally be broken at this year's Wimbledon? Yes! At last, Isner drops his serve. It's a brilliant Anderson backhand return that leaves Isner sprawling at the net. After 110 straight service holds this tournament, Isner is finally broken. Anderson will serve for the third set. Credit: Getty Images 3:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 4-3 Isner* (*next server) Isner again has a sniff by winning the first point of an Anderson service game, but Big Kev steels himself once more and holds to 30. 3:31PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 3-3 Isner (*next server) Another excellent half-volley pick-up from Isner helps him on his way to a hold to 15. 3:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 3-2 Isner* (*next server) A booming ace down the T secures a hold to 15 for Anderson. At the last change of ends it looked as though the umpire had a word with Isner about receiving coaching from his box. Isner angrily refutes the suggestion. 3:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 2-2 Isner (*next server) No such issues on the Isner serve as he holds to love. Credit: REUTERS 3:20PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 2-1 Isner* (*next server) First opening that Isner has had on the Anderson serve for an absolute age, as the South African nets a forehand for 15-30. Isner has a good chance at two break points but he nets a forehand off an Anderson second serve to make it 30-30. Isner then overhits a return for 40-30. A relieved Anderson screams "yes!" in celebration, and then thwacks away a forehand winner to complete the hold. A big opportunity missed for Isner. 3:17PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 1-1 Isner (*next server) Beautiful pick-up from Isner secures a hold to 15. He hit that from absolute no-man's land between the baseline and service line. Ridiculous stat below by the way... Kevin Anderson hit one unforced error in the last set and lost it.— Tumaini Carayol (@tumcarayol) July 13, 2018 3:14PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 1-0 Isner* (*next server) Anderson holds to love in the blink of an eye. Who's going to crack here? No breaks of serve all match remember. Credit: BBC 3:10PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7 Isner (*next server) - Second set Isner Isner sends an ace flying screaming down the T and he lets out a huge roar in celebration after winning the tie-break 7-5. It's one-set all after exactly two hours. Djokovic and Nadal could be waiting a while longer... Credit: REUTERS 3:08PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 5-6 Isner* Isner nets a forehand so on we go. The third set point though will be on the Isner serve...what have you got big John? 3:07PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 4-6 Isner Anderson saves the first set point with an ace out wide. 3:07PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 3-6 Isner Service winner brings up three set points for Isner. 3:06PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 3-5 Isner* Anderson gets one of the mini-breaks back with a backhand winner. Isner had thought he was 6-2 up but a Hawk-Eye challenge showed his serve to be out. 3:05PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 2-5 Isner* Another ace down the T reduces the deficit. 3:04PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 1-5 Isner An ace down the T gets Anderson off the mark. 3:03PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-5 Isner Unreturned serve extends Isner's lead. 3:03PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 0-4 Isner* A serve-volley play ends in an easy smash for Isner. He's running away with this. 3:02PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 0-3 Isner* Wow, another stunning return sets Isner up for an easy forehand put-away. He's two mini-breaks to the good. 3:01PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-2 Isner Blistering service return secures an instant mini-break for Isner. 3:01PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-1 Isner Unreturnable serve seals the first point of the breaker for Isner. 3:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-6 Isner* (*next server) - Second set tie-break Isner punches away a volley for 0-15, but Anderson rolls off a few forehand winners and eventually holds to 30. We're into a second set tie-break. 2:55PM Anderson* 7-6, 5-6 Isner (*next server) Isner looks a little tired all of a sudden as Anderson cranks up the power to move to 30-30 again. But Isner responds in style, thwacking down two service winners to hold to 30. Anderson will serve to stay in the second set for a second time. 2:51PM Anderson 7-6, 5-5 Isner* (*next server) Anderson brushes off the disappointment of not taking that break point and holds to 15. After Isner shaded the first set performance-wise, Anderson's been the stronger player in the second. Credit: AFP 2:48PM Anderson* 7-6, 4-5 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds Well, well, what have we here ? Isner pushes a volley wide and it's 30-30. Make that 30-40 and break point Anderson after another brilliant forehand winner! Can he take it? No, Isner saves it with a punched volley. How do you break this guy?! Isner then claims the next two points and that's 106 service holds in a row at this year's Wimbledon. Had Anderson broken there he would have been serving for a two-sets lead. 2:43PM Anderson 7-6, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) Anderson responds with a love hold of his own. Can we just play the tie-break now? (Tie-breaks at 3-3 was incidentally one of the rule changes experiments with at the ATP Next Gen Finals last year). 2:40PM Anderson* 7-6, 3-4 Isner (*next server) Aaaand it's a love hold for Isner, who hasn't dropped his serve all tournament. Credit: AFP 2:38PM Anderson 7-6, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is hitting his forehand sensationally well today, snaring Isner with another crosscourt pass for 30-0. A couple of points later he completes a love hold. It feels at the moment as if we're heading inexorably for another tie-break. 2:34PM Anderson* 7-6, 2-3 Isner (*next server) Beautiful rolled forehand pass from Anderson has the Centre Court crowd in raptures. Isner reels off the next three points to go up 40-15, but a couple of excellent Anderson returns have us at deuce. Only the second time Isner's been taken to deuce today. He fends off the danger with two wicked second serves. We remain on serve, with neither player having dropped their serve so far this match. 2:29PM Anderson 7-6, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Yeah no sign of a break at the moment. Anderson holds to 15 with an 11th ace. Isner is fine to continue. 2:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Impressive game from Isner, who hits a lovely curling forehand winner on his way to a hold to love. It feels like both players are getting into ominous rhythms on their serve. Isner is getting treatement for a blister on his racket hand. Please don't let this end like Cilic's blister-induced tears in last year's final. Credit: REUTERS 2:23PM Anderson 7-6, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Isner's swinging pretty wildly and he misses a couple of backhands to help Anderson to a hold to 15. 2:18PM Anderson* 7-6, 0-1 Isner (*next server) That was a really high-level first set, so much more than just big serving. Isner started much the better and missed three break points, as well as a set point, but he'll have to put that disappointment quickly behind him. He certainly does that this game, banging down three consecutive aces in a confident hold to love. 2:15PM Anderson 7-6 Isner* (*next server) - First set Anderson A long, tense rally goes Anderson's way as Isner nets a forehand. First set Anderson. Anderson wins the tie-break 8-6, and after 63 minutes is a set to the good. Credit: Getty Images 2:13PM First set tie-break: Anderson 7-6 Isner* Isner nets a makeable backhand and it's set point Anderson. 2:12PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 6-6 Isner Well played Anderson. He hits a few nerveless forehands and saves the set point with a smash. 2:11PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 5-6 Isner A 139mph ace makes it set point Isner. 2:10PM First set tie-break: Anderson 5-5 Isner* Service winner levels things up. The next point will be a set point for one of these two... 2:09PM First set tie-break: Anderson 5-4 Isner* Brilliant low volley from Anderson makes it three points in a row for the South African. 2:08PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 4-4 Isner Anderson smash levels things up. 2:08PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 3-4 Isner What a shot! Anderson claims the mini-break back with a sensational forehand passing shot on the run. We're back on serve. 2:07PM First set tie-break: Anderson 2-4 Isner* Isner ensures he's ahead at the change of ends with a clever body serve. 2:06PM First set tie-break: Anderson 2-3 Isner* Anderson service winner reduces the deficit. 2:05PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 1-3 Isner Brilliant Isner forehand winner secures him the early mini-break. What a shot. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 1-2 Isner Isner ace gets his nose in front. No mini-breaks so far. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson 1-1 Isner* Isner levels up with a forehand volley winner. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson 1-0 Isner* Anderson forehand winner gets him the first point. 2:03PM Anderson* 6-6 Isner (*next server) - Tie-break Isner's eighth ace secures a hold to 15 and takes us into a first set tie-break. Anderson to serve first in the breaker. How's your nerve lads? 1:59PM Anderson 6-5 Isner* (*next server) Love hold for Anderson, sealed with a nifty volley. Isner will serve to stay in the first set for a second time. It's been an interesting, high-quality match so far. Anybody who thinks Isner vs Anderson is just a match between towering servebots has not been watching the match and definitely was not watching the 3d game— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) July 13, 2018 1:56PM Anderson* 5-5 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a set point and holds An awkward low return from Anderson draws a missed volley from Isner for 0-15. Isner responds with a 126 mph second serve for 15-15, but he then nets a backhand and it's 15-30 - Anderson is two points from the set. A booming serve out wide has us at 30-30, before a double fault gives Anderson a set point at 30-40! Can he take this precious opportunity? Isner has held all 99 of his previous service games at this tournament. And he clings on here with a gutsy second serve that completely jams Anderson. An ace and a service winner follow to make it 100 out of 100 service holds this tournament. Nothing Anderson could have done there, but what a huge moment that might prove to be. Make that 100 consecutive service games unbroken for @JohnIsner at #Wimbledon ���� pic.twitter.com/UK9gBlNMkh— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 1:50PM Anderson 5-4 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks a little sluggish as he fails to chase down a drop shot. Anderson then runs away with the game and holds to love. Isner will serve to stay in the first set. 1:48PM Anderson* 4-4 Isner (*next server) Two aces from Isner level the ace count at six apiece and the set at four-games all. Business end of the set incoming... 1:45PM Anderson 4-3 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is trying to mix up his serves by not solely targetting the Isner backhand. It makes sense to try and avoid being too predictable, but Isner is getting a lot of joy from thumping forehand returns. Anderson eventually holds to 15 here, as two more aces take his tally so far to six. Credit: Getty Images 1:42PM Anderson* 3-3 Isner (*next server) Anderson's last two matches have taken a combined time of nearly eight hours, so you'd expect he might have a few aching limbs. Isner is definitely leading this match 'on points' to use the boxing term. He's been by far the stronger player and slams down two aces to hold to 15. 1:39PM Anderson 3-2 Isner* (*next server) Isner is being so aggressive on his returns and is getting a good read on the Anderson serve. A couple of errors though help Anderson to a hold to 15. Anderson meanwhile has called for the trainer to deliver him a banana and a few pills. Oh dear, hopefully it's nothing serious. 1:35PM Anderson* 2-2 Isner (*next server) No mental let-down from Isner after missing those break points. An ace down the T seals a holds to 30, having raced to 40-0 up. Credit: REUTERS 1:30PM Anderson 2-1 Isner* (*next server) - Anderson saves three break points and holds Oooh, a rally of almost 10 shots breaks out which ends with Anderson netting a backhand for 30-30. Half a chance this for Isner. Anderson hits a brilliant forehand to go up 40-30, but Isner responds with one of his own for deuce. Isner then forces a break point (practically a set point?) with another huge forehand. He's absolutely nailing that shot at the moment. But he snatches at the break point by sending a forehand skidding long. Huge chance missed there. But another one presents itself straight away, as Isner absolutely smokes another forehand winner. Anderson saves this one too when a backhand kicks off the baseline and flummoxes his opponent. Moments later, Isner earns a third break point with a brilliant forehand return. And what a chance that is! But Isner misses a sitter of a volley and it's back to deuce. Blimey that looked all the world like being the break. John McEnroe says in commentary that this is the finest returning game he's ever seen Isner play. Anderson then misses a few chances of his own to win the game, as Isner continues to strike the ball beautifully off both wings. Anderson eventually holds after a game that lasts 13 minutes. He puffs his cheeks out in relief. Isner looks extremely sharp in these opening exchanges, but that's a big chance missed. 1:16PM Anderson* 1-1 Isner (*next server) Anderson gets to 15-0 with a flicked forehand pass. Isner reels off the next four points to claim the hold. 1:13PM Anderson 1-0 Isner* (*next server) Double fault and an ace to kick us off. Another ace helps Anderson to a hold to 15. 1:10PM Ready? Play Anderson won the toss and will serve first. A place in the #Wimbledon final awaits for one of @KAndersonATP and @JohnIsner… Follow it live �� �� https://t.co/N05LMuoUDMpic.twitter.com/QL51Ptc6GA— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 1:06PM They're knocking up Practising serves. Not sure you really need to lads. 1:02PM Players are out Isner hasn't dropped his serve this tournament, and has only faced seven break points. But amazingly this is his first match on Centre Court. The players step on to the court to warm applause from the crowd. 12:58PM What's it like facing Isner's serve? Simon Briggs went to find out. 12:44PM Ace, ace, ace Expect tie-breaks and very few rallies and service breaks this afternoon. As John Isner said yesterday: "When I say 'big points' I'm talking about break points for me, which are essentially set points". We all remember his 70-68 fifth set against Nicolas Mahut here eight years ago. Credit: Getty Images 12:08PM Land of the giants Back in 2004 fellow college freshmen John Isner and Kevin Anderson stepped onto court to play one another in an inter-university match. Isner was representing the university of Georgia, while Anderson was at the university of Illinois. Isner won the match, and now 14 years on here they both are on Centre Court, competing for a place in the Wimbledon final. Their paths have crossed many times in between - they met again in the 2007 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship match and have competed against each other 11 times as pros - but never on a stage as grand as this. "There could be a little mental aspect in our match," Isner said on Wednesday. "I say that because our rivalry, what have you, goes back way before the pro tour. We played each other in college probably three, four, five times. We played each other a bunch on the pro tour. "We've been lined up against each other for about 14 years now, because he left Illinois when I left Georgia. We've been doing it ever since. Credit: REUTERS "For me this matchup, and I think for him as well, is especially cool. It's a very nice spotlight on college tennis, that one of us, no matter what, is going to be playing in the Wimbledon final. We're duking it out in the semifinals. Two of us went to college, did it a little bit different route. It's pretty cool." As well as a shared history, Isner, 33 and Anderson, 32 have a lot else in common. They are both physical giants (Isner is 6ft 10in, Anderson is 6ft 8in) and possess among the finest serves in the game. They were also both viewed as underachievers until recently, with Isner winning a first Masters title in Miami in March and Anderson reaching the US Open final last year. This is the first time in the Wimbledon semis for both, and Isner leads the head to head 8-3. Credit: AP Isner - a proud Republican from North Carolina - has made the bigger noise of the two off the court this tournament when he said on Monday: "I'd love to have Trump watch me. That would be awesome.” Anderson though has received more plaudits for his on-court achievements, having become only the second man ever to beat Roger Federer from two sets down. Expect plenty of aces and very few rallies today in what promises to be an extremely close match. Personally I expect Isner to just have the edge.
Wimbledon’s marathon man John Isner was at it again, but this time he was outlasted by Kevin Anderson in an extraordinary 6hr 36min semi-final, the third-longest singles match in history. It was going to take something special to separate these gladiators as they went ace for ace and blow for blow. With the light starting to fade close to 8pm, the saga duly got the ending that it deserved. In the 49th game of the fifth set and at love-15 up, Anderson slipped at the back of the court. He fell to the ground, so did his racket, but when Isner put his return into the centre of the court, Anderson got off the canvas like Rocky, picked up his racket left-handed and got his forehand back into play to win the point. Hollywood eat your heart out. For the fourth consecutive Isner service game, Anderson was love-30 up. On every previous occasion, Isner’s blunderbuss serve, which peaked at 142mph, had come to his rescue. Not this time. A second serve was the chance that Anderson had been waiting for and he hit a forehand winner to engineer three break points. Isner had saved four previous break points in this marathon final set, which was approaching the three-hour mark. Each time he produced an ace to save his skin. The fifth was saved with a serve and volley, but he could not repeat the trick, at 15-40 putting a backhand into the net. The crowd celebrated raucously, as much with relief than anything else, but the job was not yet done and Anderson had to serve out the match. What must have been going through the 32-year-old’s head? On two of the three games that he had broken Isner, the American had broken straight back. This time he held his nerve as Isner put a forehand into the tramlines. There were no wild celebrations from Anderson despite becoming the first South African man in 97 years to reach a Wimbledon final, in part because of exhaustion, in part in sympathy for his vanquished foe who he first played on the American college circuit 14 years ago. Anderson prevails at last by winning the 99th game of the semi-final Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images “Coming through that match, obviously I’m ecstatic to be through to the finals.” Anderson said. “At the same time, you know, you feel like it should be a draw. But somebody has to win.” Eight years ago, Isner took part in the longest match in history in his 11hrs 5ms conquest of Nicolas Mahut. The 33-year-old has repeatedly said that he did not want his career be defined by that match. Fate obviously has a sick sense of humour. The Donald Trump supporter will have to wait to make American men’s tennis great again with Andy Roddick, their last male representative to reached a grand slam final nine years ago. “I feel pretty terrible,” Isner said. My left heel is killing me. I have an awful blister on my right foot. It stinks to lose, but I gave it everything I had out there. I just lost to someone who is a little bit better at the end.” Anderson’s victory is even more remarkable when you consider that in the last 16 he went three and a half hours against Gaël Monfils in the last 16 and then became only the fifth man to come from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in a four-hour plus quarter-final. We all thought he would have nothing left. How wrong we were. “You’re really in a war of attrition out there,” Anderson said. “It’s way beyond a normal tennis match or tactics. I mean, it’s just who’s going to, you know, outlast each other.” "Anderson vs Isner, a Wimbledon classic - you better believe it" A Centre Court epic ends with @KAndersonATP going through to the #Wimbledon final, beating John Isner 7-6(6), 6-7(5), 6-7(9), 6-4, 26-24 pic.twitter.com/Fv4ww2cEzK— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 That a match between the tournament’s two leading severs went to five sets was no surprise. To paraphrase Guns n’ Roses, “Take me down to tiebreak city, where the grass is green and the serves aren’t pretty.” Yet as the match progress and each man’s serve lost its rapier edge and the rallies went to script. The first three sets went according to script, although how different might the contest have been had Isner seized one of three break points in Anderson’s second service game? Anderson took the first tiebreak and double-faulted on set point in the second which allowed his opponent to draw level. Business started picking up in the third set when Isner, after winning 110 consecutive service games at this tournament, was finally broken. Almost inevitably, Isner broke back straight away as if he was righting a cosmetic imbalance. Health of players at risk The third-set tie-break was a classic bit of psychological theatre. Each man traded mini-breaks and lost set-point opportunities, notably when Anderson double-faulted at 8-7. When Anderson sent a forehand into the tramlines, Isner looked too shocked to celebrate. Showing some incredible reflexes, Anderson broke in the fourth game of the fourth set. Like night follows day, Isner broke straight back only to go love-40 down in his very next service game and this time Anderson held his nerve to take it to a fifth set that even Tolstoy would have considered overblown. 7:59PM A word for the vanquished "At the end you feel like it’s a draw, but someone has to win. John is a great guy and I really feel for him" - @KAndersonATP#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/SHU5fVNUc9— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 7:51PM Big Kev is through Anderson looks completely frazzled and the first thing he does is express his sympathy for his opponent: "I don't know how you can take playing for that long and not coming out on the winning side." 7:48PM Game, set and match! Anderson defeats Isner 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 26-24 An ace takes Anderson to 30-15. He exhales meaningfully. Isner then sends a return long and it's two match points at 40-15. And that's it! Isner pushes a forehand wide, and finally, finally it's over. Kevin Anderson is through to the Wimbledon final after 6hr 35min. 7:43PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 25-24 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Anderson falls to the floor, drops his racket and picks it up to play left-handed. And he wins the point to make it 0-30 again! That was insane! Anderson then spins away a forehand winner and it's three break points at 0-40. Surely, surely he has to take one of these?! Yes he does! Isner nets a backhand on the second one and Anderson will serve for the match! Oh my word, if Anderson gets broken here! Credit: PA 7:40PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 24-24 Isner* (*next server) Isner has not had a single break point all set, and Anderson holds again to love. 7:37PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 23-24 Isner (*next server) Right, is this it. Isner puts a tired forehand into the net and it's 0-30 again. But once again Isner bangs down a flurry of big serves and holds to 30. Isner's won enough games this set to have won four sets. 7:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 23-23 Isner* (*next server) Love hold for Anderson. What on earth must Nadal and Djokovic, who follow this match, be thinking? 7:30PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 22-23 Isner (*next server) It's another chance for Anderson, as he caresses a backhand down the line for 0-30. An ace and a missed Anderson backhand make it 30-30. Isner then flicks away a forehand for 40-30 before a missed Anderson forehand seals the hold. Credit: REUTERS 7:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 22-22 Isner* (*next server) Isner has the tiniest glimmer of a break at 15-15. Anderson slams the door shut and holds to 15. 7:23PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 21-22 Isner (*next server) Here we go again. Isner misses a forehand for 0-30 but responds with two big serves for 30-30. Anderson then duffs an easy backhand to make it 30-40, before Isner returns the favour with a netted volley for deuce. Isner desperately retrieves a low forehand and then punches away a volley to complete the hold. 7:19PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 21-21 Isner* (*next server) Isner receives rapturous applause at each of the points he wins this game, but Anderson emerges with a hold to 30. 7:14PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 20-21 Isner (*next server) Anderson sprays a forehand just wide and Isner holds on to 15. Credit: REUTERS 7:12PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 20-20 Isner* (*next server) Anderson responds with a hold to love. Genuinely starting to wonder if this will ever end. 7:12PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 19-20 Isner (*next server) No sniff for Anderson this game as Isner holds to 15. 7:07PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 19-19 Isner* (*next server) Anderson guides a backhand beautifully down the line to complete a hold to 15. For a moment at 15-15, Isner dared to ream. 7:03PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 18-19 Isner (*next server) Isner endures a shaky moment as he allows Anderson back in the game at 40-30 from 40-0, but he forces Anderson to miss a backhand and holds on. 7:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 18-18 Isner* (*next server) This set began at 4.45. Anderson holds to love, and is yet to face a break point in this final set. Credit: Getty Images 6:58PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 17-18 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves two break points and holds Isner misses a forehand for 15-30, and another forehand flies wide for 15-40 - two break points. Isner saves the first with an ace out wide. And indeed the second with an ace down the T. A service winner makes it advantage Isner, and he digs out the hold with a backhand pass. Nothing Anderson could have done there. 6:52PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 17-17 Isner* (*next server) Anderson holds to love, as the court coverers start to gather. We continue for now. Hopefully the shower will pass. 6:50PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 16-17 Isner (*next server) Still no immediate end in sight as Isner holds to 15. Play can go on until 11pm tonight. Will it end before then? And it's started to rain! On we go for the moment but it's definitely spitting. 6:47PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 16-16 Isner* (*next server) Two aces and a service winner from Anderson seals a very impressive hold. He's kept his level superbly this set. So has Isner in the main to be fair. Of all Wimbledon matches ever, only Isner v Mahut has ever lasted longer than this. Kevin Anderson vs John Isner. Officially the second longest singles match in Championships history.#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/fGGHRQaqz7— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 6:44PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 15-16 Isner (*next server) Isner nets a backhand for 0-15, and Anderson is close to 0-30 but he pulls a backhand just wide. Instead it's 15-15, and buoyed by the reprieve Isner holds to 30. 6:41PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 15-15 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is so on top at the moment in general play but he just can't get the break. He holds to 30 here having sped to 40-0. It is 15-15. 6:36PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 14-15 Isner (*next server) An ace and a forehand winner take Isner to a hold to 15. We're almost at 15-15 in games, which I always find amusing. It's the little things in life. Credit: AFP 6:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 14-14 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks knackered as he fails painfully to get to a low backhand. Anderson holds to 15. On we go. It feels like about a year since this match started. 6:30PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 13-14 Isner (*next server) "Come on guys, we want to see Rafa!" someone screams from the crowd. But the wait continues as Isner holds to 30. 6:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 13-13 Isner* (*next server) Anderson certainly looks the fresher of the two but Isner knows he's so close now to the final. Anderson keeps him at arm's length with a hold to 15 - sealed with consecutive aces out wide. Credit: REUTERS 6:23PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 12-13 Isner (*next server) A missed Isner backhand has us at 15-15, but any hopes of a break are dashed in the next few points as Isner holds to 30 with a clinical forehand winner. 6:20PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 12-12 Isner* (*next server) Still Anderson continues to serve accurately. He hasn't faced a break point in this final set, and races to 40-0 here. A forehand winner secures the hold to 15. We've been playing 5hr 9 min. 6:15PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 11-12 Isner (*next server) A blessedly straightforward hold for Isner after those recent struggles. He holds to love here. 6:14PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 11-11 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks pumped up, especially after Anderson nets a forehand volley for 0-15. Anderson responds in style again and holds to 15 after reeling off the next four points. Will this ever end? Credit: Getty Images 6:10PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 10-11 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds It's 0-30 again as Anderson whips away a forehand winner. Can Isner pull himself up from the canvas again? An ace out wide and a forehand winner make it 30-30. But a fizzing low return brings up a break point for Anderson at 30-40. He gets a look at it but miscues a backhand pass well long. Isner then bangs down an ace and heroically chases down a drop shot to seal the game. His momentum takes him into his chair for the change of ends. That was spectacular. 6:04PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 10-10 Isner* (*next server) Now it's Isner who can sniff a break, after he sends a forehand perfectly onto the baseline for 0-15. Anderson responds well though and reels off the next three points for 40-15. He eventually holds for 40-30. 5:59PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 9-10 Isner (*next server) Isner misses two forehands and it's 0-30! It's then heart in mouth time for Isner but he just clears the net with a low volley for 15-30. He then repeats the trick for 30-30 after Anderson stretched every sinew to retrieve a forehand. An ace makes it 40-30 and a volley winner completes the hold. 5:55PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 9-9 Isner* (*next server) Crazy how fresh Anderson looks given his previous matches lasted almost eight hours, and he's played nigh on five hours here. Anderson races to 40-15, but Isner is two points away from the final at deuce as Anderson sends a backhand wide at the end of a rare long rally. Anderson responds in style, with an ace and service winner to complete the hold. Credit: REUTERS 5:48PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 8-9 Isner (*next server) The players are wearying but no-one can get the break. Isner holds to 15 and the pressure swings right back to Anderson. 5:45PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 8-8 Isner* (*next server) After the drama of the last game, Anderson holds to love - sealed with an ace out wide. On we go. 5:43PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 7-8 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds Big chance here for Anderson. Isner sends a lunging volley long and Anderson's up 0-30. A hush fills Centre Court. A stupendous low volley from Isner makes it 15-30, before an ace down the T has us at 30-30. But a stinging Anderson return brings up a break point at 30-40. Isner of course saves it with an ace. Two crushing serves follow, and Isner holds. He screams "that's it!" in celebration. 5:36PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 7-7 Isner* (*next server) No dramas for Big Kev as an inside-in forehand winner seals a hold to love. Credit: REUTERS 5:33PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 6-7 Isner (*next server) An effective serve-volley play helps Isner to a hold to 15. No break points yet this set. 5:30PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 6-6 Isner* (*next server) Anderson nets a backhand. It's 0-15. Isner is three points from the final. Make that two points, as Isner smokes a forehand up the line for 15-30. Isner then sends a pair of backhands long and it's 40-30. Anderson seals the hold with a bullet serve out wide. No final set tie-breaker remember so on we go. Meanwhile... The Telegraph Sports desk has had their say on Anderson vs Isner Who will come out on top in this five set thriller, and what will the score be? @TelegraphSport#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/C3RzGzHubd— Jamie Johnson (@JamieoJohnson) July 13, 2018 5:26PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 5-6 Isner (*next server) Stinging Anderson forehand return winner has us at 15-15. In the context of the match so far, this is a chance! Isner responds well with a couple of banging serves for 40-15, and he eventually holds to 30. Anderson will serve to stay in the match for a second time. I'm going to stop writing that from here on in as he will be serving to stay in the match on every service game. 5:22PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 5-5 Isner* (*next server) Isner gets a look a couple of returns but he's a little flat footed and Anderson holds to 15. A reminder from Greg below that there's no tie-break on the final set at Wimbledon. US Open is the only grand slam where there is one. I think there should be tiebreakers in the final set at all Grand Slams as it creates more drama and allows players to recover better. Are we going to beat Isner vs Mahut record today with Anderson vs Isner Wimbledon semi?— Greg Rusedski (@GregRusedski1) July 13, 2018 5:18PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 4-5 Isner (*next server) Isner is still being bothered by that blister on his right hand. He holds to 15 and prior to the final point of the game calls for the trainer. Anderson will serve to stay in the match. 5:16PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) No let up from Anderson, who holds assertively to love. Meanwhile a word of encouragement for Isner from the last American man to reach a grand slam final. Come on John— andyroddick (@andyroddick) July 13, 2018 5:13PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 3-4 Isner (*next server) The worry is that as the players get progressively more tired they struggle even more to return. Speaking of which, Isner bangs down an ace - his 200th of the tournament - to wrap up a simple hold to 15. Credit: AP 5:11PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) Isner's won all five of the last meetings between these two. Will that mean anything as we enter the home straight? I suspect not a huge amount. Anderson holds to love as the match clock ticks into its fifth hour. 5:07PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 2-3 Isner (*next server) You've got to credit these guys, they've kept a very high level throughout. Isner sends down a couple of heat-seeking missile-like serves on his way to a breezy hold to 15. 5:04PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Isner hasn't been a break up at any point this match. It's a sequence that continues here as Anderson holds to 15. 5:01PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Isner bangs down three aces to take his tally to 39 and complete the hold. Credit: REUTERS 5:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Anderson looks fresher now than he did half an hour ago and holds easily to 15. 4:56PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 0-1 Isner (*next server) Isner picks himself up and holds to love. We've been playing 3hr 45 min. 4:53PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4 Isner* (*next server) - Fourth set Anderson! Can Anderson finally consolidate a break and in so doing take us into a deciding set? An ace takes Anderson to three set points at 40-0. Isner saves the first two with blistering returns, and the third with a howitzer of a forehand. This is insane! Anderson then earns a fourth set point with a smash, and he takes this one when Isner nets a return! We're heading for a final set. There'll be no tie-breaker remember so we could be here all night. Djokovic and Nadal continue to wait... Marathon men...@KAndersonATP wins the fourth set 6-4 against John Isner and the battle for a place in the #Wimbledon final goes all the way... pic.twitter.com/MagHg8E5zo— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 4:47PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 5-4 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Isner nets a half-volley and then does likewise on a backhand to gift Anderson a break point at 30-40. Anderson takes it with a backhand pass that flies past his opponent. Unbelievable. Anderson, who is breathing a little heavily now, will serve to take us into a fifth set. 4:43PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) Some normality restored as Anderson holds to love. On we go... Credit: Reuters 4:40PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-4 Isner (*next server) Isner double faults for 30-30. Surely not a third consecutive break in a row? No. Isner slams down a big serve and is then relieved as Anderson misses an easy backhand pass. 4:37PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) - Isner breaks back! The last time he broke Anderson was broken back immediately. Can he consolidate it this time? Possibly not, because Isner has rolled a forehand pass down the line for 15-30. It's then break back point for Isner as Anderson pushes a backhand pass long to make it 30-40. And Isner gets the instant break back again! This time with a backhand pass up the line. Neither man can quite believe it. 4:33PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-2 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Really good backhand pass on the run from Anderson gets him to 40-30, and an even better backhand return winner has us at deuce. Isner then gets a time violation warning before the next serve, and would you believe it Anderson flicks away another return winner to bring up a break point! Can he take it? Yes, he can! A fourth consecutive sensational shot from Anderson forces Isner into missing a half-volley, and out of nowhere he has the break. That was unreal returning from Anderson. Credit: PA 4:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Anderson regroups and holds comfortably to 15. Are we heading for another tie-break? 4:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Isner's on a groove on his serve and holds to love. With Isner serving first, he pressure will be on Anderson throughout this set. 4:21PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Isner is bouncing around the court, looking for the early kill at the start of the fourth set. But Anderson clings on and holds to 30. Credit: AP 4:17PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 0-1 Isner (*next server) Love hold from Isner to kick off the fourth set. 4:16PM Anderson's back out What must be going through his mind. He served for the third set and had a sitter to go up 40-15 in that game. He then double faulted when up set point in the breaker. How will he respond? 4:11PM Medical time out Anderson has left the court to receive treatment. 4:09PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7 Isner* (*next server) - Third set Isner Anderson pushes a forehand wide and that's the set for Isner. He takes the tie-break 11-9. After almost three hours Isner leads two sets to one. Anderson served for the set and had two set points, but he has it all to do now. Credit: REUTERS 4:08PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 9-10 Isner Anderson nets a backhand return and it's set point #3 for Isner. 4:07PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 9-9 Isner* A huge 136mph ace out wide saves it. The players change ends again. 4:06PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 9-8 Isner* An ace down the T makes it set point Anderson. Oh no it doesn't - Isner challenges and Hawk-Eye shows the ball to be out. A forehand winner does then make it set point Anderson #2. 4:05PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 8-8 Isner Oh dear, Anderson has double faulted! On we go. 4:04PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 8-7 Isner It's set point Anderson! He guides a backhand pass up the line, and will have this set point on his own serve. 4:04PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 7-7 Isner* Anderson saves it with a brilliant forehand pass! Wow, what a shot that was under immense pressure. 4:03PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 6-7 Isner* Anderson sends a forehand long and it's set point Isner. The American has this one on his own serve... 4:02PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 6-6 Isner Isner can't return a big serve down the T and Anderson clings on. 4:01PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 5-6 Isner Isner then produces another wondrous low volley to earn himself a set point. The crowd loved that. What a couple of points. 4:00PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 5-5 Isner* Sensational low pick-up from Isner levels the breaker up. 3:59PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 5-4 Isner* Service winner puts Anderson in front. Blimey, this is tense. 3:59PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 4-4 Isner Isner gets the mini-break with a forehand down the line. Anderson again could have done more with his forehand the shot before. 3:58PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 4-3 Isner Anderson guides a backhand down the line to secure the mini-break. Huge roar from the crowd. 3:57PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 3-3 Isner* An Isner ace down the T ensures the players are level at the change of ends. 3:56PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 2-3 Isner* Service winner puts Anderson in front. 3:55PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 2-2 Isner Forehand winner from Anderson levels things up. 3:55PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 1-2 Isner Stunning Anderson forehand winner return gets the mini-break back. That's the shot of the match so far. 3:54PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 0-2 Isner* An ace down the T doubles Isner's lead. 3:54PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 0-1 Isner* Anderson completely miscues a forehand, and it's an instant mini-break for Isner. 3:53PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-6 Isner (*next server) - third set tie-break Tense moments for Isner as he misses a forehand and double faults for 30-30. Anderson is two points from the set. Isner responds with his hardest serve of the match - a 142mph bomb for 40-30. An ace down the T then wraps up the game. We're into a third set tie-break. 3:49PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-5 Isner* (*next server) A love hold for Anderson. How he could have done with that a couple of games ago. Isner gets some more tape for the blister on his right hand. Once he's patched up he'll serve to stay in the third set for a second time. Credit: PA 3:46PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 5-5 Isner (*next server) Isner looks seriously pumped. He flicks away two neat volleys for 30-0, before two aces help him to a hold to 15. We're back on serve in the third set. 3:43PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 5-4 Isner* (*next server) - Isner breaks back! Imagine if after that Anderson got broken now. It could just happen. He makes a mess of an easy forehand, allowing Isner to guide a backhand pass down the line for 30-30. And then a long backhand from Anderson gives Isner a break back point at 30-40. And he takes it! Anderson nets an attempted forehand pass and we're back on serve. I do not believe that. Anderson missed a glorious chance to go up 40-15, and how he might regret losing his serve there. 3:39PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 5-3 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Isner's been on top this set but Anderson thumps a forehand up the line for 0-15. Isner then nets a forehand and it's 15-30. Chance here for Anderson. Big chance now, as Isner sends a forehand wide! It's two break points for Anderson at 15-40. Will Isner finally be broken at this year's Wimbledon? Yes! At last, Isner drops his serve. It's a brilliant Anderson backhand return that leaves Isner sprawling at the net. After 110 straight service holds this tournament, Isner is finally broken. Anderson will serve for the third set. Credit: Getty Images 3:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 4-3 Isner* (*next server) Isner again has a sniff by winning the first point of an Anderson service game, but Big Kev steels himself once more and holds to 30. 3:31PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 3-3 Isner (*next server) Another excellent half-volley pick-up from Isner helps him on his way to a hold to 15. 3:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 3-2 Isner* (*next server) A booming ace down the T secures a hold to 15 for Anderson. At the last change of ends it looked as though the umpire had a word with Isner about receiving coaching from his box. Isner angrily refutes the suggestion. 3:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 2-2 Isner (*next server) No such issues on the Isner serve as he holds to love. Credit: REUTERS 3:20PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 2-1 Isner* (*next server) First opening that Isner has had on the Anderson serve for an absolute age, as the South African nets a forehand for 15-30. Isner has a good chance at two break points but he nets a forehand off an Anderson second serve to make it 30-30. Isner then overhits a return for 40-30. A relieved Anderson screams "yes!" in celebration, and then thwacks away a forehand winner to complete the hold. A big opportunity missed for Isner. 3:17PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 1-1 Isner (*next server) Beautiful pick-up from Isner secures a hold to 15. He hit that from absolute no-man's land between the baseline and service line. Ridiculous stat below by the way... Kevin Anderson hit one unforced error in the last set and lost it.— Tumaini Carayol (@tumcarayol) July 13, 2018 3:14PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 1-0 Isner* (*next server) Anderson holds to love in the blink of an eye. Who's going to crack here? No breaks of serve all match remember. Credit: BBC 3:10PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7 Isner (*next server) - Second set Isner Isner sends an ace flying screaming down the T and he lets out a huge roar in celebration after winning the tie-break 7-5. It's one-set all after exactly two hours. Djokovic and Nadal could be waiting a while longer... Credit: REUTERS 3:08PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 5-6 Isner* Isner nets a forehand so on we go. The third set point though will be on the Isner serve...what have you got big John? 3:07PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 4-6 Isner Anderson saves the first set point with an ace out wide. 3:07PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 3-6 Isner Service winner brings up three set points for Isner. 3:06PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 3-5 Isner* Anderson gets one of the mini-breaks back with a backhand winner. Isner had thought he was 6-2 up but a Hawk-Eye challenge showed his serve to be out. 3:05PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 2-5 Isner* Another ace down the T reduces the deficit. 3:04PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 1-5 Isner An ace down the T gets Anderson off the mark. 3:03PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-5 Isner Unreturned serve extends Isner's lead. 3:03PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 0-4 Isner* A serve-volley play ends in an easy smash for Isner. He's running away with this. 3:02PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 0-3 Isner* Wow, another stunning return sets Isner up for an easy forehand put-away. He's two mini-breaks to the good. 3:01PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-2 Isner Blistering service return secures an instant mini-break for Isner. 3:01PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-1 Isner Unreturnable serve seals the first point of the breaker for Isner. 3:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-6 Isner* (*next server) - Second set tie-break Isner punches away a volley for 0-15, but Anderson rolls off a few forehand winners and eventually holds to 30. We're into a second set tie-break. 2:55PM Anderson* 7-6, 5-6 Isner (*next server) Isner looks a little tired all of a sudden as Anderson cranks up the power to move to 30-30 again. But Isner responds in style, thwacking down two service winners to hold to 30. Anderson will serve to stay in the second set for a second time. 2:51PM Anderson 7-6, 5-5 Isner* (*next server) Anderson brushes off the disappointment of not taking that break point and holds to 15. After Isner shaded the first set performance-wise, Anderson's been the stronger player in the second. Credit: AFP 2:48PM Anderson* 7-6, 4-5 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds Well, well, what have we here ? Isner pushes a volley wide and it's 30-30. Make that 30-40 and break point Anderson after another brilliant forehand winner! Can he take it? No, Isner saves it with a punched volley. How do you break this guy?! Isner then claims the next two points and that's 106 service holds in a row at this year's Wimbledon. Had Anderson broken there he would have been serving for a two-sets lead. 2:43PM Anderson 7-6, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) Anderson responds with a love hold of his own. Can we just play the tie-break now? (Tie-breaks at 3-3 was incidentally one of the rule changes experiments with at the ATP Next Gen Finals last year). 2:40PM Anderson* 7-6, 3-4 Isner (*next server) Aaaand it's a love hold for Isner, who hasn't dropped his serve all tournament. Credit: AFP 2:38PM Anderson 7-6, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is hitting his forehand sensationally well today, snaring Isner with another crosscourt pass for 30-0. A couple of points later he completes a love hold. It feels at the moment as if we're heading inexorably for another tie-break. 2:34PM Anderson* 7-6, 2-3 Isner (*next server) Beautiful rolled forehand pass from Anderson has the Centre Court crowd in raptures. Isner reels off the next three points to go up 40-15, but a couple of excellent Anderson returns have us at deuce. Only the second time Isner's been taken to deuce today. He fends off the danger with two wicked second serves. We remain on serve, with neither player having dropped their serve so far this match. 2:29PM Anderson 7-6, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Yeah no sign of a break at the moment. Anderson holds to 15 with an 11th ace. Isner is fine to continue. 2:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Impressive game from Isner, who hits a lovely curling forehand winner on his way to a hold to love. It feels like both players are getting into ominous rhythms on their serve. Isner is getting treatement for a blister on his racket hand. Please don't let this end like Cilic's blister-induced tears in last year's final. Credit: REUTERS 2:23PM Anderson 7-6, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Isner's swinging pretty wildly and he misses a couple of backhands to help Anderson to a hold to 15. 2:18PM Anderson* 7-6, 0-1 Isner (*next server) That was a really high-level first set, so much more than just big serving. Isner started much the better and missed three break points, as well as a set point, but he'll have to put that disappointment quickly behind him. He certainly does that this game, banging down three consecutive aces in a confident hold to love. 2:15PM Anderson 7-6 Isner* (*next server) - First set Anderson A long, tense rally goes Anderson's way as Isner nets a forehand. First set Anderson. Anderson wins the tie-break 8-6, and after 63 minutes is a set to the good. Credit: Getty Images 2:13PM First set tie-break: Anderson 7-6 Isner* Isner nets a makeable backhand and it's set point Anderson. 2:12PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 6-6 Isner Well played Anderson. He hits a few nerveless forehands and saves the set point with a smash. 2:11PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 5-6 Isner A 139mph ace makes it set point Isner. 2:10PM First set tie-break: Anderson 5-5 Isner* Service winner levels things up. The next point will be a set point for one of these two... 2:09PM First set tie-break: Anderson 5-4 Isner* Brilliant low volley from Anderson makes it three points in a row for the South African. 2:08PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 4-4 Isner Anderson smash levels things up. 2:08PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 3-4 Isner What a shot! Anderson claims the mini-break back with a sensational forehand passing shot on the run. We're back on serve. 2:07PM First set tie-break: Anderson 2-4 Isner* Isner ensures he's ahead at the change of ends with a clever body serve. 2:06PM First set tie-break: Anderson 2-3 Isner* Anderson service winner reduces the deficit. 2:05PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 1-3 Isner Brilliant Isner forehand winner secures him the early mini-break. What a shot. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 1-2 Isner Isner ace gets his nose in front. No mini-breaks so far. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson 1-1 Isner* Isner levels up with a forehand volley winner. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson 1-0 Isner* Anderson forehand winner gets him the first point. 2:03PM Anderson* 6-6 Isner (*next server) - Tie-break Isner's eighth ace secures a hold to 15 and takes us into a first set tie-break. Anderson to serve first in the breaker. How's your nerve lads? 1:59PM Anderson 6-5 Isner* (*next server) Love hold for Anderson, sealed with a nifty volley. Isner will serve to stay in the first set for a second time. It's been an interesting, high-quality match so far. Anybody who thinks Isner vs Anderson is just a match between towering servebots has not been watching the match and definitely was not watching the 3d game— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) July 13, 2018 1:56PM Anderson* 5-5 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a set point and holds An awkward low return from Anderson draws a missed volley from Isner for 0-15. Isner responds with a 126 mph second serve for 15-15, but he then nets a backhand and it's 15-30 - Anderson is two points from the set. A booming serve out wide has us at 30-30, before a double fault gives Anderson a set point at 30-40! Can he take this precious opportunity? Isner has held all 99 of his previous service games at this tournament. And he clings on here with a gutsy second serve that completely jams Anderson. An ace and a service winner follow to make it 100 out of 100 service holds this tournament. Nothing Anderson could have done there, but what a huge moment that might prove to be. Make that 100 consecutive service games unbroken for @JohnIsner at #Wimbledon ���� pic.twitter.com/UK9gBlNMkh— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 1:50PM Anderson 5-4 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks a little sluggish as he fails to chase down a drop shot. Anderson then runs away with the game and holds to love. Isner will serve to stay in the first set. 1:48PM Anderson* 4-4 Isner (*next server) Two aces from Isner level the ace count at six apiece and the set at four-games all. Business end of the set incoming... 1:45PM Anderson 4-3 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is trying to mix up his serves by not solely targetting the Isner backhand. It makes sense to try and avoid being too predictable, but Isner is getting a lot of joy from thumping forehand returns. Anderson eventually holds to 15 here, as two more aces take his tally so far to six. Credit: Getty Images 1:42PM Anderson* 3-3 Isner (*next server) Anderson's last two matches have taken a combined time of nearly eight hours, so you'd expect he might have a few aching limbs. Isner is definitely leading this match 'on points' to use the boxing term. He's been by far the stronger player and slams down two aces to hold to 15. 1:39PM Anderson 3-2 Isner* (*next server) Isner is being so aggressive on his returns and is getting a good read on the Anderson serve. A couple of errors though help Anderson to a hold to 15. Anderson meanwhile has called for the trainer to deliver him a banana and a few pills. Oh dear, hopefully it's nothing serious. 1:35PM Anderson* 2-2 Isner (*next server) No mental let-down from Isner after missing those break points. An ace down the T seals a holds to 30, having raced to 40-0 up. Credit: REUTERS 1:30PM Anderson 2-1 Isner* (*next server) - Anderson saves three break points and holds Oooh, a rally of almost 10 shots breaks out which ends with Anderson netting a backhand for 30-30. Half a chance this for Isner. Anderson hits a brilliant forehand to go up 40-30, but Isner responds with one of his own for deuce. Isner then forces a break point (practically a set point?) with another huge forehand. He's absolutely nailing that shot at the moment. But he snatches at the break point by sending a forehand skidding long. Huge chance missed there. But another one presents itself straight away, as Isner absolutely smokes another forehand winner. Anderson saves this one too when a backhand kicks off the baseline and flummoxes his opponent. Moments later, Isner earns a third break point with a brilliant forehand return. And what a chance that is! But Isner misses a sitter of a volley and it's back to deuce. Blimey that looked all the world like being the break. John McEnroe says in commentary that this is the finest returning game he's ever seen Isner play. Anderson then misses a few chances of his own to win the game, as Isner continues to strike the ball beautifully off both wings. Anderson eventually holds after a game that lasts 13 minutes. He puffs his cheeks out in relief. Isner looks extremely sharp in these opening exchanges, but that's a big chance missed. 1:16PM Anderson* 1-1 Isner (*next server) Anderson gets to 15-0 with a flicked forehand pass. Isner reels off the next four points to claim the hold. 1:13PM Anderson 1-0 Isner* (*next server) Double fault and an ace to kick us off. Another ace helps Anderson to a hold to 15. 1:10PM Ready? Play Anderson won the toss and will serve first. A place in the #Wimbledon final awaits for one of @KAndersonATP and @JohnIsner… Follow it live �� �� https://t.co/N05LMuoUDMpic.twitter.com/QL51Ptc6GA— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 1:06PM They're knocking up Practising serves. Not sure you really need to lads. 1:02PM Players are out Isner hasn't dropped his serve this tournament, and has only faced seven break points. But amazingly this is his first match on Centre Court. The players step on to the court to warm applause from the crowd. 12:58PM What's it like facing Isner's serve? Simon Briggs went to find out. 12:44PM Ace, ace, ace Expect tie-breaks and very few rallies and service breaks this afternoon. As John Isner said yesterday: "When I say 'big points' I'm talking about break points for me, which are essentially set points". We all remember his 70-68 fifth set against Nicolas Mahut here eight years ago. Credit: Getty Images 12:08PM Land of the giants Back in 2004 fellow college freshmen John Isner and Kevin Anderson stepped onto court to play one another in an inter-university match. Isner was representing the university of Georgia, while Anderson was at the university of Illinois. Isner won the match, and now 14 years on here they both are on Centre Court, competing for a place in the Wimbledon final. Their paths have crossed many times in between - they met again in the 2007 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship match and have competed against each other 11 times as pros - but never on a stage as grand as this. "There could be a little mental aspect in our match," Isner said on Wednesday. "I say that because our rivalry, what have you, goes back way before the pro tour. We played each other in college probably three, four, five times. We played each other a bunch on the pro tour. "We've been lined up against each other for about 14 years now, because he left Illinois when I left Georgia. We've been doing it ever since. Credit: REUTERS "For me this matchup, and I think for him as well, is especially cool. It's a very nice spotlight on college tennis, that one of us, no matter what, is going to be playing in the Wimbledon final. We're duking it out in the semifinals. Two of us went to college, did it a little bit different route. It's pretty cool." As well as a shared history, Isner, 33 and Anderson, 32 have a lot else in common. They are both physical giants (Isner is 6ft 10in, Anderson is 6ft 8in) and possess among the finest serves in the game. They were also both viewed as underachievers until recently, with Isner winning a first Masters title in Miami in March and Anderson reaching the US Open final last year. This is the first time in the Wimbledon semis for both, and Isner leads the head to head 8-3. Credit: AP Isner - a proud Republican from North Carolina - has made the bigger noise of the two off the court this tournament when he said on Monday: "I'd love to have Trump watch me. That would be awesome.” Anderson though has received more plaudits for his on-court achievements, having become only the second man ever to beat Roger Federer from two sets down. Expect plenty of aces and very few rallies today in what promises to be an extremely close match. Personally I expect Isner to just have the edge.
Kevin Anderson defeats John Isner, in second-longest Wimbledon match of all time to reach final
Wimbledon’s marathon man John Isner was at it again, but this time he was outlasted by Kevin Anderson in an extraordinary 6hr 36min semi-final, the third-longest singles match in history. It was going to take something special to separate these gladiators as they went ace for ace and blow for blow. With the light starting to fade close to 8pm, the saga duly got the ending that it deserved. In the 49th game of the fifth set and at love-15 up, Anderson slipped at the back of the court. He fell to the ground, so did his racket, but when Isner put his return into the centre of the court, Anderson got off the canvas like Rocky, picked up his racket left-handed and got his forehand back into play to win the point. Hollywood eat your heart out. For the fourth consecutive Isner service game, Anderson was love-30 up. On every previous occasion, Isner’s blunderbuss serve, which peaked at 142mph, had come to his rescue. Not this time. A second serve was the chance that Anderson had been waiting for and he hit a forehand winner to engineer three break points. Isner had saved four previous break points in this marathon final set, which was approaching the three-hour mark. Each time he produced an ace to save his skin. The fifth was saved with a serve and volley, but he could not repeat the trick, at 15-40 putting a backhand into the net. The crowd celebrated raucously, as much with relief than anything else, but the job was not yet done and Anderson had to serve out the match. What must have been going through the 32-year-old’s head? On two of the three games that he had broken Isner, the American had broken straight back. This time he held his nerve as Isner put a forehand into the tramlines. There were no wild celebrations from Anderson despite becoming the first South African man in 97 years to reach a Wimbledon final, in part because of exhaustion, in part in sympathy for his vanquished foe who he first played on the American college circuit 14 years ago. Anderson prevails at last by winning the 99th game of the semi-final Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images “Coming through that match, obviously I’m ecstatic to be through to the finals.” Anderson said. “At the same time, you know, you feel like it should be a draw. But somebody has to win.” Eight years ago, Isner took part in the longest match in history in his 11hrs 5ms conquest of Nicolas Mahut. The 33-year-old has repeatedly said that he did not want his career be defined by that match. Fate obviously has a sick sense of humour. The Donald Trump supporter will have to wait to make American men’s tennis great again with Andy Roddick, their last male representative to reached a grand slam final nine years ago. “I feel pretty terrible,” Isner said. My left heel is killing me. I have an awful blister on my right foot. It stinks to lose, but I gave it everything I had out there. I just lost to someone who is a little bit better at the end.” Anderson’s victory is even more remarkable when you consider that in the last 16 he went three and a half hours against Gaël Monfils in the last 16 and then became only the fifth man to come from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in a four-hour plus quarter-final. We all thought he would have nothing left. How wrong we were. “You’re really in a war of attrition out there,” Anderson said. “It’s way beyond a normal tennis match or tactics. I mean, it’s just who’s going to, you know, outlast each other.” "Anderson vs Isner, a Wimbledon classic - you better believe it" A Centre Court epic ends with @KAndersonATP going through to the #Wimbledon final, beating John Isner 7-6(6), 6-7(5), 6-7(9), 6-4, 26-24 pic.twitter.com/Fv4ww2cEzK— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 That a match between the tournament’s two leading severs went to five sets was no surprise. To paraphrase Guns n’ Roses, “Take me down to tiebreak city, where the grass is green and the serves aren’t pretty.” Yet as the match progress and each man’s serve lost its rapier edge and the rallies went to script. The first three sets went according to script, although how different might the contest have been had Isner seized one of three break points in Anderson’s second service game? Anderson took the first tiebreak and double-faulted on set point in the second which allowed his opponent to draw level. Business started picking up in the third set when Isner, after winning 110 consecutive service games at this tournament, was finally broken. Almost inevitably, Isner broke back straight away as if he was righting a cosmetic imbalance. Health of players at risk The third-set tie-break was a classic bit of psychological theatre. Each man traded mini-breaks and lost set-point opportunities, notably when Anderson double-faulted at 8-7. When Anderson sent a forehand into the tramlines, Isner looked too shocked to celebrate. Showing some incredible reflexes, Anderson broke in the fourth game of the fourth set. Like night follows day, Isner broke straight back only to go love-40 down in his very next service game and this time Anderson held his nerve to take it to a fifth set that even Tolstoy would have considered overblown. 7:59PM A word for the vanquished "At the end you feel like it’s a draw, but someone has to win. John is a great guy and I really feel for him" - @KAndersonATP#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/SHU5fVNUc9— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 7:51PM Big Kev is through Anderson looks completely frazzled and the first thing he does is express his sympathy for his opponent: "I don't know how you can take playing for that long and not coming out on the winning side." 7:48PM Game, set and match! Anderson defeats Isner 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 26-24 An ace takes Anderson to 30-15. He exhales meaningfully. Isner then sends a return long and it's two match points at 40-15. And that's it! Isner pushes a forehand wide, and finally, finally it's over. Kevin Anderson is through to the Wimbledon final after 6hr 35min. 7:43PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 25-24 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Anderson falls to the floor, drops his racket and picks it up to play left-handed. And he wins the point to make it 0-30 again! That was insane! Anderson then spins away a forehand winner and it's three break points at 0-40. Surely, surely he has to take one of these?! Yes he does! Isner nets a backhand on the second one and Anderson will serve for the match! Oh my word, if Anderson gets broken here! Credit: PA 7:40PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 24-24 Isner* (*next server) Isner has not had a single break point all set, and Anderson holds again to love. 7:37PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 23-24 Isner (*next server) Right, is this it. Isner puts a tired forehand into the net and it's 0-30 again. But once again Isner bangs down a flurry of big serves and holds to 30. Isner's won enough games this set to have won four sets. 7:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 23-23 Isner* (*next server) Love hold for Anderson. What on earth must Nadal and Djokovic, who follow this match, be thinking? 7:30PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 22-23 Isner (*next server) It's another chance for Anderson, as he caresses a backhand down the line for 0-30. An ace and a missed Anderson backhand make it 30-30. Isner then flicks away a forehand for 40-30 before a missed Anderson forehand seals the hold. Credit: REUTERS 7:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 22-22 Isner* (*next server) Isner has the tiniest glimmer of a break at 15-15. Anderson slams the door shut and holds to 15. 7:23PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 21-22 Isner (*next server) Here we go again. Isner misses a forehand for 0-30 but responds with two big serves for 30-30. Anderson then duffs an easy backhand to make it 30-40, before Isner returns the favour with a netted volley for deuce. Isner desperately retrieves a low forehand and then punches away a volley to complete the hold. 7:19PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 21-21 Isner* (*next server) Isner receives rapturous applause at each of the points he wins this game, but Anderson emerges with a hold to 30. 7:14PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 20-21 Isner (*next server) Anderson sprays a forehand just wide and Isner holds on to 15. Credit: REUTERS 7:12PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 20-20 Isner* (*next server) Anderson responds with a hold to love. Genuinely starting to wonder if this will ever end. 7:12PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 19-20 Isner (*next server) No sniff for Anderson this game as Isner holds to 15. 7:07PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 19-19 Isner* (*next server) Anderson guides a backhand beautifully down the line to complete a hold to 15. For a moment at 15-15, Isner dared to ream. 7:03PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 18-19 Isner (*next server) Isner endures a shaky moment as he allows Anderson back in the game at 40-30 from 40-0, but he forces Anderson to miss a backhand and holds on. 7:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 18-18 Isner* (*next server) This set began at 4.45. Anderson holds to love, and is yet to face a break point in this final set. Credit: Getty Images 6:58PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 17-18 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves two break points and holds Isner misses a forehand for 15-30, and another forehand flies wide for 15-40 - two break points. Isner saves the first with an ace out wide. And indeed the second with an ace down the T. A service winner makes it advantage Isner, and he digs out the hold with a backhand pass. Nothing Anderson could have done there. 6:52PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 17-17 Isner* (*next server) Anderson holds to love, as the court coverers start to gather. We continue for now. Hopefully the shower will pass. 6:50PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 16-17 Isner (*next server) Still no immediate end in sight as Isner holds to 15. Play can go on until 11pm tonight. Will it end before then? And it's started to rain! On we go for the moment but it's definitely spitting. 6:47PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 16-16 Isner* (*next server) Two aces and a service winner from Anderson seals a very impressive hold. He's kept his level superbly this set. So has Isner in the main to be fair. Of all Wimbledon matches ever, only Isner v Mahut has ever lasted longer than this. Kevin Anderson vs John Isner. Officially the second longest singles match in Championships history.#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/fGGHRQaqz7— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 6:44PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 15-16 Isner (*next server) Isner nets a backhand for 0-15, and Anderson is close to 0-30 but he pulls a backhand just wide. Instead it's 15-15, and buoyed by the reprieve Isner holds to 30. 6:41PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 15-15 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is so on top at the moment in general play but he just can't get the break. He holds to 30 here having sped to 40-0. It is 15-15. 6:36PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 14-15 Isner (*next server) An ace and a forehand winner take Isner to a hold to 15. We're almost at 15-15 in games, which I always find amusing. It's the little things in life. Credit: AFP 6:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 14-14 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks knackered as he fails painfully to get to a low backhand. Anderson holds to 15. On we go. It feels like about a year since this match started. 6:30PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 13-14 Isner (*next server) "Come on guys, we want to see Rafa!" someone screams from the crowd. But the wait continues as Isner holds to 30. 6:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 13-13 Isner* (*next server) Anderson certainly looks the fresher of the two but Isner knows he's so close now to the final. Anderson keeps him at arm's length with a hold to 15 - sealed with consecutive aces out wide. Credit: REUTERS 6:23PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 12-13 Isner (*next server) A missed Isner backhand has us at 15-15, but any hopes of a break are dashed in the next few points as Isner holds to 30 with a clinical forehand winner. 6:20PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 12-12 Isner* (*next server) Still Anderson continues to serve accurately. He hasn't faced a break point in this final set, and races to 40-0 here. A forehand winner secures the hold to 15. We've been playing 5hr 9 min. 6:15PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 11-12 Isner (*next server) A blessedly straightforward hold for Isner after those recent struggles. He holds to love here. 6:14PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 11-11 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks pumped up, especially after Anderson nets a forehand volley for 0-15. Anderson responds in style again and holds to 15 after reeling off the next four points. Will this ever end? Credit: Getty Images 6:10PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 10-11 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds It's 0-30 again as Anderson whips away a forehand winner. Can Isner pull himself up from the canvas again? An ace out wide and a forehand winner make it 30-30. But a fizzing low return brings up a break point for Anderson at 30-40. He gets a look at it but miscues a backhand pass well long. Isner then bangs down an ace and heroically chases down a drop shot to seal the game. His momentum takes him into his chair for the change of ends. That was spectacular. 6:04PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 10-10 Isner* (*next server) Now it's Isner who can sniff a break, after he sends a forehand perfectly onto the baseline for 0-15. Anderson responds well though and reels off the next three points for 40-15. He eventually holds for 40-30. 5:59PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 9-10 Isner (*next server) Isner misses two forehands and it's 0-30! It's then heart in mouth time for Isner but he just clears the net with a low volley for 15-30. He then repeats the trick for 30-30 after Anderson stretched every sinew to retrieve a forehand. An ace makes it 40-30 and a volley winner completes the hold. 5:55PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 9-9 Isner* (*next server) Crazy how fresh Anderson looks given his previous matches lasted almost eight hours, and he's played nigh on five hours here. Anderson races to 40-15, but Isner is two points away from the final at deuce as Anderson sends a backhand wide at the end of a rare long rally. Anderson responds in style, with an ace and service winner to complete the hold. Credit: REUTERS 5:48PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 8-9 Isner (*next server) The players are wearying but no-one can get the break. Isner holds to 15 and the pressure swings right back to Anderson. 5:45PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 8-8 Isner* (*next server) After the drama of the last game, Anderson holds to love - sealed with an ace out wide. On we go. 5:43PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 7-8 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds Big chance here for Anderson. Isner sends a lunging volley long and Anderson's up 0-30. A hush fills Centre Court. A stupendous low volley from Isner makes it 15-30, before an ace down the T has us at 30-30. But a stinging Anderson return brings up a break point at 30-40. Isner of course saves it with an ace. Two crushing serves follow, and Isner holds. He screams "that's it!" in celebration. 5:36PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 7-7 Isner* (*next server) No dramas for Big Kev as an inside-in forehand winner seals a hold to love. Credit: REUTERS 5:33PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 6-7 Isner (*next server) An effective serve-volley play helps Isner to a hold to 15. No break points yet this set. 5:30PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 6-6 Isner* (*next server) Anderson nets a backhand. It's 0-15. Isner is three points from the final. Make that two points, as Isner smokes a forehand up the line for 15-30. Isner then sends a pair of backhands long and it's 40-30. Anderson seals the hold with a bullet serve out wide. No final set tie-breaker remember so on we go. Meanwhile... The Telegraph Sports desk has had their say on Anderson vs Isner Who will come out on top in this five set thriller, and what will the score be? @TelegraphSport#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/C3RzGzHubd— Jamie Johnson (@JamieoJohnson) July 13, 2018 5:26PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 5-6 Isner (*next server) Stinging Anderson forehand return winner has us at 15-15. In the context of the match so far, this is a chance! Isner responds well with a couple of banging serves for 40-15, and he eventually holds to 30. Anderson will serve to stay in the match for a second time. I'm going to stop writing that from here on in as he will be serving to stay in the match on every service game. 5:22PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 5-5 Isner* (*next server) Isner gets a look a couple of returns but he's a little flat footed and Anderson holds to 15. A reminder from Greg below that there's no tie-break on the final set at Wimbledon. US Open is the only grand slam where there is one. I think there should be tiebreakers in the final set at all Grand Slams as it creates more drama and allows players to recover better. Are we going to beat Isner vs Mahut record today with Anderson vs Isner Wimbledon semi?— Greg Rusedski (@GregRusedski1) July 13, 2018 5:18PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 4-5 Isner (*next server) Isner is still being bothered by that blister on his right hand. He holds to 15 and prior to the final point of the game calls for the trainer. Anderson will serve to stay in the match. 5:16PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) No let up from Anderson, who holds assertively to love. Meanwhile a word of encouragement for Isner from the last American man to reach a grand slam final. Come on John— andyroddick (@andyroddick) July 13, 2018 5:13PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 3-4 Isner (*next server) The worry is that as the players get progressively more tired they struggle even more to return. Speaking of which, Isner bangs down an ace - his 200th of the tournament - to wrap up a simple hold to 15. Credit: AP 5:11PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) Isner's won all five of the last meetings between these two. Will that mean anything as we enter the home straight? I suspect not a huge amount. Anderson holds to love as the match clock ticks into its fifth hour. 5:07PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 2-3 Isner (*next server) You've got to credit these guys, they've kept a very high level throughout. Isner sends down a couple of heat-seeking missile-like serves on his way to a breezy hold to 15. 5:04PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Isner hasn't been a break up at any point this match. It's a sequence that continues here as Anderson holds to 15. 5:01PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Isner bangs down three aces to take his tally to 39 and complete the hold. Credit: REUTERS 5:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Anderson looks fresher now than he did half an hour ago and holds easily to 15. 4:56PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 0-1 Isner (*next server) Isner picks himself up and holds to love. We've been playing 3hr 45 min. 4:53PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4 Isner* (*next server) - Fourth set Anderson! Can Anderson finally consolidate a break and in so doing take us into a deciding set? An ace takes Anderson to three set points at 40-0. Isner saves the first two with blistering returns, and the third with a howitzer of a forehand. This is insane! Anderson then earns a fourth set point with a smash, and he takes this one when Isner nets a return! We're heading for a final set. There'll be no tie-breaker remember so we could be here all night. Djokovic and Nadal continue to wait... Marathon men...@KAndersonATP wins the fourth set 6-4 against John Isner and the battle for a place in the #Wimbledon final goes all the way... pic.twitter.com/MagHg8E5zo— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 4:47PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 5-4 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Isner nets a half-volley and then does likewise on a backhand to gift Anderson a break point at 30-40. Anderson takes it with a backhand pass that flies past his opponent. Unbelievable. Anderson, who is breathing a little heavily now, will serve to take us into a fifth set. 4:43PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) Some normality restored as Anderson holds to love. On we go... Credit: Reuters 4:40PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-4 Isner (*next server) Isner double faults for 30-30. Surely not a third consecutive break in a row? No. Isner slams down a big serve and is then relieved as Anderson misses an easy backhand pass. 4:37PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) - Isner breaks back! The last time he broke Anderson was broken back immediately. Can he consolidate it this time? Possibly not, because Isner has rolled a forehand pass down the line for 15-30. It's then break back point for Isner as Anderson pushes a backhand pass long to make it 30-40. And Isner gets the instant break back again! This time with a backhand pass up the line. Neither man can quite believe it. 4:33PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-2 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Really good backhand pass on the run from Anderson gets him to 40-30, and an even better backhand return winner has us at deuce. Isner then gets a time violation warning before the next serve, and would you believe it Anderson flicks away another return winner to bring up a break point! Can he take it? Yes, he can! A fourth consecutive sensational shot from Anderson forces Isner into missing a half-volley, and out of nowhere he has the break. That was unreal returning from Anderson. Credit: PA 4:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Anderson regroups and holds comfortably to 15. Are we heading for another tie-break? 4:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Isner's on a groove on his serve and holds to love. With Isner serving first, he pressure will be on Anderson throughout this set. 4:21PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Isner is bouncing around the court, looking for the early kill at the start of the fourth set. But Anderson clings on and holds to 30. Credit: AP 4:17PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 0-1 Isner (*next server) Love hold from Isner to kick off the fourth set. 4:16PM Anderson's back out What must be going through his mind. He served for the third set and had a sitter to go up 40-15 in that game. He then double faulted when up set point in the breaker. How will he respond? 4:11PM Medical time out Anderson has left the court to receive treatment. 4:09PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7 Isner* (*next server) - Third set Isner Anderson pushes a forehand wide and that's the set for Isner. He takes the tie-break 11-9. After almost three hours Isner leads two sets to one. Anderson served for the set and had two set points, but he has it all to do now. Credit: REUTERS 4:08PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 9-10 Isner Anderson nets a backhand return and it's set point #3 for Isner. 4:07PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 9-9 Isner* A huge 136mph ace out wide saves it. The players change ends again. 4:06PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 9-8 Isner* An ace down the T makes it set point Anderson. Oh no it doesn't - Isner challenges and Hawk-Eye shows the ball to be out. A forehand winner does then make it set point Anderson #2. 4:05PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 8-8 Isner Oh dear, Anderson has double faulted! On we go. 4:04PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 8-7 Isner It's set point Anderson! He guides a backhand pass up the line, and will have this set point on his own serve. 4:04PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 7-7 Isner* Anderson saves it with a brilliant forehand pass! Wow, what a shot that was under immense pressure. 4:03PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 6-7 Isner* Anderson sends a forehand long and it's set point Isner. The American has this one on his own serve... 4:02PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 6-6 Isner Isner can't return a big serve down the T and Anderson clings on. 4:01PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 5-6 Isner Isner then produces another wondrous low volley to earn himself a set point. The crowd loved that. What a couple of points. 4:00PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 5-5 Isner* Sensational low pick-up from Isner levels the breaker up. 3:59PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 5-4 Isner* Service winner puts Anderson in front. Blimey, this is tense. 3:59PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 4-4 Isner Isner gets the mini-break with a forehand down the line. Anderson again could have done more with his forehand the shot before. 3:58PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 4-3 Isner Anderson guides a backhand down the line to secure the mini-break. Huge roar from the crowd. 3:57PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 3-3 Isner* An Isner ace down the T ensures the players are level at the change of ends. 3:56PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 2-3 Isner* Service winner puts Anderson in front. 3:55PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 2-2 Isner Forehand winner from Anderson levels things up. 3:55PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 1-2 Isner Stunning Anderson forehand winner return gets the mini-break back. That's the shot of the match so far. 3:54PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 0-2 Isner* An ace down the T doubles Isner's lead. 3:54PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 0-1 Isner* Anderson completely miscues a forehand, and it's an instant mini-break for Isner. 3:53PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-6 Isner (*next server) - third set tie-break Tense moments for Isner as he misses a forehand and double faults for 30-30. Anderson is two points from the set. Isner responds with his hardest serve of the match - a 142mph bomb for 40-30. An ace down the T then wraps up the game. We're into a third set tie-break. 3:49PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-5 Isner* (*next server) A love hold for Anderson. How he could have done with that a couple of games ago. Isner gets some more tape for the blister on his right hand. Once he's patched up he'll serve to stay in the third set for a second time. Credit: PA 3:46PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 5-5 Isner (*next server) Isner looks seriously pumped. He flicks away two neat volleys for 30-0, before two aces help him to a hold to 15. We're back on serve in the third set. 3:43PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 5-4 Isner* (*next server) - Isner breaks back! Imagine if after that Anderson got broken now. It could just happen. He makes a mess of an easy forehand, allowing Isner to guide a backhand pass down the line for 30-30. And then a long backhand from Anderson gives Isner a break back point at 30-40. And he takes it! Anderson nets an attempted forehand pass and we're back on serve. I do not believe that. Anderson missed a glorious chance to go up 40-15, and how he might regret losing his serve there. 3:39PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 5-3 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Isner's been on top this set but Anderson thumps a forehand up the line for 0-15. Isner then nets a forehand and it's 15-30. Chance here for Anderson. Big chance now, as Isner sends a forehand wide! It's two break points for Anderson at 15-40. Will Isner finally be broken at this year's Wimbledon? Yes! At last, Isner drops his serve. It's a brilliant Anderson backhand return that leaves Isner sprawling at the net. After 110 straight service holds this tournament, Isner is finally broken. Anderson will serve for the third set. Credit: Getty Images 3:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 4-3 Isner* (*next server) Isner again has a sniff by winning the first point of an Anderson service game, but Big Kev steels himself once more and holds to 30. 3:31PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 3-3 Isner (*next server) Another excellent half-volley pick-up from Isner helps him on his way to a hold to 15. 3:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 3-2 Isner* (*next server) A booming ace down the T secures a hold to 15 for Anderson. At the last change of ends it looked as though the umpire had a word with Isner about receiving coaching from his box. Isner angrily refutes the suggestion. 3:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 2-2 Isner (*next server) No such issues on the Isner serve as he holds to love. Credit: REUTERS 3:20PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 2-1 Isner* (*next server) First opening that Isner has had on the Anderson serve for an absolute age, as the South African nets a forehand for 15-30. Isner has a good chance at two break points but he nets a forehand off an Anderson second serve to make it 30-30. Isner then overhits a return for 40-30. A relieved Anderson screams "yes!" in celebration, and then thwacks away a forehand winner to complete the hold. A big opportunity missed for Isner. 3:17PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 1-1 Isner (*next server) Beautiful pick-up from Isner secures a hold to 15. He hit that from absolute no-man's land between the baseline and service line. Ridiculous stat below by the way... Kevin Anderson hit one unforced error in the last set and lost it.— Tumaini Carayol (@tumcarayol) July 13, 2018 3:14PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 1-0 Isner* (*next server) Anderson holds to love in the blink of an eye. Who's going to crack here? No breaks of serve all match remember. Credit: BBC 3:10PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7 Isner (*next server) - Second set Isner Isner sends an ace flying screaming down the T and he lets out a huge roar in celebration after winning the tie-break 7-5. It's one-set all after exactly two hours. Djokovic and Nadal could be waiting a while longer... Credit: REUTERS 3:08PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 5-6 Isner* Isner nets a forehand so on we go. The third set point though will be on the Isner serve...what have you got big John? 3:07PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 4-6 Isner Anderson saves the first set point with an ace out wide. 3:07PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 3-6 Isner Service winner brings up three set points for Isner. 3:06PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 3-5 Isner* Anderson gets one of the mini-breaks back with a backhand winner. Isner had thought he was 6-2 up but a Hawk-Eye challenge showed his serve to be out. 3:05PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 2-5 Isner* Another ace down the T reduces the deficit. 3:04PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 1-5 Isner An ace down the T gets Anderson off the mark. 3:03PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-5 Isner Unreturned serve extends Isner's lead. 3:03PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 0-4 Isner* A serve-volley play ends in an easy smash for Isner. He's running away with this. 3:02PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 0-3 Isner* Wow, another stunning return sets Isner up for an easy forehand put-away. He's two mini-breaks to the good. 3:01PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-2 Isner Blistering service return secures an instant mini-break for Isner. 3:01PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-1 Isner Unreturnable serve seals the first point of the breaker for Isner. 3:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-6 Isner* (*next server) - Second set tie-break Isner punches away a volley for 0-15, but Anderson rolls off a few forehand winners and eventually holds to 30. We're into a second set tie-break. 2:55PM Anderson* 7-6, 5-6 Isner (*next server) Isner looks a little tired all of a sudden as Anderson cranks up the power to move to 30-30 again. But Isner responds in style, thwacking down two service winners to hold to 30. Anderson will serve to stay in the second set for a second time. 2:51PM Anderson 7-6, 5-5 Isner* (*next server) Anderson brushes off the disappointment of not taking that break point and holds to 15. After Isner shaded the first set performance-wise, Anderson's been the stronger player in the second. Credit: AFP 2:48PM Anderson* 7-6, 4-5 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds Well, well, what have we here ? Isner pushes a volley wide and it's 30-30. Make that 30-40 and break point Anderson after another brilliant forehand winner! Can he take it? No, Isner saves it with a punched volley. How do you break this guy?! Isner then claims the next two points and that's 106 service holds in a row at this year's Wimbledon. Had Anderson broken there he would have been serving for a two-sets lead. 2:43PM Anderson 7-6, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) Anderson responds with a love hold of his own. Can we just play the tie-break now? (Tie-breaks at 3-3 was incidentally one of the rule changes experiments with at the ATP Next Gen Finals last year). 2:40PM Anderson* 7-6, 3-4 Isner (*next server) Aaaand it's a love hold for Isner, who hasn't dropped his serve all tournament. Credit: AFP 2:38PM Anderson 7-6, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is hitting his forehand sensationally well today, snaring Isner with another crosscourt pass for 30-0. A couple of points later he completes a love hold. It feels at the moment as if we're heading inexorably for another tie-break. 2:34PM Anderson* 7-6, 2-3 Isner (*next server) Beautiful rolled forehand pass from Anderson has the Centre Court crowd in raptures. Isner reels off the next three points to go up 40-15, but a couple of excellent Anderson returns have us at deuce. Only the second time Isner's been taken to deuce today. He fends off the danger with two wicked second serves. We remain on serve, with neither player having dropped their serve so far this match. 2:29PM Anderson 7-6, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Yeah no sign of a break at the moment. Anderson holds to 15 with an 11th ace. Isner is fine to continue. 2:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Impressive game from Isner, who hits a lovely curling forehand winner on his way to a hold to love. It feels like both players are getting into ominous rhythms on their serve. Isner is getting treatement for a blister on his racket hand. Please don't let this end like Cilic's blister-induced tears in last year's final. Credit: REUTERS 2:23PM Anderson 7-6, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Isner's swinging pretty wildly and he misses a couple of backhands to help Anderson to a hold to 15. 2:18PM Anderson* 7-6, 0-1 Isner (*next server) That was a really high-level first set, so much more than just big serving. Isner started much the better and missed three break points, as well as a set point, but he'll have to put that disappointment quickly behind him. He certainly does that this game, banging down three consecutive aces in a confident hold to love. 2:15PM Anderson 7-6 Isner* (*next server) - First set Anderson A long, tense rally goes Anderson's way as Isner nets a forehand. First set Anderson. Anderson wins the tie-break 8-6, and after 63 minutes is a set to the good. Credit: Getty Images 2:13PM First set tie-break: Anderson 7-6 Isner* Isner nets a makeable backhand and it's set point Anderson. 2:12PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 6-6 Isner Well played Anderson. He hits a few nerveless forehands and saves the set point with a smash. 2:11PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 5-6 Isner A 139mph ace makes it set point Isner. 2:10PM First set tie-break: Anderson 5-5 Isner* Service winner levels things up. The next point will be a set point for one of these two... 2:09PM First set tie-break: Anderson 5-4 Isner* Brilliant low volley from Anderson makes it three points in a row for the South African. 2:08PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 4-4 Isner Anderson smash levels things up. 2:08PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 3-4 Isner What a shot! Anderson claims the mini-break back with a sensational forehand passing shot on the run. We're back on serve. 2:07PM First set tie-break: Anderson 2-4 Isner* Isner ensures he's ahead at the change of ends with a clever body serve. 2:06PM First set tie-break: Anderson 2-3 Isner* Anderson service winner reduces the deficit. 2:05PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 1-3 Isner Brilliant Isner forehand winner secures him the early mini-break. What a shot. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 1-2 Isner Isner ace gets his nose in front. No mini-breaks so far. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson 1-1 Isner* Isner levels up with a forehand volley winner. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson 1-0 Isner* Anderson forehand winner gets him the first point. 2:03PM Anderson* 6-6 Isner (*next server) - Tie-break Isner's eighth ace secures a hold to 15 and takes us into a first set tie-break. Anderson to serve first in the breaker. How's your nerve lads? 1:59PM Anderson 6-5 Isner* (*next server) Love hold for Anderson, sealed with a nifty volley. Isner will serve to stay in the first set for a second time. It's been an interesting, high-quality match so far. Anybody who thinks Isner vs Anderson is just a match between towering servebots has not been watching the match and definitely was not watching the 3d game— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) July 13, 2018 1:56PM Anderson* 5-5 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a set point and holds An awkward low return from Anderson draws a missed volley from Isner for 0-15. Isner responds with a 126 mph second serve for 15-15, but he then nets a backhand and it's 15-30 - Anderson is two points from the set. A booming serve out wide has us at 30-30, before a double fault gives Anderson a set point at 30-40! Can he take this precious opportunity? Isner has held all 99 of his previous service games at this tournament. And he clings on here with a gutsy second serve that completely jams Anderson. An ace and a service winner follow to make it 100 out of 100 service holds this tournament. Nothing Anderson could have done there, but what a huge moment that might prove to be. Make that 100 consecutive service games unbroken for @JohnIsner at #Wimbledon ���� pic.twitter.com/UK9gBlNMkh— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 1:50PM Anderson 5-4 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks a little sluggish as he fails to chase down a drop shot. Anderson then runs away with the game and holds to love. Isner will serve to stay in the first set. 1:48PM Anderson* 4-4 Isner (*next server) Two aces from Isner level the ace count at six apiece and the set at four-games all. Business end of the set incoming... 1:45PM Anderson 4-3 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is trying to mix up his serves by not solely targetting the Isner backhand. It makes sense to try and avoid being too predictable, but Isner is getting a lot of joy from thumping forehand returns. Anderson eventually holds to 15 here, as two more aces take his tally so far to six. Credit: Getty Images 1:42PM Anderson* 3-3 Isner (*next server) Anderson's last two matches have taken a combined time of nearly eight hours, so you'd expect he might have a few aching limbs. Isner is definitely leading this match 'on points' to use the boxing term. He's been by far the stronger player and slams down two aces to hold to 15. 1:39PM Anderson 3-2 Isner* (*next server) Isner is being so aggressive on his returns and is getting a good read on the Anderson serve. A couple of errors though help Anderson to a hold to 15. Anderson meanwhile has called for the trainer to deliver him a banana and a few pills. Oh dear, hopefully it's nothing serious. 1:35PM Anderson* 2-2 Isner (*next server) No mental let-down from Isner after missing those break points. An ace down the T seals a holds to 30, having raced to 40-0 up. Credit: REUTERS 1:30PM Anderson 2-1 Isner* (*next server) - Anderson saves three break points and holds Oooh, a rally of almost 10 shots breaks out which ends with Anderson netting a backhand for 30-30. Half a chance this for Isner. Anderson hits a brilliant forehand to go up 40-30, but Isner responds with one of his own for deuce. Isner then forces a break point (practically a set point?) with another huge forehand. He's absolutely nailing that shot at the moment. But he snatches at the break point by sending a forehand skidding long. Huge chance missed there. But another one presents itself straight away, as Isner absolutely smokes another forehand winner. Anderson saves this one too when a backhand kicks off the baseline and flummoxes his opponent. Moments later, Isner earns a third break point with a brilliant forehand return. And what a chance that is! But Isner misses a sitter of a volley and it's back to deuce. Blimey that looked all the world like being the break. John McEnroe says in commentary that this is the finest returning game he's ever seen Isner play. Anderson then misses a few chances of his own to win the game, as Isner continues to strike the ball beautifully off both wings. Anderson eventually holds after a game that lasts 13 minutes. He puffs his cheeks out in relief. Isner looks extremely sharp in these opening exchanges, but that's a big chance missed. 1:16PM Anderson* 1-1 Isner (*next server) Anderson gets to 15-0 with a flicked forehand pass. Isner reels off the next four points to claim the hold. 1:13PM Anderson 1-0 Isner* (*next server) Double fault and an ace to kick us off. Another ace helps Anderson to a hold to 15. 1:10PM Ready? Play Anderson won the toss and will serve first. A place in the #Wimbledon final awaits for one of @KAndersonATP and @JohnIsner… Follow it live �� �� https://t.co/N05LMuoUDMpic.twitter.com/QL51Ptc6GA— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 1:06PM They're knocking up Practising serves. Not sure you really need to lads. 1:02PM Players are out Isner hasn't dropped his serve this tournament, and has only faced seven break points. But amazingly this is his first match on Centre Court. The players step on to the court to warm applause from the crowd. 12:58PM What's it like facing Isner's serve? Simon Briggs went to find out. 12:44PM Ace, ace, ace Expect tie-breaks and very few rallies and service breaks this afternoon. As John Isner said yesterday: "When I say 'big points' I'm talking about break points for me, which are essentially set points". We all remember his 70-68 fifth set against Nicolas Mahut here eight years ago. Credit: Getty Images 12:08PM Land of the giants Back in 2004 fellow college freshmen John Isner and Kevin Anderson stepped onto court to play one another in an inter-university match. Isner was representing the university of Georgia, while Anderson was at the university of Illinois. Isner won the match, and now 14 years on here they both are on Centre Court, competing for a place in the Wimbledon final. Their paths have crossed many times in between - they met again in the 2007 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship match and have competed against each other 11 times as pros - but never on a stage as grand as this. "There could be a little mental aspect in our match," Isner said on Wednesday. "I say that because our rivalry, what have you, goes back way before the pro tour. We played each other in college probably three, four, five times. We played each other a bunch on the pro tour. "We've been lined up against each other for about 14 years now, because he left Illinois when I left Georgia. We've been doing it ever since. Credit: REUTERS "For me this matchup, and I think for him as well, is especially cool. It's a very nice spotlight on college tennis, that one of us, no matter what, is going to be playing in the Wimbledon final. We're duking it out in the semifinals. Two of us went to college, did it a little bit different route. It's pretty cool." As well as a shared history, Isner, 33 and Anderson, 32 have a lot else in common. They are both physical giants (Isner is 6ft 10in, Anderson is 6ft 8in) and possess among the finest serves in the game. They were also both viewed as underachievers until recently, with Isner winning a first Masters title in Miami in March and Anderson reaching the US Open final last year. This is the first time in the Wimbledon semis for both, and Isner leads the head to head 8-3. Credit: AP Isner - a proud Republican from North Carolina - has made the bigger noise of the two off the court this tournament when he said on Monday: "I'd love to have Trump watch me. That would be awesome.” Anderson though has received more plaudits for his on-court achievements, having become only the second man ever to beat Roger Federer from two sets down. Expect plenty of aces and very few rallies today in what promises to be an extremely close match. Personally I expect Isner to just have the edge.
Wimbledon’s marathon man John Isner was at it again, but this time he was outlasted by Kevin Anderson in an extraordinary 6hr 36min semi-final, the third-longest singles match in history. It was going to take something special to separate these gladiators as they went ace for ace and blow for blow. With the light starting to fade close to 8pm, the saga duly got the ending that it deserved. In the 49th game of the fifth set and at love-15 up, Anderson slipped at the back of the court. He fell to the ground, so did his racket, but when Isner put his return into the centre of the court, Anderson got off the canvas like Rocky, picked up his racket left-handed and got his forehand back into play to win the point. Hollywood eat your heart out. For the fourth consecutive Isner service game, Anderson was love-30 up. On every previous occasion, Isner’s blunderbuss serve, which peaked at 142mph, had come to his rescue. Not this time. A second serve was the chance that Anderson had been waiting for and he hit a forehand winner to engineer three break points. Isner had saved four previous break points in this marathon final set, which was approaching the three-hour mark. Each time he produced an ace to save his skin. The fifth was saved with a serve and volley, but he could not repeat the trick, at 15-40 putting a backhand into the net. The crowd celebrated raucously, as much with relief than anything else, but the job was not yet done and Anderson had to serve out the match. What must have been going through the 32-year-old’s head? On two of the three games that he had broken Isner, the American had broken straight back. This time he held his nerve as Isner put a forehand into the tramlines. There were no wild celebrations from Anderson despite becoming the first South African man in 97 years to reach a Wimbledon final, in part because of exhaustion, in part in sympathy for his vanquished foe who he first played on the American college circuit 14 years ago. Anderson prevails at last by winning the 99th game of the semi-final Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images “Coming through that match, obviously I’m ecstatic to be through to the finals.” Anderson said. “At the same time, you know, you feel like it should be a draw. But somebody has to win.” Eight years ago, Isner took part in the longest match in history in his 11hrs 5ms conquest of Nicolas Mahut. The 33-year-old has repeatedly said that he did not want his career be defined by that match. Fate obviously has a sick sense of humour. The Donald Trump supporter will have to wait to make American men’s tennis great again with Andy Roddick, their last male representative to reached a grand slam final nine years ago. “I feel pretty terrible,” Isner said. My left heel is killing me. I have an awful blister on my right foot. It stinks to lose, but I gave it everything I had out there. I just lost to someone who is a little bit better at the end.” Anderson’s victory is even more remarkable when you consider that in the last 16 he went three and a half hours against Gaël Monfils in the last 16 and then became only the fifth man to come from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in a four-hour plus quarter-final. We all thought he would have nothing left. How wrong we were. “You’re really in a war of attrition out there,” Anderson said. “It’s way beyond a normal tennis match or tactics. I mean, it’s just who’s going to, you know, outlast each other.” "Anderson vs Isner, a Wimbledon classic - you better believe it" A Centre Court epic ends with @KAndersonATP going through to the #Wimbledon final, beating John Isner 7-6(6), 6-7(5), 6-7(9), 6-4, 26-24 pic.twitter.com/Fv4ww2cEzK— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 That a match between the tournament’s two leading severs went to five sets was no surprise. To paraphrase Guns n’ Roses, “Take me down to tiebreak city, where the grass is green and the serves aren’t pretty.” Yet as the match progress and each man’s serve lost its rapier edge and the rallies went to script. The first three sets went according to script, although how different might the contest have been had Isner seized one of three break points in Anderson’s second service game? Anderson took the first tiebreak and double-faulted on set point in the second which allowed his opponent to draw level. Business started picking up in the third set when Isner, after winning 110 consecutive service games at this tournament, was finally broken. Almost inevitably, Isner broke back straight away as if he was righting a cosmetic imbalance. Health of players at risk The third-set tie-break was a classic bit of psychological theatre. Each man traded mini-breaks and lost set-point opportunities, notably when Anderson double-faulted at 8-7. When Anderson sent a forehand into the tramlines, Isner looked too shocked to celebrate. Showing some incredible reflexes, Anderson broke in the fourth game of the fourth set. Like night follows day, Isner broke straight back only to go love-40 down in his very next service game and this time Anderson held his nerve to take it to a fifth set that even Tolstoy would have considered overblown. 7:59PM A word for the vanquished "At the end you feel like it’s a draw, but someone has to win. John is a great guy and I really feel for him" - @KAndersonATP#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/SHU5fVNUc9— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 7:51PM Big Kev is through Anderson looks completely frazzled and the first thing he does is express his sympathy for his opponent: "I don't know how you can take playing for that long and not coming out on the winning side." 7:48PM Game, set and match! Anderson defeats Isner 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 26-24 An ace takes Anderson to 30-15. He exhales meaningfully. Isner then sends a return long and it's two match points at 40-15. And that's it! Isner pushes a forehand wide, and finally, finally it's over. Kevin Anderson is through to the Wimbledon final after 6hr 35min. 7:43PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 25-24 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Anderson falls to the floor, drops his racket and picks it up to play left-handed. And he wins the point to make it 0-30 again! That was insane! Anderson then spins away a forehand winner and it's three break points at 0-40. Surely, surely he has to take one of these?! Yes he does! Isner nets a backhand on the second one and Anderson will serve for the match! Oh my word, if Anderson gets broken here! Credit: PA 7:40PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 24-24 Isner* (*next server) Isner has not had a single break point all set, and Anderson holds again to love. 7:37PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 23-24 Isner (*next server) Right, is this it. Isner puts a tired forehand into the net and it's 0-30 again. But once again Isner bangs down a flurry of big serves and holds to 30. Isner's won enough games this set to have won four sets. 7:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 23-23 Isner* (*next server) Love hold for Anderson. What on earth must Nadal and Djokovic, who follow this match, be thinking? 7:30PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 22-23 Isner (*next server) It's another chance for Anderson, as he caresses a backhand down the line for 0-30. An ace and a missed Anderson backhand make it 30-30. Isner then flicks away a forehand for 40-30 before a missed Anderson forehand seals the hold. Credit: REUTERS 7:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 22-22 Isner* (*next server) Isner has the tiniest glimmer of a break at 15-15. Anderson slams the door shut and holds to 15. 7:23PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 21-22 Isner (*next server) Here we go again. Isner misses a forehand for 0-30 but responds with two big serves for 30-30. Anderson then duffs an easy backhand to make it 30-40, before Isner returns the favour with a netted volley for deuce. Isner desperately retrieves a low forehand and then punches away a volley to complete the hold. 7:19PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 21-21 Isner* (*next server) Isner receives rapturous applause at each of the points he wins this game, but Anderson emerges with a hold to 30. 7:14PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 20-21 Isner (*next server) Anderson sprays a forehand just wide and Isner holds on to 15. Credit: REUTERS 7:12PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 20-20 Isner* (*next server) Anderson responds with a hold to love. Genuinely starting to wonder if this will ever end. 7:12PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 19-20 Isner (*next server) No sniff for Anderson this game as Isner holds to 15. 7:07PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 19-19 Isner* (*next server) Anderson guides a backhand beautifully down the line to complete a hold to 15. For a moment at 15-15, Isner dared to ream. 7:03PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 18-19 Isner (*next server) Isner endures a shaky moment as he allows Anderson back in the game at 40-30 from 40-0, but he forces Anderson to miss a backhand and holds on. 7:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 18-18 Isner* (*next server) This set began at 4.45. Anderson holds to love, and is yet to face a break point in this final set. Credit: Getty Images 6:58PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 17-18 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves two break points and holds Isner misses a forehand for 15-30, and another forehand flies wide for 15-40 - two break points. Isner saves the first with an ace out wide. And indeed the second with an ace down the T. A service winner makes it advantage Isner, and he digs out the hold with a backhand pass. Nothing Anderson could have done there. 6:52PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 17-17 Isner* (*next server) Anderson holds to love, as the court coverers start to gather. We continue for now. Hopefully the shower will pass. 6:50PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 16-17 Isner (*next server) Still no immediate end in sight as Isner holds to 15. Play can go on until 11pm tonight. Will it end before then? And it's started to rain! On we go for the moment but it's definitely spitting. 6:47PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 16-16 Isner* (*next server) Two aces and a service winner from Anderson seals a very impressive hold. He's kept his level superbly this set. So has Isner in the main to be fair. Of all Wimbledon matches ever, only Isner v Mahut has ever lasted longer than this. Kevin Anderson vs John Isner. Officially the second longest singles match in Championships history.#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/fGGHRQaqz7— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 6:44PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 15-16 Isner (*next server) Isner nets a backhand for 0-15, and Anderson is close to 0-30 but he pulls a backhand just wide. Instead it's 15-15, and buoyed by the reprieve Isner holds to 30. 6:41PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 15-15 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is so on top at the moment in general play but he just can't get the break. He holds to 30 here having sped to 40-0. It is 15-15. 6:36PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 14-15 Isner (*next server) An ace and a forehand winner take Isner to a hold to 15. We're almost at 15-15 in games, which I always find amusing. It's the little things in life. Credit: AFP 6:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 14-14 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks knackered as he fails painfully to get to a low backhand. Anderson holds to 15. On we go. It feels like about a year since this match started. 6:30PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 13-14 Isner (*next server) "Come on guys, we want to see Rafa!" someone screams from the crowd. But the wait continues as Isner holds to 30. 6:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 13-13 Isner* (*next server) Anderson certainly looks the fresher of the two but Isner knows he's so close now to the final. Anderson keeps him at arm's length with a hold to 15 - sealed with consecutive aces out wide. Credit: REUTERS 6:23PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 12-13 Isner (*next server) A missed Isner backhand has us at 15-15, but any hopes of a break are dashed in the next few points as Isner holds to 30 with a clinical forehand winner. 6:20PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 12-12 Isner* (*next server) Still Anderson continues to serve accurately. He hasn't faced a break point in this final set, and races to 40-0 here. A forehand winner secures the hold to 15. We've been playing 5hr 9 min. 6:15PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 11-12 Isner (*next server) A blessedly straightforward hold for Isner after those recent struggles. He holds to love here. 6:14PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 11-11 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks pumped up, especially after Anderson nets a forehand volley for 0-15. Anderson responds in style again and holds to 15 after reeling off the next four points. Will this ever end? Credit: Getty Images 6:10PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 10-11 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds It's 0-30 again as Anderson whips away a forehand winner. Can Isner pull himself up from the canvas again? An ace out wide and a forehand winner make it 30-30. But a fizzing low return brings up a break point for Anderson at 30-40. He gets a look at it but miscues a backhand pass well long. Isner then bangs down an ace and heroically chases down a drop shot to seal the game. His momentum takes him into his chair for the change of ends. That was spectacular. 6:04PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 10-10 Isner* (*next server) Now it's Isner who can sniff a break, after he sends a forehand perfectly onto the baseline for 0-15. Anderson responds well though and reels off the next three points for 40-15. He eventually holds for 40-30. 5:59PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 9-10 Isner (*next server) Isner misses two forehands and it's 0-30! It's then heart in mouth time for Isner but he just clears the net with a low volley for 15-30. He then repeats the trick for 30-30 after Anderson stretched every sinew to retrieve a forehand. An ace makes it 40-30 and a volley winner completes the hold. 5:55PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 9-9 Isner* (*next server) Crazy how fresh Anderson looks given his previous matches lasted almost eight hours, and he's played nigh on five hours here. Anderson races to 40-15, but Isner is two points away from the final at deuce as Anderson sends a backhand wide at the end of a rare long rally. Anderson responds in style, with an ace and service winner to complete the hold. Credit: REUTERS 5:48PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 8-9 Isner (*next server) The players are wearying but no-one can get the break. Isner holds to 15 and the pressure swings right back to Anderson. 5:45PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 8-8 Isner* (*next server) After the drama of the last game, Anderson holds to love - sealed with an ace out wide. On we go. 5:43PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 7-8 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds Big chance here for Anderson. Isner sends a lunging volley long and Anderson's up 0-30. A hush fills Centre Court. A stupendous low volley from Isner makes it 15-30, before an ace down the T has us at 30-30. But a stinging Anderson return brings up a break point at 30-40. Isner of course saves it with an ace. Two crushing serves follow, and Isner holds. He screams "that's it!" in celebration. 5:36PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 7-7 Isner* (*next server) No dramas for Big Kev as an inside-in forehand winner seals a hold to love. Credit: REUTERS 5:33PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 6-7 Isner (*next server) An effective serve-volley play helps Isner to a hold to 15. No break points yet this set. 5:30PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 6-6 Isner* (*next server) Anderson nets a backhand. It's 0-15. Isner is three points from the final. Make that two points, as Isner smokes a forehand up the line for 15-30. Isner then sends a pair of backhands long and it's 40-30. Anderson seals the hold with a bullet serve out wide. No final set tie-breaker remember so on we go. Meanwhile... The Telegraph Sports desk has had their say on Anderson vs Isner Who will come out on top in this five set thriller, and what will the score be? @TelegraphSport#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/C3RzGzHubd— Jamie Johnson (@JamieoJohnson) July 13, 2018 5:26PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 5-6 Isner (*next server) Stinging Anderson forehand return winner has us at 15-15. In the context of the match so far, this is a chance! Isner responds well with a couple of banging serves for 40-15, and he eventually holds to 30. Anderson will serve to stay in the match for a second time. I'm going to stop writing that from here on in as he will be serving to stay in the match on every service game. 5:22PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 5-5 Isner* (*next server) Isner gets a look a couple of returns but he's a little flat footed and Anderson holds to 15. A reminder from Greg below that there's no tie-break on the final set at Wimbledon. US Open is the only grand slam where there is one. I think there should be tiebreakers in the final set at all Grand Slams as it creates more drama and allows players to recover better. Are we going to beat Isner vs Mahut record today with Anderson vs Isner Wimbledon semi?— Greg Rusedski (@GregRusedski1) July 13, 2018 5:18PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 4-5 Isner (*next server) Isner is still being bothered by that blister on his right hand. He holds to 15 and prior to the final point of the game calls for the trainer. Anderson will serve to stay in the match. 5:16PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) No let up from Anderson, who holds assertively to love. Meanwhile a word of encouragement for Isner from the last American man to reach a grand slam final. Come on John— andyroddick (@andyroddick) July 13, 2018 5:13PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 3-4 Isner (*next server) The worry is that as the players get progressively more tired they struggle even more to return. Speaking of which, Isner bangs down an ace - his 200th of the tournament - to wrap up a simple hold to 15. Credit: AP 5:11PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) Isner's won all five of the last meetings between these two. Will that mean anything as we enter the home straight? I suspect not a huge amount. Anderson holds to love as the match clock ticks into its fifth hour. 5:07PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 2-3 Isner (*next server) You've got to credit these guys, they've kept a very high level throughout. Isner sends down a couple of heat-seeking missile-like serves on his way to a breezy hold to 15. 5:04PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Isner hasn't been a break up at any point this match. It's a sequence that continues here as Anderson holds to 15. 5:01PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Isner bangs down three aces to take his tally to 39 and complete the hold. Credit: REUTERS 5:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Anderson looks fresher now than he did half an hour ago and holds easily to 15. 4:56PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 0-1 Isner (*next server) Isner picks himself up and holds to love. We've been playing 3hr 45 min. 4:53PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4 Isner* (*next server) - Fourth set Anderson! Can Anderson finally consolidate a break and in so doing take us into a deciding set? An ace takes Anderson to three set points at 40-0. Isner saves the first two with blistering returns, and the third with a howitzer of a forehand. This is insane! Anderson then earns a fourth set point with a smash, and he takes this one when Isner nets a return! We're heading for a final set. There'll be no tie-breaker remember so we could be here all night. Djokovic and Nadal continue to wait... Marathon men...@KAndersonATP wins the fourth set 6-4 against John Isner and the battle for a place in the #Wimbledon final goes all the way... pic.twitter.com/MagHg8E5zo— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 4:47PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 5-4 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Isner nets a half-volley and then does likewise on a backhand to gift Anderson a break point at 30-40. Anderson takes it with a backhand pass that flies past his opponent. Unbelievable. Anderson, who is breathing a little heavily now, will serve to take us into a fifth set. 4:43PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) Some normality restored as Anderson holds to love. On we go... Credit: Reuters 4:40PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-4 Isner (*next server) Isner double faults for 30-30. Surely not a third consecutive break in a row? No. Isner slams down a big serve and is then relieved as Anderson misses an easy backhand pass. 4:37PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) - Isner breaks back! The last time he broke Anderson was broken back immediately. Can he consolidate it this time? Possibly not, because Isner has rolled a forehand pass down the line for 15-30. It's then break back point for Isner as Anderson pushes a backhand pass long to make it 30-40. And Isner gets the instant break back again! This time with a backhand pass up the line. Neither man can quite believe it. 4:33PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-2 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Really good backhand pass on the run from Anderson gets him to 40-30, and an even better backhand return winner has us at deuce. Isner then gets a time violation warning before the next serve, and would you believe it Anderson flicks away another return winner to bring up a break point! Can he take it? Yes, he can! A fourth consecutive sensational shot from Anderson forces Isner into missing a half-volley, and out of nowhere he has the break. That was unreal returning from Anderson. Credit: PA 4:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Anderson regroups and holds comfortably to 15. Are we heading for another tie-break? 4:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Isner's on a groove on his serve and holds to love. With Isner serving first, he pressure will be on Anderson throughout this set. 4:21PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Isner is bouncing around the court, looking for the early kill at the start of the fourth set. But Anderson clings on and holds to 30. Credit: AP 4:17PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 0-1 Isner (*next server) Love hold from Isner to kick off the fourth set. 4:16PM Anderson's back out What must be going through his mind. He served for the third set and had a sitter to go up 40-15 in that game. He then double faulted when up set point in the breaker. How will he respond? 4:11PM Medical time out Anderson has left the court to receive treatment. 4:09PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7 Isner* (*next server) - Third set Isner Anderson pushes a forehand wide and that's the set for Isner. He takes the tie-break 11-9. After almost three hours Isner leads two sets to one. Anderson served for the set and had two set points, but he has it all to do now. Credit: REUTERS 4:08PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 9-10 Isner Anderson nets a backhand return and it's set point #3 for Isner. 4:07PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 9-9 Isner* A huge 136mph ace out wide saves it. The players change ends again. 4:06PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 9-8 Isner* An ace down the T makes it set point Anderson. Oh no it doesn't - Isner challenges and Hawk-Eye shows the ball to be out. A forehand winner does then make it set point Anderson #2. 4:05PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 8-8 Isner Oh dear, Anderson has double faulted! On we go. 4:04PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 8-7 Isner It's set point Anderson! He guides a backhand pass up the line, and will have this set point on his own serve. 4:04PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 7-7 Isner* Anderson saves it with a brilliant forehand pass! Wow, what a shot that was under immense pressure. 4:03PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 6-7 Isner* Anderson sends a forehand long and it's set point Isner. The American has this one on his own serve... 4:02PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 6-6 Isner Isner can't return a big serve down the T and Anderson clings on. 4:01PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 5-6 Isner Isner then produces another wondrous low volley to earn himself a set point. The crowd loved that. What a couple of points. 4:00PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 5-5 Isner* Sensational low pick-up from Isner levels the breaker up. 3:59PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 5-4 Isner* Service winner puts Anderson in front. Blimey, this is tense. 3:59PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 4-4 Isner Isner gets the mini-break with a forehand down the line. Anderson again could have done more with his forehand the shot before. 3:58PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 4-3 Isner Anderson guides a backhand down the line to secure the mini-break. Huge roar from the crowd. 3:57PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 3-3 Isner* An Isner ace down the T ensures the players are level at the change of ends. 3:56PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 2-3 Isner* Service winner puts Anderson in front. 3:55PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 2-2 Isner Forehand winner from Anderson levels things up. 3:55PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 1-2 Isner Stunning Anderson forehand winner return gets the mini-break back. That's the shot of the match so far. 3:54PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 0-2 Isner* An ace down the T doubles Isner's lead. 3:54PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 0-1 Isner* Anderson completely miscues a forehand, and it's an instant mini-break for Isner. 3:53PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-6 Isner (*next server) - third set tie-break Tense moments for Isner as he misses a forehand and double faults for 30-30. Anderson is two points from the set. Isner responds with his hardest serve of the match - a 142mph bomb for 40-30. An ace down the T then wraps up the game. We're into a third set tie-break. 3:49PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-5 Isner* (*next server) A love hold for Anderson. How he could have done with that a couple of games ago. Isner gets some more tape for the blister on his right hand. Once he's patched up he'll serve to stay in the third set for a second time. Credit: PA 3:46PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 5-5 Isner (*next server) Isner looks seriously pumped. He flicks away two neat volleys for 30-0, before two aces help him to a hold to 15. We're back on serve in the third set. 3:43PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 5-4 Isner* (*next server) - Isner breaks back! Imagine if after that Anderson got broken now. It could just happen. He makes a mess of an easy forehand, allowing Isner to guide a backhand pass down the line for 30-30. And then a long backhand from Anderson gives Isner a break back point at 30-40. And he takes it! Anderson nets an attempted forehand pass and we're back on serve. I do not believe that. Anderson missed a glorious chance to go up 40-15, and how he might regret losing his serve there. 3:39PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 5-3 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Isner's been on top this set but Anderson thumps a forehand up the line for 0-15. Isner then nets a forehand and it's 15-30. Chance here for Anderson. Big chance now, as Isner sends a forehand wide! It's two break points for Anderson at 15-40. Will Isner finally be broken at this year's Wimbledon? Yes! At last, Isner drops his serve. It's a brilliant Anderson backhand return that leaves Isner sprawling at the net. After 110 straight service holds this tournament, Isner is finally broken. Anderson will serve for the third set. Credit: Getty Images 3:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 4-3 Isner* (*next server) Isner again has a sniff by winning the first point of an Anderson service game, but Big Kev steels himself once more and holds to 30. 3:31PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 3-3 Isner (*next server) Another excellent half-volley pick-up from Isner helps him on his way to a hold to 15. 3:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 3-2 Isner* (*next server) A booming ace down the T secures a hold to 15 for Anderson. At the last change of ends it looked as though the umpire had a word with Isner about receiving coaching from his box. Isner angrily refutes the suggestion. 3:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 2-2 Isner (*next server) No such issues on the Isner serve as he holds to love. Credit: REUTERS 3:20PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 2-1 Isner* (*next server) First opening that Isner has had on the Anderson serve for an absolute age, as the South African nets a forehand for 15-30. Isner has a good chance at two break points but he nets a forehand off an Anderson second serve to make it 30-30. Isner then overhits a return for 40-30. A relieved Anderson screams "yes!" in celebration, and then thwacks away a forehand winner to complete the hold. A big opportunity missed for Isner. 3:17PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 1-1 Isner (*next server) Beautiful pick-up from Isner secures a hold to 15. He hit that from absolute no-man's land between the baseline and service line. Ridiculous stat below by the way... Kevin Anderson hit one unforced error in the last set and lost it.— Tumaini Carayol (@tumcarayol) July 13, 2018 3:14PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 1-0 Isner* (*next server) Anderson holds to love in the blink of an eye. Who's going to crack here? No breaks of serve all match remember. Credit: BBC 3:10PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7 Isner (*next server) - Second set Isner Isner sends an ace flying screaming down the T and he lets out a huge roar in celebration after winning the tie-break 7-5. It's one-set all after exactly two hours. Djokovic and Nadal could be waiting a while longer... Credit: REUTERS 3:08PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 5-6 Isner* Isner nets a forehand so on we go. The third set point though will be on the Isner serve...what have you got big John? 3:07PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 4-6 Isner Anderson saves the first set point with an ace out wide. 3:07PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 3-6 Isner Service winner brings up three set points for Isner. 3:06PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 3-5 Isner* Anderson gets one of the mini-breaks back with a backhand winner. Isner had thought he was 6-2 up but a Hawk-Eye challenge showed his serve to be out. 3:05PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 2-5 Isner* Another ace down the T reduces the deficit. 3:04PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 1-5 Isner An ace down the T gets Anderson off the mark. 3:03PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-5 Isner Unreturned serve extends Isner's lead. 3:03PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 0-4 Isner* A serve-volley play ends in an easy smash for Isner. He's running away with this. 3:02PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 0-3 Isner* Wow, another stunning return sets Isner up for an easy forehand put-away. He's two mini-breaks to the good. 3:01PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-2 Isner Blistering service return secures an instant mini-break for Isner. 3:01PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-1 Isner Unreturnable serve seals the first point of the breaker for Isner. 3:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-6 Isner* (*next server) - Second set tie-break Isner punches away a volley for 0-15, but Anderson rolls off a few forehand winners and eventually holds to 30. We're into a second set tie-break. 2:55PM Anderson* 7-6, 5-6 Isner (*next server) Isner looks a little tired all of a sudden as Anderson cranks up the power to move to 30-30 again. But Isner responds in style, thwacking down two service winners to hold to 30. Anderson will serve to stay in the second set for a second time. 2:51PM Anderson 7-6, 5-5 Isner* (*next server) Anderson brushes off the disappointment of not taking that break point and holds to 15. After Isner shaded the first set performance-wise, Anderson's been the stronger player in the second. Credit: AFP 2:48PM Anderson* 7-6, 4-5 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds Well, well, what have we here ? Isner pushes a volley wide and it's 30-30. Make that 30-40 and break point Anderson after another brilliant forehand winner! Can he take it? No, Isner saves it with a punched volley. How do you break this guy?! Isner then claims the next two points and that's 106 service holds in a row at this year's Wimbledon. Had Anderson broken there he would have been serving for a two-sets lead. 2:43PM Anderson 7-6, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) Anderson responds with a love hold of his own. Can we just play the tie-break now? (Tie-breaks at 3-3 was incidentally one of the rule changes experiments with at the ATP Next Gen Finals last year). 2:40PM Anderson* 7-6, 3-4 Isner (*next server) Aaaand it's a love hold for Isner, who hasn't dropped his serve all tournament. Credit: AFP 2:38PM Anderson 7-6, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is hitting his forehand sensationally well today, snaring Isner with another crosscourt pass for 30-0. A couple of points later he completes a love hold. It feels at the moment as if we're heading inexorably for another tie-break. 2:34PM Anderson* 7-6, 2-3 Isner (*next server) Beautiful rolled forehand pass from Anderson has the Centre Court crowd in raptures. Isner reels off the next three points to go up 40-15, but a couple of excellent Anderson returns have us at deuce. Only the second time Isner's been taken to deuce today. He fends off the danger with two wicked second serves. We remain on serve, with neither player having dropped their serve so far this match. 2:29PM Anderson 7-6, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Yeah no sign of a break at the moment. Anderson holds to 15 with an 11th ace. Isner is fine to continue. 2:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Impressive game from Isner, who hits a lovely curling forehand winner on his way to a hold to love. It feels like both players are getting into ominous rhythms on their serve. Isner is getting treatement for a blister on his racket hand. Please don't let this end like Cilic's blister-induced tears in last year's final. Credit: REUTERS 2:23PM Anderson 7-6, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Isner's swinging pretty wildly and he misses a couple of backhands to help Anderson to a hold to 15. 2:18PM Anderson* 7-6, 0-1 Isner (*next server) That was a really high-level first set, so much more than just big serving. Isner started much the better and missed three break points, as well as a set point, but he'll have to put that disappointment quickly behind him. He certainly does that this game, banging down three consecutive aces in a confident hold to love. 2:15PM Anderson 7-6 Isner* (*next server) - First set Anderson A long, tense rally goes Anderson's way as Isner nets a forehand. First set Anderson. Anderson wins the tie-break 8-6, and after 63 minutes is a set to the good. Credit: Getty Images 2:13PM First set tie-break: Anderson 7-6 Isner* Isner nets a makeable backhand and it's set point Anderson. 2:12PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 6-6 Isner Well played Anderson. He hits a few nerveless forehands and saves the set point with a smash. 2:11PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 5-6 Isner A 139mph ace makes it set point Isner. 2:10PM First set tie-break: Anderson 5-5 Isner* Service winner levels things up. The next point will be a set point for one of these two... 2:09PM First set tie-break: Anderson 5-4 Isner* Brilliant low volley from Anderson makes it three points in a row for the South African. 2:08PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 4-4 Isner Anderson smash levels things up. 2:08PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 3-4 Isner What a shot! Anderson claims the mini-break back with a sensational forehand passing shot on the run. We're back on serve. 2:07PM First set tie-break: Anderson 2-4 Isner* Isner ensures he's ahead at the change of ends with a clever body serve. 2:06PM First set tie-break: Anderson 2-3 Isner* Anderson service winner reduces the deficit. 2:05PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 1-3 Isner Brilliant Isner forehand winner secures him the early mini-break. What a shot. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 1-2 Isner Isner ace gets his nose in front. No mini-breaks so far. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson 1-1 Isner* Isner levels up with a forehand volley winner. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson 1-0 Isner* Anderson forehand winner gets him the first point. 2:03PM Anderson* 6-6 Isner (*next server) - Tie-break Isner's eighth ace secures a hold to 15 and takes us into a first set tie-break. Anderson to serve first in the breaker. How's your nerve lads? 1:59PM Anderson 6-5 Isner* (*next server) Love hold for Anderson, sealed with a nifty volley. Isner will serve to stay in the first set for a second time. It's been an interesting, high-quality match so far. Anybody who thinks Isner vs Anderson is just a match between towering servebots has not been watching the match and definitely was not watching the 3d game— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) July 13, 2018 1:56PM Anderson* 5-5 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a set point and holds An awkward low return from Anderson draws a missed volley from Isner for 0-15. Isner responds with a 126 mph second serve for 15-15, but he then nets a backhand and it's 15-30 - Anderson is two points from the set. A booming serve out wide has us at 30-30, before a double fault gives Anderson a set point at 30-40! Can he take this precious opportunity? Isner has held all 99 of his previous service games at this tournament. And he clings on here with a gutsy second serve that completely jams Anderson. An ace and a service winner follow to make it 100 out of 100 service holds this tournament. Nothing Anderson could have done there, but what a huge moment that might prove to be. Make that 100 consecutive service games unbroken for @JohnIsner at #Wimbledon ���� pic.twitter.com/UK9gBlNMkh— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 1:50PM Anderson 5-4 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks a little sluggish as he fails to chase down a drop shot. Anderson then runs away with the game and holds to love. Isner will serve to stay in the first set. 1:48PM Anderson* 4-4 Isner (*next server) Two aces from Isner level the ace count at six apiece and the set at four-games all. Business end of the set incoming... 1:45PM Anderson 4-3 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is trying to mix up his serves by not solely targetting the Isner backhand. It makes sense to try and avoid being too predictable, but Isner is getting a lot of joy from thumping forehand returns. Anderson eventually holds to 15 here, as two more aces take his tally so far to six. Credit: Getty Images 1:42PM Anderson* 3-3 Isner (*next server) Anderson's last two matches have taken a combined time of nearly eight hours, so you'd expect he might have a few aching limbs. Isner is definitely leading this match 'on points' to use the boxing term. He's been by far the stronger player and slams down two aces to hold to 15. 1:39PM Anderson 3-2 Isner* (*next server) Isner is being so aggressive on his returns and is getting a good read on the Anderson serve. A couple of errors though help Anderson to a hold to 15. Anderson meanwhile has called for the trainer to deliver him a banana and a few pills. Oh dear, hopefully it's nothing serious. 1:35PM Anderson* 2-2 Isner (*next server) No mental let-down from Isner after missing those break points. An ace down the T seals a holds to 30, having raced to 40-0 up. Credit: REUTERS 1:30PM Anderson 2-1 Isner* (*next server) - Anderson saves three break points and holds Oooh, a rally of almost 10 shots breaks out which ends with Anderson netting a backhand for 30-30. Half a chance this for Isner. Anderson hits a brilliant forehand to go up 40-30, but Isner responds with one of his own for deuce. Isner then forces a break point (practically a set point?) with another huge forehand. He's absolutely nailing that shot at the moment. But he snatches at the break point by sending a forehand skidding long. Huge chance missed there. But another one presents itself straight away, as Isner absolutely smokes another forehand winner. Anderson saves this one too when a backhand kicks off the baseline and flummoxes his opponent. Moments later, Isner earns a third break point with a brilliant forehand return. And what a chance that is! But Isner misses a sitter of a volley and it's back to deuce. Blimey that looked all the world like being the break. John McEnroe says in commentary that this is the finest returning game he's ever seen Isner play. Anderson then misses a few chances of his own to win the game, as Isner continues to strike the ball beautifully off both wings. Anderson eventually holds after a game that lasts 13 minutes. He puffs his cheeks out in relief. Isner looks extremely sharp in these opening exchanges, but that's a big chance missed. 1:16PM Anderson* 1-1 Isner (*next server) Anderson gets to 15-0 with a flicked forehand pass. Isner reels off the next four points to claim the hold. 1:13PM Anderson 1-0 Isner* (*next server) Double fault and an ace to kick us off. Another ace helps Anderson to a hold to 15. 1:10PM Ready? Play Anderson won the toss and will serve first. A place in the #Wimbledon final awaits for one of @KAndersonATP and @JohnIsner… Follow it live �� �� https://t.co/N05LMuoUDMpic.twitter.com/QL51Ptc6GA— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 1:06PM They're knocking up Practising serves. Not sure you really need to lads. 1:02PM Players are out Isner hasn't dropped his serve this tournament, and has only faced seven break points. But amazingly this is his first match on Centre Court. The players step on to the court to warm applause from the crowd. 12:58PM What's it like facing Isner's serve? Simon Briggs went to find out. 12:44PM Ace, ace, ace Expect tie-breaks and very few rallies and service breaks this afternoon. As John Isner said yesterday: "When I say 'big points' I'm talking about break points for me, which are essentially set points". We all remember his 70-68 fifth set against Nicolas Mahut here eight years ago. Credit: Getty Images 12:08PM Land of the giants Back in 2004 fellow college freshmen John Isner and Kevin Anderson stepped onto court to play one another in an inter-university match. Isner was representing the university of Georgia, while Anderson was at the university of Illinois. Isner won the match, and now 14 years on here they both are on Centre Court, competing for a place in the Wimbledon final. Their paths have crossed many times in between - they met again in the 2007 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship match and have competed against each other 11 times as pros - but never on a stage as grand as this. "There could be a little mental aspect in our match," Isner said on Wednesday. "I say that because our rivalry, what have you, goes back way before the pro tour. We played each other in college probably three, four, five times. We played each other a bunch on the pro tour. "We've been lined up against each other for about 14 years now, because he left Illinois when I left Georgia. We've been doing it ever since. Credit: REUTERS "For me this matchup, and I think for him as well, is especially cool. It's a very nice spotlight on college tennis, that one of us, no matter what, is going to be playing in the Wimbledon final. We're duking it out in the semifinals. Two of us went to college, did it a little bit different route. It's pretty cool." As well as a shared history, Isner, 33 and Anderson, 32 have a lot else in common. They are both physical giants (Isner is 6ft 10in, Anderson is 6ft 8in) and possess among the finest serves in the game. They were also both viewed as underachievers until recently, with Isner winning a first Masters title in Miami in March and Anderson reaching the US Open final last year. This is the first time in the Wimbledon semis for both, and Isner leads the head to head 8-3. Credit: AP Isner - a proud Republican from North Carolina - has made the bigger noise of the two off the court this tournament when he said on Monday: "I'd love to have Trump watch me. That would be awesome.” Anderson though has received more plaudits for his on-court achievements, having become only the second man ever to beat Roger Federer from two sets down. Expect plenty of aces and very few rallies today in what promises to be an extremely close match. Personally I expect Isner to just have the edge.
Kevin Anderson defeats John Isner, in second-longest Wimbledon match of all time to reach final
Wimbledon’s marathon man John Isner was at it again, but this time he was outlasted by Kevin Anderson in an extraordinary 6hr 36min semi-final, the third-longest singles match in history. It was going to take something special to separate these gladiators as they went ace for ace and blow for blow. With the light starting to fade close to 8pm, the saga duly got the ending that it deserved. In the 49th game of the fifth set and at love-15 up, Anderson slipped at the back of the court. He fell to the ground, so did his racket, but when Isner put his return into the centre of the court, Anderson got off the canvas like Rocky, picked up his racket left-handed and got his forehand back into play to win the point. Hollywood eat your heart out. For the fourth consecutive Isner service game, Anderson was love-30 up. On every previous occasion, Isner’s blunderbuss serve, which peaked at 142mph, had come to his rescue. Not this time. A second serve was the chance that Anderson had been waiting for and he hit a forehand winner to engineer three break points. Isner had saved four previous break points in this marathon final set, which was approaching the three-hour mark. Each time he produced an ace to save his skin. The fifth was saved with a serve and volley, but he could not repeat the trick, at 15-40 putting a backhand into the net. The crowd celebrated raucously, as much with relief than anything else, but the job was not yet done and Anderson had to serve out the match. What must have been going through the 32-year-old’s head? On two of the three games that he had broken Isner, the American had broken straight back. This time he held his nerve as Isner put a forehand into the tramlines. There were no wild celebrations from Anderson despite becoming the first South African man in 97 years to reach a Wimbledon final, in part because of exhaustion, in part in sympathy for his vanquished foe who he first played on the American college circuit 14 years ago. Anderson prevails at last by winning the 99th game of the semi-final Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images “Coming through that match, obviously I’m ecstatic to be through to the finals.” Anderson said. “At the same time, you know, you feel like it should be a draw. But somebody has to win.” Eight years ago, Isner took part in the longest match in history in his 11hrs 5ms conquest of Nicolas Mahut. The 33-year-old has repeatedly said that he did not want his career be defined by that match. Fate obviously has a sick sense of humour. The Donald Trump supporter will have to wait to make American men’s tennis great again with Andy Roddick, their last male representative to reached a grand slam final nine years ago. “I feel pretty terrible,” Isner said. My left heel is killing me. I have an awful blister on my right foot. It stinks to lose, but I gave it everything I had out there. I just lost to someone who is a little bit better at the end.” Anderson’s victory is even more remarkable when you consider that in the last 16 he went three and a half hours against Gaël Monfils in the last 16 and then became only the fifth man to come from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in a four-hour plus quarter-final. We all thought he would have nothing left. How wrong we were. “You’re really in a war of attrition out there,” Anderson said. “It’s way beyond a normal tennis match or tactics. I mean, it’s just who’s going to, you know, outlast each other.” "Anderson vs Isner, a Wimbledon classic - you better believe it" A Centre Court epic ends with @KAndersonATP going through to the #Wimbledon final, beating John Isner 7-6(6), 6-7(5), 6-7(9), 6-4, 26-24 pic.twitter.com/Fv4ww2cEzK— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 That a match between the tournament’s two leading severs went to five sets was no surprise. To paraphrase Guns n’ Roses, “Take me down to tiebreak city, where the grass is green and the serves aren’t pretty.” Yet as the match progress and each man’s serve lost its rapier edge and the rallies went to script. The first three sets went according to script, although how different might the contest have been had Isner seized one of three break points in Anderson’s second service game? Anderson took the first tiebreak and double-faulted on set point in the second which allowed his opponent to draw level. Business started picking up in the third set when Isner, after winning 110 consecutive service games at this tournament, was finally broken. Almost inevitably, Isner broke back straight away as if he was righting a cosmetic imbalance. Health of players at risk The third-set tie-break was a classic bit of psychological theatre. Each man traded mini-breaks and lost set-point opportunities, notably when Anderson double-faulted at 8-7. When Anderson sent a forehand into the tramlines, Isner looked too shocked to celebrate. Showing some incredible reflexes, Anderson broke in the fourth game of the fourth set. Like night follows day, Isner broke straight back only to go love-40 down in his very next service game and this time Anderson held his nerve to take it to a fifth set that even Tolstoy would have considered overblown. 7:59PM A word for the vanquished "At the end you feel like it’s a draw, but someone has to win. John is a great guy and I really feel for him" - @KAndersonATP#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/SHU5fVNUc9— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 7:51PM Big Kev is through Anderson looks completely frazzled and the first thing he does is express his sympathy for his opponent: "I don't know how you can take playing for that long and not coming out on the winning side." 7:48PM Game, set and match! Anderson defeats Isner 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 26-24 An ace takes Anderson to 30-15. He exhales meaningfully. Isner then sends a return long and it's two match points at 40-15. And that's it! Isner pushes a forehand wide, and finally, finally it's over. Kevin Anderson is through to the Wimbledon final after 6hr 35min. 7:43PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 25-24 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Anderson falls to the floor, drops his racket and picks it up to play left-handed. And he wins the point to make it 0-30 again! That was insane! Anderson then spins away a forehand winner and it's three break points at 0-40. Surely, surely he has to take one of these?! Yes he does! Isner nets a backhand on the second one and Anderson will serve for the match! Oh my word, if Anderson gets broken here! Credit: PA 7:40PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 24-24 Isner* (*next server) Isner has not had a single break point all set, and Anderson holds again to love. 7:37PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 23-24 Isner (*next server) Right, is this it. Isner puts a tired forehand into the net and it's 0-30 again. But once again Isner bangs down a flurry of big serves and holds to 30. Isner's won enough games this set to have won four sets. 7:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 23-23 Isner* (*next server) Love hold for Anderson. What on earth must Nadal and Djokovic, who follow this match, be thinking? 7:30PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 22-23 Isner (*next server) It's another chance for Anderson, as he caresses a backhand down the line for 0-30. An ace and a missed Anderson backhand make it 30-30. Isner then flicks away a forehand for 40-30 before a missed Anderson forehand seals the hold. Credit: REUTERS 7:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 22-22 Isner* (*next server) Isner has the tiniest glimmer of a break at 15-15. Anderson slams the door shut and holds to 15. 7:23PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 21-22 Isner (*next server) Here we go again. Isner misses a forehand for 0-30 but responds with two big serves for 30-30. Anderson then duffs an easy backhand to make it 30-40, before Isner returns the favour with a netted volley for deuce. Isner desperately retrieves a low forehand and then punches away a volley to complete the hold. 7:19PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 21-21 Isner* (*next server) Isner receives rapturous applause at each of the points he wins this game, but Anderson emerges with a hold to 30. 7:14PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 20-21 Isner (*next server) Anderson sprays a forehand just wide and Isner holds on to 15. Credit: REUTERS 7:12PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 20-20 Isner* (*next server) Anderson responds with a hold to love. Genuinely starting to wonder if this will ever end. 7:12PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 19-20 Isner (*next server) No sniff for Anderson this game as Isner holds to 15. 7:07PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 19-19 Isner* (*next server) Anderson guides a backhand beautifully down the line to complete a hold to 15. For a moment at 15-15, Isner dared to ream. 7:03PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 18-19 Isner (*next server) Isner endures a shaky moment as he allows Anderson back in the game at 40-30 from 40-0, but he forces Anderson to miss a backhand and holds on. 7:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 18-18 Isner* (*next server) This set began at 4.45. Anderson holds to love, and is yet to face a break point in this final set. Credit: Getty Images 6:58PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 17-18 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves two break points and holds Isner misses a forehand for 15-30, and another forehand flies wide for 15-40 - two break points. Isner saves the first with an ace out wide. And indeed the second with an ace down the T. A service winner makes it advantage Isner, and he digs out the hold with a backhand pass. Nothing Anderson could have done there. 6:52PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 17-17 Isner* (*next server) Anderson holds to love, as the court coverers start to gather. We continue for now. Hopefully the shower will pass. 6:50PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 16-17 Isner (*next server) Still no immediate end in sight as Isner holds to 15. Play can go on until 11pm tonight. Will it end before then? And it's started to rain! On we go for the moment but it's definitely spitting. 6:47PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 16-16 Isner* (*next server) Two aces and a service winner from Anderson seals a very impressive hold. He's kept his level superbly this set. So has Isner in the main to be fair. Of all Wimbledon matches ever, only Isner v Mahut has ever lasted longer than this. Kevin Anderson vs John Isner. Officially the second longest singles match in Championships history.#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/fGGHRQaqz7— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 6:44PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 15-16 Isner (*next server) Isner nets a backhand for 0-15, and Anderson is close to 0-30 but he pulls a backhand just wide. Instead it's 15-15, and buoyed by the reprieve Isner holds to 30. 6:41PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 15-15 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is so on top at the moment in general play but he just can't get the break. He holds to 30 here having sped to 40-0. It is 15-15. 6:36PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 14-15 Isner (*next server) An ace and a forehand winner take Isner to a hold to 15. We're almost at 15-15 in games, which I always find amusing. It's the little things in life. Credit: AFP 6:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 14-14 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks knackered as he fails painfully to get to a low backhand. Anderson holds to 15. On we go. It feels like about a year since this match started. 6:30PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 13-14 Isner (*next server) "Come on guys, we want to see Rafa!" someone screams from the crowd. But the wait continues as Isner holds to 30. 6:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 13-13 Isner* (*next server) Anderson certainly looks the fresher of the two but Isner knows he's so close now to the final. Anderson keeps him at arm's length with a hold to 15 - sealed with consecutive aces out wide. Credit: REUTERS 6:23PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 12-13 Isner (*next server) A missed Isner backhand has us at 15-15, but any hopes of a break are dashed in the next few points as Isner holds to 30 with a clinical forehand winner. 6:20PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 12-12 Isner* (*next server) Still Anderson continues to serve accurately. He hasn't faced a break point in this final set, and races to 40-0 here. A forehand winner secures the hold to 15. We've been playing 5hr 9 min. 6:15PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 11-12 Isner (*next server) A blessedly straightforward hold for Isner after those recent struggles. He holds to love here. 6:14PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 11-11 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks pumped up, especially after Anderson nets a forehand volley for 0-15. Anderson responds in style again and holds to 15 after reeling off the next four points. Will this ever end? Credit: Getty Images 6:10PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 10-11 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds It's 0-30 again as Anderson whips away a forehand winner. Can Isner pull himself up from the canvas again? An ace out wide and a forehand winner make it 30-30. But a fizzing low return brings up a break point for Anderson at 30-40. He gets a look at it but miscues a backhand pass well long. Isner then bangs down an ace and heroically chases down a drop shot to seal the game. His momentum takes him into his chair for the change of ends. That was spectacular. 6:04PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 10-10 Isner* (*next server) Now it's Isner who can sniff a break, after he sends a forehand perfectly onto the baseline for 0-15. Anderson responds well though and reels off the next three points for 40-15. He eventually holds for 40-30. 5:59PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 9-10 Isner (*next server) Isner misses two forehands and it's 0-30! It's then heart in mouth time for Isner but he just clears the net with a low volley for 15-30. He then repeats the trick for 30-30 after Anderson stretched every sinew to retrieve a forehand. An ace makes it 40-30 and a volley winner completes the hold. 5:55PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 9-9 Isner* (*next server) Crazy how fresh Anderson looks given his previous matches lasted almost eight hours, and he's played nigh on five hours here. Anderson races to 40-15, but Isner is two points away from the final at deuce as Anderson sends a backhand wide at the end of a rare long rally. Anderson responds in style, with an ace and service winner to complete the hold. Credit: REUTERS 5:48PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 8-9 Isner (*next server) The players are wearying but no-one can get the break. Isner holds to 15 and the pressure swings right back to Anderson. 5:45PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 8-8 Isner* (*next server) After the drama of the last game, Anderson holds to love - sealed with an ace out wide. On we go. 5:43PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 7-8 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds Big chance here for Anderson. Isner sends a lunging volley long and Anderson's up 0-30. A hush fills Centre Court. A stupendous low volley from Isner makes it 15-30, before an ace down the T has us at 30-30. But a stinging Anderson return brings up a break point at 30-40. Isner of course saves it with an ace. Two crushing serves follow, and Isner holds. He screams "that's it!" in celebration. 5:36PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 7-7 Isner* (*next server) No dramas for Big Kev as an inside-in forehand winner seals a hold to love. Credit: REUTERS 5:33PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 6-7 Isner (*next server) An effective serve-volley play helps Isner to a hold to 15. No break points yet this set. 5:30PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 6-6 Isner* (*next server) Anderson nets a backhand. It's 0-15. Isner is three points from the final. Make that two points, as Isner smokes a forehand up the line for 15-30. Isner then sends a pair of backhands long and it's 40-30. Anderson seals the hold with a bullet serve out wide. No final set tie-breaker remember so on we go. Meanwhile... The Telegraph Sports desk has had their say on Anderson vs Isner Who will come out on top in this five set thriller, and what will the score be? @TelegraphSport#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/C3RzGzHubd— Jamie Johnson (@JamieoJohnson) July 13, 2018 5:26PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 5-6 Isner (*next server) Stinging Anderson forehand return winner has us at 15-15. In the context of the match so far, this is a chance! Isner responds well with a couple of banging serves for 40-15, and he eventually holds to 30. Anderson will serve to stay in the match for a second time. I'm going to stop writing that from here on in as he will be serving to stay in the match on every service game. 5:22PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 5-5 Isner* (*next server) Isner gets a look a couple of returns but he's a little flat footed and Anderson holds to 15. A reminder from Greg below that there's no tie-break on the final set at Wimbledon. US Open is the only grand slam where there is one. I think there should be tiebreakers in the final set at all Grand Slams as it creates more drama and allows players to recover better. Are we going to beat Isner vs Mahut record today with Anderson vs Isner Wimbledon semi?— Greg Rusedski (@GregRusedski1) July 13, 2018 5:18PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 4-5 Isner (*next server) Isner is still being bothered by that blister on his right hand. He holds to 15 and prior to the final point of the game calls for the trainer. Anderson will serve to stay in the match. 5:16PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) No let up from Anderson, who holds assertively to love. Meanwhile a word of encouragement for Isner from the last American man to reach a grand slam final. Come on John— andyroddick (@andyroddick) July 13, 2018 5:13PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 3-4 Isner (*next server) The worry is that as the players get progressively more tired they struggle even more to return. Speaking of which, Isner bangs down an ace - his 200th of the tournament - to wrap up a simple hold to 15. Credit: AP 5:11PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) Isner's won all five of the last meetings between these two. Will that mean anything as we enter the home straight? I suspect not a huge amount. Anderson holds to love as the match clock ticks into its fifth hour. 5:07PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 2-3 Isner (*next server) You've got to credit these guys, they've kept a very high level throughout. Isner sends down a couple of heat-seeking missile-like serves on his way to a breezy hold to 15. 5:04PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Isner hasn't been a break up at any point this match. It's a sequence that continues here as Anderson holds to 15. 5:01PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Isner bangs down three aces to take his tally to 39 and complete the hold. Credit: REUTERS 5:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Anderson looks fresher now than he did half an hour ago and holds easily to 15. 4:56PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 0-1 Isner (*next server) Isner picks himself up and holds to love. We've been playing 3hr 45 min. 4:53PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4 Isner* (*next server) - Fourth set Anderson! Can Anderson finally consolidate a break and in so doing take us into a deciding set? An ace takes Anderson to three set points at 40-0. Isner saves the first two with blistering returns, and the third with a howitzer of a forehand. This is insane! Anderson then earns a fourth set point with a smash, and he takes this one when Isner nets a return! We're heading for a final set. There'll be no tie-breaker remember so we could be here all night. Djokovic and Nadal continue to wait... Marathon men...@KAndersonATP wins the fourth set 6-4 against John Isner and the battle for a place in the #Wimbledon final goes all the way... pic.twitter.com/MagHg8E5zo— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 4:47PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 5-4 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Isner nets a half-volley and then does likewise on a backhand to gift Anderson a break point at 30-40. Anderson takes it with a backhand pass that flies past his opponent. Unbelievable. Anderson, who is breathing a little heavily now, will serve to take us into a fifth set. 4:43PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) Some normality restored as Anderson holds to love. On we go... Credit: Reuters 4:40PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-4 Isner (*next server) Isner double faults for 30-30. Surely not a third consecutive break in a row? No. Isner slams down a big serve and is then relieved as Anderson misses an easy backhand pass. 4:37PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) - Isner breaks back! The last time he broke Anderson was broken back immediately. Can he consolidate it this time? Possibly not, because Isner has rolled a forehand pass down the line for 15-30. It's then break back point for Isner as Anderson pushes a backhand pass long to make it 30-40. And Isner gets the instant break back again! This time with a backhand pass up the line. Neither man can quite believe it. 4:33PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-2 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Really good backhand pass on the run from Anderson gets him to 40-30, and an even better backhand return winner has us at deuce. Isner then gets a time violation warning before the next serve, and would you believe it Anderson flicks away another return winner to bring up a break point! Can he take it? Yes, he can! A fourth consecutive sensational shot from Anderson forces Isner into missing a half-volley, and out of nowhere he has the break. That was unreal returning from Anderson. Credit: PA 4:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Anderson regroups and holds comfortably to 15. Are we heading for another tie-break? 4:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Isner's on a groove on his serve and holds to love. With Isner serving first, he pressure will be on Anderson throughout this set. 4:21PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Isner is bouncing around the court, looking for the early kill at the start of the fourth set. But Anderson clings on and holds to 30. Credit: AP 4:17PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 0-1 Isner (*next server) Love hold from Isner to kick off the fourth set. 4:16PM Anderson's back out What must be going through his mind. He served for the third set and had a sitter to go up 40-15 in that game. He then double faulted when up set point in the breaker. How will he respond? 4:11PM Medical time out Anderson has left the court to receive treatment. 4:09PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7 Isner* (*next server) - Third set Isner Anderson pushes a forehand wide and that's the set for Isner. He takes the tie-break 11-9. After almost three hours Isner leads two sets to one. Anderson served for the set and had two set points, but he has it all to do now. Credit: REUTERS 4:08PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 9-10 Isner Anderson nets a backhand return and it's set point #3 for Isner. 4:07PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 9-9 Isner* A huge 136mph ace out wide saves it. The players change ends again. 4:06PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 9-8 Isner* An ace down the T makes it set point Anderson. Oh no it doesn't - Isner challenges and Hawk-Eye shows the ball to be out. A forehand winner does then make it set point Anderson #2. 4:05PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 8-8 Isner Oh dear, Anderson has double faulted! On we go. 4:04PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 8-7 Isner It's set point Anderson! He guides a backhand pass up the line, and will have this set point on his own serve. 4:04PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 7-7 Isner* Anderson saves it with a brilliant forehand pass! Wow, what a shot that was under immense pressure. 4:03PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 6-7 Isner* Anderson sends a forehand long and it's set point Isner. The American has this one on his own serve... 4:02PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 6-6 Isner Isner can't return a big serve down the T and Anderson clings on. 4:01PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 5-6 Isner Isner then produces another wondrous low volley to earn himself a set point. The crowd loved that. What a couple of points. 4:00PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 5-5 Isner* Sensational low pick-up from Isner levels the breaker up. 3:59PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 5-4 Isner* Service winner puts Anderson in front. Blimey, this is tense. 3:59PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 4-4 Isner Isner gets the mini-break with a forehand down the line. Anderson again could have done more with his forehand the shot before. 3:58PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 4-3 Isner Anderson guides a backhand down the line to secure the mini-break. Huge roar from the crowd. 3:57PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 3-3 Isner* An Isner ace down the T ensures the players are level at the change of ends. 3:56PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 2-3 Isner* Service winner puts Anderson in front. 3:55PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 2-2 Isner Forehand winner from Anderson levels things up. 3:55PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 1-2 Isner Stunning Anderson forehand winner return gets the mini-break back. That's the shot of the match so far. 3:54PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 0-2 Isner* An ace down the T doubles Isner's lead. 3:54PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 0-1 Isner* Anderson completely miscues a forehand, and it's an instant mini-break for Isner. 3:53PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-6 Isner (*next server) - third set tie-break Tense moments for Isner as he misses a forehand and double faults for 30-30. Anderson is two points from the set. Isner responds with his hardest serve of the match - a 142mph bomb for 40-30. An ace down the T then wraps up the game. We're into a third set tie-break. 3:49PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-5 Isner* (*next server) A love hold for Anderson. How he could have done with that a couple of games ago. Isner gets some more tape for the blister on his right hand. Once he's patched up he'll serve to stay in the third set for a second time. Credit: PA 3:46PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 5-5 Isner (*next server) Isner looks seriously pumped. He flicks away two neat volleys for 30-0, before two aces help him to a hold to 15. We're back on serve in the third set. 3:43PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 5-4 Isner* (*next server) - Isner breaks back! Imagine if after that Anderson got broken now. It could just happen. He makes a mess of an easy forehand, allowing Isner to guide a backhand pass down the line for 30-30. And then a long backhand from Anderson gives Isner a break back point at 30-40. And he takes it! Anderson nets an attempted forehand pass and we're back on serve. I do not believe that. Anderson missed a glorious chance to go up 40-15, and how he might regret losing his serve there. 3:39PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 5-3 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Isner's been on top this set but Anderson thumps a forehand up the line for 0-15. Isner then nets a forehand and it's 15-30. Chance here for Anderson. Big chance now, as Isner sends a forehand wide! It's two break points for Anderson at 15-40. Will Isner finally be broken at this year's Wimbledon? Yes! At last, Isner drops his serve. It's a brilliant Anderson backhand return that leaves Isner sprawling at the net. After 110 straight service holds this tournament, Isner is finally broken. Anderson will serve for the third set. Credit: Getty Images 3:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 4-3 Isner* (*next server) Isner again has a sniff by winning the first point of an Anderson service game, but Big Kev steels himself once more and holds to 30. 3:31PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 3-3 Isner (*next server) Another excellent half-volley pick-up from Isner helps him on his way to a hold to 15. 3:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 3-2 Isner* (*next server) A booming ace down the T secures a hold to 15 for Anderson. At the last change of ends it looked as though the umpire had a word with Isner about receiving coaching from his box. Isner angrily refutes the suggestion. 3:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 2-2 Isner (*next server) No such issues on the Isner serve as he holds to love. Credit: REUTERS 3:20PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 2-1 Isner* (*next server) First opening that Isner has had on the Anderson serve for an absolute age, as the South African nets a forehand for 15-30. Isner has a good chance at two break points but he nets a forehand off an Anderson second serve to make it 30-30. Isner then overhits a return for 40-30. A relieved Anderson screams "yes!" in celebration, and then thwacks away a forehand winner to complete the hold. A big opportunity missed for Isner. 3:17PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 1-1 Isner (*next server) Beautiful pick-up from Isner secures a hold to 15. He hit that from absolute no-man's land between the baseline and service line. Ridiculous stat below by the way... Kevin Anderson hit one unforced error in the last set and lost it.— Tumaini Carayol (@tumcarayol) July 13, 2018 3:14PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 1-0 Isner* (*next server) Anderson holds to love in the blink of an eye. Who's going to crack here? No breaks of serve all match remember. Credit: BBC 3:10PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7 Isner (*next server) - Second set Isner Isner sends an ace flying screaming down the T and he lets out a huge roar in celebration after winning the tie-break 7-5. It's one-set all after exactly two hours. Djokovic and Nadal could be waiting a while longer... Credit: REUTERS 3:08PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 5-6 Isner* Isner nets a forehand so on we go. The third set point though will be on the Isner serve...what have you got big John? 3:07PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 4-6 Isner Anderson saves the first set point with an ace out wide. 3:07PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 3-6 Isner Service winner brings up three set points for Isner. 3:06PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 3-5 Isner* Anderson gets one of the mini-breaks back with a backhand winner. Isner had thought he was 6-2 up but a Hawk-Eye challenge showed his serve to be out. 3:05PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 2-5 Isner* Another ace down the T reduces the deficit. 3:04PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 1-5 Isner An ace down the T gets Anderson off the mark. 3:03PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-5 Isner Unreturned serve extends Isner's lead. 3:03PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 0-4 Isner* A serve-volley play ends in an easy smash for Isner. He's running away with this. 3:02PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 0-3 Isner* Wow, another stunning return sets Isner up for an easy forehand put-away. He's two mini-breaks to the good. 3:01PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-2 Isner Blistering service return secures an instant mini-break for Isner. 3:01PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-1 Isner Unreturnable serve seals the first point of the breaker for Isner. 3:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-6 Isner* (*next server) - Second set tie-break Isner punches away a volley for 0-15, but Anderson rolls off a few forehand winners and eventually holds to 30. We're into a second set tie-break. 2:55PM Anderson* 7-6, 5-6 Isner (*next server) Isner looks a little tired all of a sudden as Anderson cranks up the power to move to 30-30 again. But Isner responds in style, thwacking down two service winners to hold to 30. Anderson will serve to stay in the second set for a second time. 2:51PM Anderson 7-6, 5-5 Isner* (*next server) Anderson brushes off the disappointment of not taking that break point and holds to 15. After Isner shaded the first set performance-wise, Anderson's been the stronger player in the second. Credit: AFP 2:48PM Anderson* 7-6, 4-5 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds Well, well, what have we here ? Isner pushes a volley wide and it's 30-30. Make that 30-40 and break point Anderson after another brilliant forehand winner! Can he take it? No, Isner saves it with a punched volley. How do you break this guy?! Isner then claims the next two points and that's 106 service holds in a row at this year's Wimbledon. Had Anderson broken there he would have been serving for a two-sets lead. 2:43PM Anderson 7-6, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) Anderson responds with a love hold of his own. Can we just play the tie-break now? (Tie-breaks at 3-3 was incidentally one of the rule changes experiments with at the ATP Next Gen Finals last year). 2:40PM Anderson* 7-6, 3-4 Isner (*next server) Aaaand it's a love hold for Isner, who hasn't dropped his serve all tournament. Credit: AFP 2:38PM Anderson 7-6, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is hitting his forehand sensationally well today, snaring Isner with another crosscourt pass for 30-0. A couple of points later he completes a love hold. It feels at the moment as if we're heading inexorably for another tie-break. 2:34PM Anderson* 7-6, 2-3 Isner (*next server) Beautiful rolled forehand pass from Anderson has the Centre Court crowd in raptures. Isner reels off the next three points to go up 40-15, but a couple of excellent Anderson returns have us at deuce. Only the second time Isner's been taken to deuce today. He fends off the danger with two wicked second serves. We remain on serve, with neither player having dropped their serve so far this match. 2:29PM Anderson 7-6, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Yeah no sign of a break at the moment. Anderson holds to 15 with an 11th ace. Isner is fine to continue. 2:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Impressive game from Isner, who hits a lovely curling forehand winner on his way to a hold to love. It feels like both players are getting into ominous rhythms on their serve. Isner is getting treatement for a blister on his racket hand. Please don't let this end like Cilic's blister-induced tears in last year's final. Credit: REUTERS 2:23PM Anderson 7-6, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Isner's swinging pretty wildly and he misses a couple of backhands to help Anderson to a hold to 15. 2:18PM Anderson* 7-6, 0-1 Isner (*next server) That was a really high-level first set, so much more than just big serving. Isner started much the better and missed three break points, as well as a set point, but he'll have to put that disappointment quickly behind him. He certainly does that this game, banging down three consecutive aces in a confident hold to love. 2:15PM Anderson 7-6 Isner* (*next server) - First set Anderson A long, tense rally goes Anderson's way as Isner nets a forehand. First set Anderson. Anderson wins the tie-break 8-6, and after 63 minutes is a set to the good. Credit: Getty Images 2:13PM First set tie-break: Anderson 7-6 Isner* Isner nets a makeable backhand and it's set point Anderson. 2:12PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 6-6 Isner Well played Anderson. He hits a few nerveless forehands and saves the set point with a smash. 2:11PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 5-6 Isner A 139mph ace makes it set point Isner. 2:10PM First set tie-break: Anderson 5-5 Isner* Service winner levels things up. The next point will be a set point for one of these two... 2:09PM First set tie-break: Anderson 5-4 Isner* Brilliant low volley from Anderson makes it three points in a row for the South African. 2:08PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 4-4 Isner Anderson smash levels things up. 2:08PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 3-4 Isner What a shot! Anderson claims the mini-break back with a sensational forehand passing shot on the run. We're back on serve. 2:07PM First set tie-break: Anderson 2-4 Isner* Isner ensures he's ahead at the change of ends with a clever body serve. 2:06PM First set tie-break: Anderson 2-3 Isner* Anderson service winner reduces the deficit. 2:05PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 1-3 Isner Brilliant Isner forehand winner secures him the early mini-break. What a shot. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 1-2 Isner Isner ace gets his nose in front. No mini-breaks so far. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson 1-1 Isner* Isner levels up with a forehand volley winner. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson 1-0 Isner* Anderson forehand winner gets him the first point. 2:03PM Anderson* 6-6 Isner (*next server) - Tie-break Isner's eighth ace secures a hold to 15 and takes us into a first set tie-break. Anderson to serve first in the breaker. How's your nerve lads? 1:59PM Anderson 6-5 Isner* (*next server) Love hold for Anderson, sealed with a nifty volley. Isner will serve to stay in the first set for a second time. It's been an interesting, high-quality match so far. Anybody who thinks Isner vs Anderson is just a match between towering servebots has not been watching the match and definitely was not watching the 3d game— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) July 13, 2018 1:56PM Anderson* 5-5 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a set point and holds An awkward low return from Anderson draws a missed volley from Isner for 0-15. Isner responds with a 126 mph second serve for 15-15, but he then nets a backhand and it's 15-30 - Anderson is two points from the set. A booming serve out wide has us at 30-30, before a double fault gives Anderson a set point at 30-40! Can he take this precious opportunity? Isner has held all 99 of his previous service games at this tournament. And he clings on here with a gutsy second serve that completely jams Anderson. An ace and a service winner follow to make it 100 out of 100 service holds this tournament. Nothing Anderson could have done there, but what a huge moment that might prove to be. Make that 100 consecutive service games unbroken for @JohnIsner at #Wimbledon ���� pic.twitter.com/UK9gBlNMkh— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 1:50PM Anderson 5-4 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks a little sluggish as he fails to chase down a drop shot. Anderson then runs away with the game and holds to love. Isner will serve to stay in the first set. 1:48PM Anderson* 4-4 Isner (*next server) Two aces from Isner level the ace count at six apiece and the set at four-games all. Business end of the set incoming... 1:45PM Anderson 4-3 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is trying to mix up his serves by not solely targetting the Isner backhand. It makes sense to try and avoid being too predictable, but Isner is getting a lot of joy from thumping forehand returns. Anderson eventually holds to 15 here, as two more aces take his tally so far to six. Credit: Getty Images 1:42PM Anderson* 3-3 Isner (*next server) Anderson's last two matches have taken a combined time of nearly eight hours, so you'd expect he might have a few aching limbs. Isner is definitely leading this match 'on points' to use the boxing term. He's been by far the stronger player and slams down two aces to hold to 15. 1:39PM Anderson 3-2 Isner* (*next server) Isner is being so aggressive on his returns and is getting a good read on the Anderson serve. A couple of errors though help Anderson to a hold to 15. Anderson meanwhile has called for the trainer to deliver him a banana and a few pills. Oh dear, hopefully it's nothing serious. 1:35PM Anderson* 2-2 Isner (*next server) No mental let-down from Isner after missing those break points. An ace down the T seals a holds to 30, having raced to 40-0 up. Credit: REUTERS 1:30PM Anderson 2-1 Isner* (*next server) - Anderson saves three break points and holds Oooh, a rally of almost 10 shots breaks out which ends with Anderson netting a backhand for 30-30. Half a chance this for Isner. Anderson hits a brilliant forehand to go up 40-30, but Isner responds with one of his own for deuce. Isner then forces a break point (practically a set point?) with another huge forehand. He's absolutely nailing that shot at the moment. But he snatches at the break point by sending a forehand skidding long. Huge chance missed there. But another one presents itself straight away, as Isner absolutely smokes another forehand winner. Anderson saves this one too when a backhand kicks off the baseline and flummoxes his opponent. Moments later, Isner earns a third break point with a brilliant forehand return. And what a chance that is! But Isner misses a sitter of a volley and it's back to deuce. Blimey that looked all the world like being the break. John McEnroe says in commentary that this is the finest returning game he's ever seen Isner play. Anderson then misses a few chances of his own to win the game, as Isner continues to strike the ball beautifully off both wings. Anderson eventually holds after a game that lasts 13 minutes. He puffs his cheeks out in relief. Isner looks extremely sharp in these opening exchanges, but that's a big chance missed. 1:16PM Anderson* 1-1 Isner (*next server) Anderson gets to 15-0 with a flicked forehand pass. Isner reels off the next four points to claim the hold. 1:13PM Anderson 1-0 Isner* (*next server) Double fault and an ace to kick us off. Another ace helps Anderson to a hold to 15. 1:10PM Ready? Play Anderson won the toss and will serve first. A place in the #Wimbledon final awaits for one of @KAndersonATP and @JohnIsner… Follow it live �� �� https://t.co/N05LMuoUDMpic.twitter.com/QL51Ptc6GA— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 1:06PM They're knocking up Practising serves. Not sure you really need to lads. 1:02PM Players are out Isner hasn't dropped his serve this tournament, and has only faced seven break points. But amazingly this is his first match on Centre Court. The players step on to the court to warm applause from the crowd. 12:58PM What's it like facing Isner's serve? Simon Briggs went to find out. 12:44PM Ace, ace, ace Expect tie-breaks and very few rallies and service breaks this afternoon. As John Isner said yesterday: "When I say 'big points' I'm talking about break points for me, which are essentially set points". We all remember his 70-68 fifth set against Nicolas Mahut here eight years ago. Credit: Getty Images 12:08PM Land of the giants Back in 2004 fellow college freshmen John Isner and Kevin Anderson stepped onto court to play one another in an inter-university match. Isner was representing the university of Georgia, while Anderson was at the university of Illinois. Isner won the match, and now 14 years on here they both are on Centre Court, competing for a place in the Wimbledon final. Their paths have crossed many times in between - they met again in the 2007 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship match and have competed against each other 11 times as pros - but never on a stage as grand as this. "There could be a little mental aspect in our match," Isner said on Wednesday. "I say that because our rivalry, what have you, goes back way before the pro tour. We played each other in college probably three, four, five times. We played each other a bunch on the pro tour. "We've been lined up against each other for about 14 years now, because he left Illinois when I left Georgia. We've been doing it ever since. Credit: REUTERS "For me this matchup, and I think for him as well, is especially cool. It's a very nice spotlight on college tennis, that one of us, no matter what, is going to be playing in the Wimbledon final. We're duking it out in the semifinals. Two of us went to college, did it a little bit different route. It's pretty cool." As well as a shared history, Isner, 33 and Anderson, 32 have a lot else in common. They are both physical giants (Isner is 6ft 10in, Anderson is 6ft 8in) and possess among the finest serves in the game. They were also both viewed as underachievers until recently, with Isner winning a first Masters title in Miami in March and Anderson reaching the US Open final last year. This is the first time in the Wimbledon semis for both, and Isner leads the head to head 8-3. Credit: AP Isner - a proud Republican from North Carolina - has made the bigger noise of the two off the court this tournament when he said on Monday: "I'd love to have Trump watch me. That would be awesome.” Anderson though has received more plaudits for his on-court achievements, having become only the second man ever to beat Roger Federer from two sets down. Expect plenty of aces and very few rallies today in what promises to be an extremely close match. Personally I expect Isner to just have the edge.
Wimbledon’s marathon man John Isner was at it again, but this time he was outlasted by Kevin Anderson in an extraordinary 6hr 36min semi-final, the third-longest singles match in history. It was going to take something special to separate these gladiators as they went ace for ace and blow for blow. With the light starting to fade close to 8pm, the saga duly got the ending that it deserved. In the 49th game of the fifth set and at love-15 up, Anderson slipped at the back of the court. He fell to the ground, so did his racket, but when Isner put his return into the centre of the court, Anderson got off the canvas like Rocky, picked up his racket left-handed and got his forehand back into play to win the point. Hollywood eat your heart out. For the fourth consecutive Isner service game, Anderson was love-30 up. On every previous occasion, Isner’s blunderbuss serve, which peaked at 142mph, had come to his rescue. Not this time. A second serve was the chance that Anderson had been waiting for and he hit a forehand winner to engineer three break points. Isner had saved four previous break points in this marathon final set, which was approaching the three-hour mark. Each time he produced an ace to save his skin. The fifth was saved with a serve and volley, but he could not repeat the trick, at 15-40 putting a backhand into the net. The crowd celebrated raucously, as much with relief than anything else, but the job was not yet done and Anderson had to serve out the match. What must have been going through the 32-year-old’s head? On two of the three games that he had broken Isner, the American had broken straight back. This time he held his nerve as Isner put a forehand into the tramlines. There were no wild celebrations from Anderson despite becoming the first South African man in 97 years to reach a Wimbledon final, in part because of exhaustion, in part in sympathy for his vanquished foe who he first played on the American college circuit 14 years ago. Anderson prevails at last by winning the 99th game of the semi-final Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images “Coming through that match, obviously I’m ecstatic to be through to the finals.” Anderson said. “At the same time, you know, you feel like it should be a draw. But somebody has to win.” Eight years ago, Isner took part in the longest match in history in his 11hrs 5ms conquest of Nicolas Mahut. The 33-year-old has repeatedly said that he did not want his career be defined by that match. Fate obviously has a sick sense of humour. The Donald Trump supporter will have to wait to make American men’s tennis great again with Andy Roddick, their last male representative to reached a grand slam final nine years ago. “I feel pretty terrible,” Isner said. My left heel is killing me. I have an awful blister on my right foot. It stinks to lose, but I gave it everything I had out there. I just lost to someone who is a little bit better at the end.” Anderson’s victory is even more remarkable when you consider that in the last 16 he went three and a half hours against Gaël Monfils in the last 16 and then became only the fifth man to come from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in a four-hour plus quarter-final. We all thought he would have nothing left. How wrong we were. “You’re really in a war of attrition out there,” Anderson said. “It’s way beyond a normal tennis match or tactics. I mean, it’s just who’s going to, you know, outlast each other.” "Anderson vs Isner, a Wimbledon classic - you better believe it" A Centre Court epic ends with @KAndersonATP going through to the #Wimbledon final, beating John Isner 7-6(6), 6-7(5), 6-7(9), 6-4, 26-24 pic.twitter.com/Fv4ww2cEzK— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 That a match between the tournament’s two leading severs went to five sets was no surprise. To paraphrase Guns n’ Roses, “Take me down to tiebreak city, where the grass is green and the serves aren’t pretty.” Yet as the match progress and each man’s serve lost its rapier edge and the rallies went to script. The first three sets went according to script, although how different might the contest have been had Isner seized one of three break points in Anderson’s second service game? Anderson took the first tiebreak and double-faulted on set point in the second which allowed his opponent to draw level. Business started picking up in the third set when Isner, after winning 110 consecutive service games at this tournament, was finally broken. Almost inevitably, Isner broke back straight away as if he was righting a cosmetic imbalance. Health of players at risk The third-set tie-break was a classic bit of psychological theatre. Each man traded mini-breaks and lost set-point opportunities, notably when Anderson double-faulted at 8-7. When Anderson sent a forehand into the tramlines, Isner looked too shocked to celebrate. Showing some incredible reflexes, Anderson broke in the fourth game of the fourth set. Like night follows day, Isner broke straight back only to go love-40 down in his very next service game and this time Anderson held his nerve to take it to a fifth set that even Tolstoy would have considered overblown. 7:59PM A word for the vanquished "At the end you feel like it’s a draw, but someone has to win. John is a great guy and I really feel for him" - @KAndersonATP#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/SHU5fVNUc9— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 7:51PM Big Kev is through Anderson looks completely frazzled and the first thing he does is express his sympathy for his opponent: "I don't know how you can take playing for that long and not coming out on the winning side." 7:48PM Game, set and match! Anderson defeats Isner 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 26-24 An ace takes Anderson to 30-15. He exhales meaningfully. Isner then sends a return long and it's two match points at 40-15. And that's it! Isner pushes a forehand wide, and finally, finally it's over. Kevin Anderson is through to the Wimbledon final after 6hr 35min. 7:43PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 25-24 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Anderson falls to the floor, drops his racket and picks it up to play left-handed. And he wins the point to make it 0-30 again! That was insane! Anderson then spins away a forehand winner and it's three break points at 0-40. Surely, surely he has to take one of these?! Yes he does! Isner nets a backhand on the second one and Anderson will serve for the match! Oh my word, if Anderson gets broken here! Credit: PA 7:40PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 24-24 Isner* (*next server) Isner has not had a single break point all set, and Anderson holds again to love. 7:37PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 23-24 Isner (*next server) Right, is this it. Isner puts a tired forehand into the net and it's 0-30 again. But once again Isner bangs down a flurry of big serves and holds to 30. Isner's won enough games this set to have won four sets. 7:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 23-23 Isner* (*next server) Love hold for Anderson. What on earth must Nadal and Djokovic, who follow this match, be thinking? 7:30PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 22-23 Isner (*next server) It's another chance for Anderson, as he caresses a backhand down the line for 0-30. An ace and a missed Anderson backhand make it 30-30. Isner then flicks away a forehand for 40-30 before a missed Anderson forehand seals the hold. Credit: REUTERS 7:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 22-22 Isner* (*next server) Isner has the tiniest glimmer of a break at 15-15. Anderson slams the door shut and holds to 15. 7:23PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 21-22 Isner (*next server) Here we go again. Isner misses a forehand for 0-30 but responds with two big serves for 30-30. Anderson then duffs an easy backhand to make it 30-40, before Isner returns the favour with a netted volley for deuce. Isner desperately retrieves a low forehand and then punches away a volley to complete the hold. 7:19PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 21-21 Isner* (*next server) Isner receives rapturous applause at each of the points he wins this game, but Anderson emerges with a hold to 30. 7:14PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 20-21 Isner (*next server) Anderson sprays a forehand just wide and Isner holds on to 15. Credit: REUTERS 7:12PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 20-20 Isner* (*next server) Anderson responds with a hold to love. Genuinely starting to wonder if this will ever end. 7:12PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 19-20 Isner (*next server) No sniff for Anderson this game as Isner holds to 15. 7:07PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 19-19 Isner* (*next server) Anderson guides a backhand beautifully down the line to complete a hold to 15. For a moment at 15-15, Isner dared to ream. 7:03PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 18-19 Isner (*next server) Isner endures a shaky moment as he allows Anderson back in the game at 40-30 from 40-0, but he forces Anderson to miss a backhand and holds on. 7:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 18-18 Isner* (*next server) This set began at 4.45. Anderson holds to love, and is yet to face a break point in this final set. Credit: Getty Images 6:58PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 17-18 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves two break points and holds Isner misses a forehand for 15-30, and another forehand flies wide for 15-40 - two break points. Isner saves the first with an ace out wide. And indeed the second with an ace down the T. A service winner makes it advantage Isner, and he digs out the hold with a backhand pass. Nothing Anderson could have done there. 6:52PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 17-17 Isner* (*next server) Anderson holds to love, as the court coverers start to gather. We continue for now. Hopefully the shower will pass. 6:50PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 16-17 Isner (*next server) Still no immediate end in sight as Isner holds to 15. Play can go on until 11pm tonight. Will it end before then? And it's started to rain! On we go for the moment but it's definitely spitting. 6:47PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 16-16 Isner* (*next server) Two aces and a service winner from Anderson seals a very impressive hold. He's kept his level superbly this set. So has Isner in the main to be fair. Of all Wimbledon matches ever, only Isner v Mahut has ever lasted longer than this. Kevin Anderson vs John Isner. Officially the second longest singles match in Championships history.#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/fGGHRQaqz7— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 6:44PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 15-16 Isner (*next server) Isner nets a backhand for 0-15, and Anderson is close to 0-30 but he pulls a backhand just wide. Instead it's 15-15, and buoyed by the reprieve Isner holds to 30. 6:41PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 15-15 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is so on top at the moment in general play but he just can't get the break. He holds to 30 here having sped to 40-0. It is 15-15. 6:36PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 14-15 Isner (*next server) An ace and a forehand winner take Isner to a hold to 15. We're almost at 15-15 in games, which I always find amusing. It's the little things in life. Credit: AFP 6:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 14-14 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks knackered as he fails painfully to get to a low backhand. Anderson holds to 15. On we go. It feels like about a year since this match started. 6:30PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 13-14 Isner (*next server) "Come on guys, we want to see Rafa!" someone screams from the crowd. But the wait continues as Isner holds to 30. 6:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 13-13 Isner* (*next server) Anderson certainly looks the fresher of the two but Isner knows he's so close now to the final. Anderson keeps him at arm's length with a hold to 15 - sealed with consecutive aces out wide. Credit: REUTERS 6:23PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 12-13 Isner (*next server) A missed Isner backhand has us at 15-15, but any hopes of a break are dashed in the next few points as Isner holds to 30 with a clinical forehand winner. 6:20PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 12-12 Isner* (*next server) Still Anderson continues to serve accurately. He hasn't faced a break point in this final set, and races to 40-0 here. A forehand winner secures the hold to 15. We've been playing 5hr 9 min. 6:15PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 11-12 Isner (*next server) A blessedly straightforward hold for Isner after those recent struggles. He holds to love here. 6:14PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 11-11 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks pumped up, especially after Anderson nets a forehand volley for 0-15. Anderson responds in style again and holds to 15 after reeling off the next four points. Will this ever end? Credit: Getty Images 6:10PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 10-11 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds It's 0-30 again as Anderson whips away a forehand winner. Can Isner pull himself up from the canvas again? An ace out wide and a forehand winner make it 30-30. But a fizzing low return brings up a break point for Anderson at 30-40. He gets a look at it but miscues a backhand pass well long. Isner then bangs down an ace and heroically chases down a drop shot to seal the game. His momentum takes him into his chair for the change of ends. That was spectacular. 6:04PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 10-10 Isner* (*next server) Now it's Isner who can sniff a break, after he sends a forehand perfectly onto the baseline for 0-15. Anderson responds well though and reels off the next three points for 40-15. He eventually holds for 40-30. 5:59PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 9-10 Isner (*next server) Isner misses two forehands and it's 0-30! It's then heart in mouth time for Isner but he just clears the net with a low volley for 15-30. He then repeats the trick for 30-30 after Anderson stretched every sinew to retrieve a forehand. An ace makes it 40-30 and a volley winner completes the hold. 5:55PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 9-9 Isner* (*next server) Crazy how fresh Anderson looks given his previous matches lasted almost eight hours, and he's played nigh on five hours here. Anderson races to 40-15, but Isner is two points away from the final at deuce as Anderson sends a backhand wide at the end of a rare long rally. Anderson responds in style, with an ace and service winner to complete the hold. Credit: REUTERS 5:48PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 8-9 Isner (*next server) The players are wearying but no-one can get the break. Isner holds to 15 and the pressure swings right back to Anderson. 5:45PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 8-8 Isner* (*next server) After the drama of the last game, Anderson holds to love - sealed with an ace out wide. On we go. 5:43PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 7-8 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds Big chance here for Anderson. Isner sends a lunging volley long and Anderson's up 0-30. A hush fills Centre Court. A stupendous low volley from Isner makes it 15-30, before an ace down the T has us at 30-30. But a stinging Anderson return brings up a break point at 30-40. Isner of course saves it with an ace. Two crushing serves follow, and Isner holds. He screams "that's it!" in celebration. 5:36PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 7-7 Isner* (*next server) No dramas for Big Kev as an inside-in forehand winner seals a hold to love. Credit: REUTERS 5:33PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 6-7 Isner (*next server) An effective serve-volley play helps Isner to a hold to 15. No break points yet this set. 5:30PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 6-6 Isner* (*next server) Anderson nets a backhand. It's 0-15. Isner is three points from the final. Make that two points, as Isner smokes a forehand up the line for 15-30. Isner then sends a pair of backhands long and it's 40-30. Anderson seals the hold with a bullet serve out wide. No final set tie-breaker remember so on we go. Meanwhile... The Telegraph Sports desk has had their say on Anderson vs Isner Who will come out on top in this five set thriller, and what will the score be? @TelegraphSport#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/C3RzGzHubd— Jamie Johnson (@JamieoJohnson) July 13, 2018 5:26PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 5-6 Isner (*next server) Stinging Anderson forehand return winner has us at 15-15. In the context of the match so far, this is a chance! Isner responds well with a couple of banging serves for 40-15, and he eventually holds to 30. Anderson will serve to stay in the match for a second time. I'm going to stop writing that from here on in as he will be serving to stay in the match on every service game. 5:22PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 5-5 Isner* (*next server) Isner gets a look a couple of returns but he's a little flat footed and Anderson holds to 15. A reminder from Greg below that there's no tie-break on the final set at Wimbledon. US Open is the only grand slam where there is one. I think there should be tiebreakers in the final set at all Grand Slams as it creates more drama and allows players to recover better. Are we going to beat Isner vs Mahut record today with Anderson vs Isner Wimbledon semi?— Greg Rusedski (@GregRusedski1) July 13, 2018 5:18PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 4-5 Isner (*next server) Isner is still being bothered by that blister on his right hand. He holds to 15 and prior to the final point of the game calls for the trainer. Anderson will serve to stay in the match. 5:16PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) No let up from Anderson, who holds assertively to love. Meanwhile a word of encouragement for Isner from the last American man to reach a grand slam final. Come on John— andyroddick (@andyroddick) July 13, 2018 5:13PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 3-4 Isner (*next server) The worry is that as the players get progressively more tired they struggle even more to return. Speaking of which, Isner bangs down an ace - his 200th of the tournament - to wrap up a simple hold to 15. Credit: AP 5:11PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) Isner's won all five of the last meetings between these two. Will that mean anything as we enter the home straight? I suspect not a huge amount. Anderson holds to love as the match clock ticks into its fifth hour. 5:07PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 2-3 Isner (*next server) You've got to credit these guys, they've kept a very high level throughout. Isner sends down a couple of heat-seeking missile-like serves on his way to a breezy hold to 15. 5:04PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Isner hasn't been a break up at any point this match. It's a sequence that continues here as Anderson holds to 15. 5:01PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Isner bangs down three aces to take his tally to 39 and complete the hold. Credit: REUTERS 5:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Anderson looks fresher now than he did half an hour ago and holds easily to 15. 4:56PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 0-1 Isner (*next server) Isner picks himself up and holds to love. We've been playing 3hr 45 min. 4:53PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4 Isner* (*next server) - Fourth set Anderson! Can Anderson finally consolidate a break and in so doing take us into a deciding set? An ace takes Anderson to three set points at 40-0. Isner saves the first two with blistering returns, and the third with a howitzer of a forehand. This is insane! Anderson then earns a fourth set point with a smash, and he takes this one when Isner nets a return! We're heading for a final set. There'll be no tie-breaker remember so we could be here all night. Djokovic and Nadal continue to wait... Marathon men...@KAndersonATP wins the fourth set 6-4 against John Isner and the battle for a place in the #Wimbledon final goes all the way... pic.twitter.com/MagHg8E5zo— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 4:47PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 5-4 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Isner nets a half-volley and then does likewise on a backhand to gift Anderson a break point at 30-40. Anderson takes it with a backhand pass that flies past his opponent. Unbelievable. Anderson, who is breathing a little heavily now, will serve to take us into a fifth set. 4:43PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) Some normality restored as Anderson holds to love. On we go... Credit: Reuters 4:40PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-4 Isner (*next server) Isner double faults for 30-30. Surely not a third consecutive break in a row? No. Isner slams down a big serve and is then relieved as Anderson misses an easy backhand pass. 4:37PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) - Isner breaks back! The last time he broke Anderson was broken back immediately. Can he consolidate it this time? Possibly not, because Isner has rolled a forehand pass down the line for 15-30. It's then break back point for Isner as Anderson pushes a backhand pass long to make it 30-40. And Isner gets the instant break back again! This time with a backhand pass up the line. Neither man can quite believe it. 4:33PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-2 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Really good backhand pass on the run from Anderson gets him to 40-30, and an even better backhand return winner has us at deuce. Isner then gets a time violation warning before the next serve, and would you believe it Anderson flicks away another return winner to bring up a break point! Can he take it? Yes, he can! A fourth consecutive sensational shot from Anderson forces Isner into missing a half-volley, and out of nowhere he has the break. That was unreal returning from Anderson. Credit: PA 4:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Anderson regroups and holds comfortably to 15. Are we heading for another tie-break? 4:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Isner's on a groove on his serve and holds to love. With Isner serving first, he pressure will be on Anderson throughout this set. 4:21PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Isner is bouncing around the court, looking for the early kill at the start of the fourth set. But Anderson clings on and holds to 30. Credit: AP 4:17PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 0-1 Isner (*next server) Love hold from Isner to kick off the fourth set. 4:16PM Anderson's back out What must be going through his mind. He served for the third set and had a sitter to go up 40-15 in that game. He then double faulted when up set point in the breaker. How will he respond? 4:11PM Medical time out Anderson has left the court to receive treatment. 4:09PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7 Isner* (*next server) - Third set Isner Anderson pushes a forehand wide and that's the set for Isner. He takes the tie-break 11-9. After almost three hours Isner leads two sets to one. Anderson served for the set and had two set points, but he has it all to do now. Credit: REUTERS 4:08PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 9-10 Isner Anderson nets a backhand return and it's set point #3 for Isner. 4:07PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 9-9 Isner* A huge 136mph ace out wide saves it. The players change ends again. 4:06PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 9-8 Isner* An ace down the T makes it set point Anderson. Oh no it doesn't - Isner challenges and Hawk-Eye shows the ball to be out. A forehand winner does then make it set point Anderson #2. 4:05PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 8-8 Isner Oh dear, Anderson has double faulted! On we go. 4:04PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 8-7 Isner It's set point Anderson! He guides a backhand pass up the line, and will have this set point on his own serve. 4:04PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 7-7 Isner* Anderson saves it with a brilliant forehand pass! Wow, what a shot that was under immense pressure. 4:03PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 6-7 Isner* Anderson sends a forehand long and it's set point Isner. The American has this one on his own serve... 4:02PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 6-6 Isner Isner can't return a big serve down the T and Anderson clings on. 4:01PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 5-6 Isner Isner then produces another wondrous low volley to earn himself a set point. The crowd loved that. What a couple of points. 4:00PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 5-5 Isner* Sensational low pick-up from Isner levels the breaker up. 3:59PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 5-4 Isner* Service winner puts Anderson in front. Blimey, this is tense. 3:59PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 4-4 Isner Isner gets the mini-break with a forehand down the line. Anderson again could have done more with his forehand the shot before. 3:58PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 4-3 Isner Anderson guides a backhand down the line to secure the mini-break. Huge roar from the crowd. 3:57PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 3-3 Isner* An Isner ace down the T ensures the players are level at the change of ends. 3:56PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 2-3 Isner* Service winner puts Anderson in front. 3:55PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 2-2 Isner Forehand winner from Anderson levels things up. 3:55PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 1-2 Isner Stunning Anderson forehand winner return gets the mini-break back. That's the shot of the match so far. 3:54PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 0-2 Isner* An ace down the T doubles Isner's lead. 3:54PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 0-1 Isner* Anderson completely miscues a forehand, and it's an instant mini-break for Isner. 3:53PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-6 Isner (*next server) - third set tie-break Tense moments for Isner as he misses a forehand and double faults for 30-30. Anderson is two points from the set. Isner responds with his hardest serve of the match - a 142mph bomb for 40-30. An ace down the T then wraps up the game. We're into a third set tie-break. 3:49PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-5 Isner* (*next server) A love hold for Anderson. How he could have done with that a couple of games ago. Isner gets some more tape for the blister on his right hand. Once he's patched up he'll serve to stay in the third set for a second time. Credit: PA 3:46PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 5-5 Isner (*next server) Isner looks seriously pumped. He flicks away two neat volleys for 30-0, before two aces help him to a hold to 15. We're back on serve in the third set. 3:43PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 5-4 Isner* (*next server) - Isner breaks back! Imagine if after that Anderson got broken now. It could just happen. He makes a mess of an easy forehand, allowing Isner to guide a backhand pass down the line for 30-30. And then a long backhand from Anderson gives Isner a break back point at 30-40. And he takes it! Anderson nets an attempted forehand pass and we're back on serve. I do not believe that. Anderson missed a glorious chance to go up 40-15, and how he might regret losing his serve there. 3:39PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 5-3 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Isner's been on top this set but Anderson thumps a forehand up the line for 0-15. Isner then nets a forehand and it's 15-30. Chance here for Anderson. Big chance now, as Isner sends a forehand wide! It's two break points for Anderson at 15-40. Will Isner finally be broken at this year's Wimbledon? Yes! At last, Isner drops his serve. It's a brilliant Anderson backhand return that leaves Isner sprawling at the net. After 110 straight service holds this tournament, Isner is finally broken. Anderson will serve for the third set. Credit: Getty Images 3:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 4-3 Isner* (*next server) Isner again has a sniff by winning the first point of an Anderson service game, but Big Kev steels himself once more and holds to 30. 3:31PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 3-3 Isner (*next server) Another excellent half-volley pick-up from Isner helps him on his way to a hold to 15. 3:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 3-2 Isner* (*next server) A booming ace down the T secures a hold to 15 for Anderson. At the last change of ends it looked as though the umpire had a word with Isner about receiving coaching from his box. Isner angrily refutes the suggestion. 3:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 2-2 Isner (*next server) No such issues on the Isner serve as he holds to love. Credit: REUTERS 3:20PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 2-1 Isner* (*next server) First opening that Isner has had on the Anderson serve for an absolute age, as the South African nets a forehand for 15-30. Isner has a good chance at two break points but he nets a forehand off an Anderson second serve to make it 30-30. Isner then overhits a return for 40-30. A relieved Anderson screams "yes!" in celebration, and then thwacks away a forehand winner to complete the hold. A big opportunity missed for Isner. 3:17PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 1-1 Isner (*next server) Beautiful pick-up from Isner secures a hold to 15. He hit that from absolute no-man's land between the baseline and service line. Ridiculous stat below by the way... Kevin Anderson hit one unforced error in the last set and lost it.— Tumaini Carayol (@tumcarayol) July 13, 2018 3:14PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 1-0 Isner* (*next server) Anderson holds to love in the blink of an eye. Who's going to crack here? No breaks of serve all match remember. Credit: BBC 3:10PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7 Isner (*next server) - Second set Isner Isner sends an ace flying screaming down the T and he lets out a huge roar in celebration after winning the tie-break 7-5. It's one-set all after exactly two hours. Djokovic and Nadal could be waiting a while longer... Credit: REUTERS 3:08PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 5-6 Isner* Isner nets a forehand so on we go. The third set point though will be on the Isner serve...what have you got big John? 3:07PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 4-6 Isner Anderson saves the first set point with an ace out wide. 3:07PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 3-6 Isner Service winner brings up three set points for Isner. 3:06PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 3-5 Isner* Anderson gets one of the mini-breaks back with a backhand winner. Isner had thought he was 6-2 up but a Hawk-Eye challenge showed his serve to be out. 3:05PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 2-5 Isner* Another ace down the T reduces the deficit. 3:04PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 1-5 Isner An ace down the T gets Anderson off the mark. 3:03PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-5 Isner Unreturned serve extends Isner's lead. 3:03PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 0-4 Isner* A serve-volley play ends in an easy smash for Isner. He's running away with this. 3:02PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 0-3 Isner* Wow, another stunning return sets Isner up for an easy forehand put-away. He's two mini-breaks to the good. 3:01PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-2 Isner Blistering service return secures an instant mini-break for Isner. 3:01PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-1 Isner Unreturnable serve seals the first point of the breaker for Isner. 3:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-6 Isner* (*next server) - Second set tie-break Isner punches away a volley for 0-15, but Anderson rolls off a few forehand winners and eventually holds to 30. We're into a second set tie-break. 2:55PM Anderson* 7-6, 5-6 Isner (*next server) Isner looks a little tired all of a sudden as Anderson cranks up the power to move to 30-30 again. But Isner responds in style, thwacking down two service winners to hold to 30. Anderson will serve to stay in the second set for a second time. 2:51PM Anderson 7-6, 5-5 Isner* (*next server) Anderson brushes off the disappointment of not taking that break point and holds to 15. After Isner shaded the first set performance-wise, Anderson's been the stronger player in the second. Credit: AFP 2:48PM Anderson* 7-6, 4-5 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds Well, well, what have we here ? Isner pushes a volley wide and it's 30-30. Make that 30-40 and break point Anderson after another brilliant forehand winner! Can he take it? No, Isner saves it with a punched volley. How do you break this guy?! Isner then claims the next two points and that's 106 service holds in a row at this year's Wimbledon. Had Anderson broken there he would have been serving for a two-sets lead. 2:43PM Anderson 7-6, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) Anderson responds with a love hold of his own. Can we just play the tie-break now? (Tie-breaks at 3-3 was incidentally one of the rule changes experiments with at the ATP Next Gen Finals last year). 2:40PM Anderson* 7-6, 3-4 Isner (*next server) Aaaand it's a love hold for Isner, who hasn't dropped his serve all tournament. Credit: AFP 2:38PM Anderson 7-6, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is hitting his forehand sensationally well today, snaring Isner with another crosscourt pass for 30-0. A couple of points later he completes a love hold. It feels at the moment as if we're heading inexorably for another tie-break. 2:34PM Anderson* 7-6, 2-3 Isner (*next server) Beautiful rolled forehand pass from Anderson has the Centre Court crowd in raptures. Isner reels off the next three points to go up 40-15, but a couple of excellent Anderson returns have us at deuce. Only the second time Isner's been taken to deuce today. He fends off the danger with two wicked second serves. We remain on serve, with neither player having dropped their serve so far this match. 2:29PM Anderson 7-6, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Yeah no sign of a break at the moment. Anderson holds to 15 with an 11th ace. Isner is fine to continue. 2:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Impressive game from Isner, who hits a lovely curling forehand winner on his way to a hold to love. It feels like both players are getting into ominous rhythms on their serve. Isner is getting treatement for a blister on his racket hand. Please don't let this end like Cilic's blister-induced tears in last year's final. Credit: REUTERS 2:23PM Anderson 7-6, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Isner's swinging pretty wildly and he misses a couple of backhands to help Anderson to a hold to 15. 2:18PM Anderson* 7-6, 0-1 Isner (*next server) That was a really high-level first set, so much more than just big serving. Isner started much the better and missed three break points, as well as a set point, but he'll have to put that disappointment quickly behind him. He certainly does that this game, banging down three consecutive aces in a confident hold to love. 2:15PM Anderson 7-6 Isner* (*next server) - First set Anderson A long, tense rally goes Anderson's way as Isner nets a forehand. First set Anderson. Anderson wins the tie-break 8-6, and after 63 minutes is a set to the good. Credit: Getty Images 2:13PM First set tie-break: Anderson 7-6 Isner* Isner nets a makeable backhand and it's set point Anderson. 2:12PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 6-6 Isner Well played Anderson. He hits a few nerveless forehands and saves the set point with a smash. 2:11PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 5-6 Isner A 139mph ace makes it set point Isner. 2:10PM First set tie-break: Anderson 5-5 Isner* Service winner levels things up. The next point will be a set point for one of these two... 2:09PM First set tie-break: Anderson 5-4 Isner* Brilliant low volley from Anderson makes it three points in a row for the South African. 2:08PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 4-4 Isner Anderson smash levels things up. 2:08PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 3-4 Isner What a shot! Anderson claims the mini-break back with a sensational forehand passing shot on the run. We're back on serve. 2:07PM First set tie-break: Anderson 2-4 Isner* Isner ensures he's ahead at the change of ends with a clever body serve. 2:06PM First set tie-break: Anderson 2-3 Isner* Anderson service winner reduces the deficit. 2:05PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 1-3 Isner Brilliant Isner forehand winner secures him the early mini-break. What a shot. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 1-2 Isner Isner ace gets his nose in front. No mini-breaks so far. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson 1-1 Isner* Isner levels up with a forehand volley winner. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson 1-0 Isner* Anderson forehand winner gets him the first point. 2:03PM Anderson* 6-6 Isner (*next server) - Tie-break Isner's eighth ace secures a hold to 15 and takes us into a first set tie-break. Anderson to serve first in the breaker. How's your nerve lads? 1:59PM Anderson 6-5 Isner* (*next server) Love hold for Anderson, sealed with a nifty volley. Isner will serve to stay in the first set for a second time. It's been an interesting, high-quality match so far. Anybody who thinks Isner vs Anderson is just a match between towering servebots has not been watching the match and definitely was not watching the 3d game— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) July 13, 2018 1:56PM Anderson* 5-5 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a set point and holds An awkward low return from Anderson draws a missed volley from Isner for 0-15. Isner responds with a 126 mph second serve for 15-15, but he then nets a backhand and it's 15-30 - Anderson is two points from the set. A booming serve out wide has us at 30-30, before a double fault gives Anderson a set point at 30-40! Can he take this precious opportunity? Isner has held all 99 of his previous service games at this tournament. And he clings on here with a gutsy second serve that completely jams Anderson. An ace and a service winner follow to make it 100 out of 100 service holds this tournament. Nothing Anderson could have done there, but what a huge moment that might prove to be. Make that 100 consecutive service games unbroken for @JohnIsner at #Wimbledon ���� pic.twitter.com/UK9gBlNMkh— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 1:50PM Anderson 5-4 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks a little sluggish as he fails to chase down a drop shot. Anderson then runs away with the game and holds to love. Isner will serve to stay in the first set. 1:48PM Anderson* 4-4 Isner (*next server) Two aces from Isner level the ace count at six apiece and the set at four-games all. Business end of the set incoming... 1:45PM Anderson 4-3 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is trying to mix up his serves by not solely targetting the Isner backhand. It makes sense to try and avoid being too predictable, but Isner is getting a lot of joy from thumping forehand returns. Anderson eventually holds to 15 here, as two more aces take his tally so far to six. Credit: Getty Images 1:42PM Anderson* 3-3 Isner (*next server) Anderson's last two matches have taken a combined time of nearly eight hours, so you'd expect he might have a few aching limbs. Isner is definitely leading this match 'on points' to use the boxing term. He's been by far the stronger player and slams down two aces to hold to 15. 1:39PM Anderson 3-2 Isner* (*next server) Isner is being so aggressive on his returns and is getting a good read on the Anderson serve. A couple of errors though help Anderson to a hold to 15. Anderson meanwhile has called for the trainer to deliver him a banana and a few pills. Oh dear, hopefully it's nothing serious. 1:35PM Anderson* 2-2 Isner (*next server) No mental let-down from Isner after missing those break points. An ace down the T seals a holds to 30, having raced to 40-0 up. Credit: REUTERS 1:30PM Anderson 2-1 Isner* (*next server) - Anderson saves three break points and holds Oooh, a rally of almost 10 shots breaks out which ends with Anderson netting a backhand for 30-30. Half a chance this for Isner. Anderson hits a brilliant forehand to go up 40-30, but Isner responds with one of his own for deuce. Isner then forces a break point (practically a set point?) with another huge forehand. He's absolutely nailing that shot at the moment. But he snatches at the break point by sending a forehand skidding long. Huge chance missed there. But another one presents itself straight away, as Isner absolutely smokes another forehand winner. Anderson saves this one too when a backhand kicks off the baseline and flummoxes his opponent. Moments later, Isner earns a third break point with a brilliant forehand return. And what a chance that is! But Isner misses a sitter of a volley and it's back to deuce. Blimey that looked all the world like being the break. John McEnroe says in commentary that this is the finest returning game he's ever seen Isner play. Anderson then misses a few chances of his own to win the game, as Isner continues to strike the ball beautifully off both wings. Anderson eventually holds after a game that lasts 13 minutes. He puffs his cheeks out in relief. Isner looks extremely sharp in these opening exchanges, but that's a big chance missed. 1:16PM Anderson* 1-1 Isner (*next server) Anderson gets to 15-0 with a flicked forehand pass. Isner reels off the next four points to claim the hold. 1:13PM Anderson 1-0 Isner* (*next server) Double fault and an ace to kick us off. Another ace helps Anderson to a hold to 15. 1:10PM Ready? Play Anderson won the toss and will serve first. A place in the #Wimbledon final awaits for one of @KAndersonATP and @JohnIsner… Follow it live �� �� https://t.co/N05LMuoUDMpic.twitter.com/QL51Ptc6GA— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 1:06PM They're knocking up Practising serves. Not sure you really need to lads. 1:02PM Players are out Isner hasn't dropped his serve this tournament, and has only faced seven break points. But amazingly this is his first match on Centre Court. The players step on to the court to warm applause from the crowd. 12:58PM What's it like facing Isner's serve? Simon Briggs went to find out. 12:44PM Ace, ace, ace Expect tie-breaks and very few rallies and service breaks this afternoon. As John Isner said yesterday: "When I say 'big points' I'm talking about break points for me, which are essentially set points". We all remember his 70-68 fifth set against Nicolas Mahut here eight years ago. Credit: Getty Images 12:08PM Land of the giants Back in 2004 fellow college freshmen John Isner and Kevin Anderson stepped onto court to play one another in an inter-university match. Isner was representing the university of Georgia, while Anderson was at the university of Illinois. Isner won the match, and now 14 years on here they both are on Centre Court, competing for a place in the Wimbledon final. Their paths have crossed many times in between - they met again in the 2007 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship match and have competed against each other 11 times as pros - but never on a stage as grand as this. "There could be a little mental aspect in our match," Isner said on Wednesday. "I say that because our rivalry, what have you, goes back way before the pro tour. We played each other in college probably three, four, five times. We played each other a bunch on the pro tour. "We've been lined up against each other for about 14 years now, because he left Illinois when I left Georgia. We've been doing it ever since. Credit: REUTERS "For me this matchup, and I think for him as well, is especially cool. It's a very nice spotlight on college tennis, that one of us, no matter what, is going to be playing in the Wimbledon final. We're duking it out in the semifinals. Two of us went to college, did it a little bit different route. It's pretty cool." As well as a shared history, Isner, 33 and Anderson, 32 have a lot else in common. They are both physical giants (Isner is 6ft 10in, Anderson is 6ft 8in) and possess among the finest serves in the game. They were also both viewed as underachievers until recently, with Isner winning a first Masters title in Miami in March and Anderson reaching the US Open final last year. This is the first time in the Wimbledon semis for both, and Isner leads the head to head 8-3. Credit: AP Isner - a proud Republican from North Carolina - has made the bigger noise of the two off the court this tournament when he said on Monday: "I'd love to have Trump watch me. That would be awesome.” Anderson though has received more plaudits for his on-court achievements, having become only the second man ever to beat Roger Federer from two sets down. Expect plenty of aces and very few rallies today in what promises to be an extremely close match. Personally I expect Isner to just have the edge.
Kevin Anderson defeats John Isner, in second-longest Wimbledon match of all time to reach final
Wimbledon’s marathon man John Isner was at it again, but this time he was outlasted by Kevin Anderson in an extraordinary 6hr 36min semi-final, the third-longest singles match in history. It was going to take something special to separate these gladiators as they went ace for ace and blow for blow. With the light starting to fade close to 8pm, the saga duly got the ending that it deserved. In the 49th game of the fifth set and at love-15 up, Anderson slipped at the back of the court. He fell to the ground, so did his racket, but when Isner put his return into the centre of the court, Anderson got off the canvas like Rocky, picked up his racket left-handed and got his forehand back into play to win the point. Hollywood eat your heart out. For the fourth consecutive Isner service game, Anderson was love-30 up. On every previous occasion, Isner’s blunderbuss serve, which peaked at 142mph, had come to his rescue. Not this time. A second serve was the chance that Anderson had been waiting for and he hit a forehand winner to engineer three break points. Isner had saved four previous break points in this marathon final set, which was approaching the three-hour mark. Each time he produced an ace to save his skin. The fifth was saved with a serve and volley, but he could not repeat the trick, at 15-40 putting a backhand into the net. The crowd celebrated raucously, as much with relief than anything else, but the job was not yet done and Anderson had to serve out the match. What must have been going through the 32-year-old’s head? On two of the three games that he had broken Isner, the American had broken straight back. This time he held his nerve as Isner put a forehand into the tramlines. There were no wild celebrations from Anderson despite becoming the first South African man in 97 years to reach a Wimbledon final, in part because of exhaustion, in part in sympathy for his vanquished foe who he first played on the American college circuit 14 years ago. Anderson prevails at last by winning the 99th game of the semi-final Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images “Coming through that match, obviously I’m ecstatic to be through to the finals.” Anderson said. “At the same time, you know, you feel like it should be a draw. But somebody has to win.” Eight years ago, Isner took part in the longest match in history in his 11hrs 5ms conquest of Nicolas Mahut. The 33-year-old has repeatedly said that he did not want his career be defined by that match. Fate obviously has a sick sense of humour. The Donald Trump supporter will have to wait to make American men’s tennis great again with Andy Roddick, their last male representative to reached a grand slam final nine years ago. “I feel pretty terrible,” Isner said. My left heel is killing me. I have an awful blister on my right foot. It stinks to lose, but I gave it everything I had out there. I just lost to someone who is a little bit better at the end.” Anderson’s victory is even more remarkable when you consider that in the last 16 he went three and a half hours against Gaël Monfils in the last 16 and then became only the fifth man to come from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in a four-hour plus quarter-final. We all thought he would have nothing left. How wrong we were. “You’re really in a war of attrition out there,” Anderson said. “It’s way beyond a normal tennis match or tactics. I mean, it’s just who’s going to, you know, outlast each other.” "Anderson vs Isner, a Wimbledon classic - you better believe it" A Centre Court epic ends with @KAndersonATP going through to the #Wimbledon final, beating John Isner 7-6(6), 6-7(5), 6-7(9), 6-4, 26-24 pic.twitter.com/Fv4ww2cEzK— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 That a match between the tournament’s two leading severs went to five sets was no surprise. To paraphrase Guns n’ Roses, “Take me down to tiebreak city, where the grass is green and the serves aren’t pretty.” Yet as the match progress and each man’s serve lost its rapier edge and the rallies went to script. The first three sets went according to script, although how different might the contest have been had Isner seized one of three break points in Anderson’s second service game? Anderson took the first tiebreak and double-faulted on set point in the second which allowed his opponent to draw level. Business started picking up in the third set when Isner, after winning 110 consecutive service games at this tournament, was finally broken. Almost inevitably, Isner broke back straight away as if he was righting a cosmetic imbalance. Health of players at risk The third-set tie-break was a classic bit of psychological theatre. Each man traded mini-breaks and lost set-point opportunities, notably when Anderson double-faulted at 8-7. When Anderson sent a forehand into the tramlines, Isner looked too shocked to celebrate. Showing some incredible reflexes, Anderson broke in the fourth game of the fourth set. Like night follows day, Isner broke straight back only to go love-40 down in his very next service game and this time Anderson held his nerve to take it to a fifth set that even Tolstoy would have considered overblown. 7:59PM A word for the vanquished "At the end you feel like it’s a draw, but someone has to win. John is a great guy and I really feel for him" - @KAndersonATP#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/SHU5fVNUc9— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 7:51PM Big Kev is through Anderson looks completely frazzled and the first thing he does is express his sympathy for his opponent: "I don't know how you can take playing for that long and not coming out on the winning side." 7:48PM Game, set and match! Anderson defeats Isner 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 26-24 An ace takes Anderson to 30-15. He exhales meaningfully. Isner then sends a return long and it's two match points at 40-15. And that's it! Isner pushes a forehand wide, and finally, finally it's over. Kevin Anderson is through to the Wimbledon final after 6hr 35min. 7:43PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 25-24 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Anderson falls to the floor, drops his racket and picks it up to play left-handed. And he wins the point to make it 0-30 again! That was insane! Anderson then spins away a forehand winner and it's three break points at 0-40. Surely, surely he has to take one of these?! Yes he does! Isner nets a backhand on the second one and Anderson will serve for the match! Oh my word, if Anderson gets broken here! Credit: PA 7:40PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 24-24 Isner* (*next server) Isner has not had a single break point all set, and Anderson holds again to love. 7:37PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 23-24 Isner (*next server) Right, is this it. Isner puts a tired forehand into the net and it's 0-30 again. But once again Isner bangs down a flurry of big serves and holds to 30. Isner's won enough games this set to have won four sets. 7:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 23-23 Isner* (*next server) Love hold for Anderson. What on earth must Nadal and Djokovic, who follow this match, be thinking? 7:30PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 22-23 Isner (*next server) It's another chance for Anderson, as he caresses a backhand down the line for 0-30. An ace and a missed Anderson backhand make it 30-30. Isner then flicks away a forehand for 40-30 before a missed Anderson forehand seals the hold. Credit: REUTERS 7:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 22-22 Isner* (*next server) Isner has the tiniest glimmer of a break at 15-15. Anderson slams the door shut and holds to 15. 7:23PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 21-22 Isner (*next server) Here we go again. Isner misses a forehand for 0-30 but responds with two big serves for 30-30. Anderson then duffs an easy backhand to make it 30-40, before Isner returns the favour with a netted volley for deuce. Isner desperately retrieves a low forehand and then punches away a volley to complete the hold. 7:19PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 21-21 Isner* (*next server) Isner receives rapturous applause at each of the points he wins this game, but Anderson emerges with a hold to 30. 7:14PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 20-21 Isner (*next server) Anderson sprays a forehand just wide and Isner holds on to 15. Credit: REUTERS 7:12PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 20-20 Isner* (*next server) Anderson responds with a hold to love. Genuinely starting to wonder if this will ever end. 7:12PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 19-20 Isner (*next server) No sniff for Anderson this game as Isner holds to 15. 7:07PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 19-19 Isner* (*next server) Anderson guides a backhand beautifully down the line to complete a hold to 15. For a moment at 15-15, Isner dared to ream. 7:03PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 18-19 Isner (*next server) Isner endures a shaky moment as he allows Anderson back in the game at 40-30 from 40-0, but he forces Anderson to miss a backhand and holds on. 7:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 18-18 Isner* (*next server) This set began at 4.45. Anderson holds to love, and is yet to face a break point in this final set. Credit: Getty Images 6:58PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 17-18 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves two break points and holds Isner misses a forehand for 15-30, and another forehand flies wide for 15-40 - two break points. Isner saves the first with an ace out wide. And indeed the second with an ace down the T. A service winner makes it advantage Isner, and he digs out the hold with a backhand pass. Nothing Anderson could have done there. 6:52PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 17-17 Isner* (*next server) Anderson holds to love, as the court coverers start to gather. We continue for now. Hopefully the shower will pass. 6:50PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 16-17 Isner (*next server) Still no immediate end in sight as Isner holds to 15. Play can go on until 11pm tonight. Will it end before then? And it's started to rain! On we go for the moment but it's definitely spitting. 6:47PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 16-16 Isner* (*next server) Two aces and a service winner from Anderson seals a very impressive hold. He's kept his level superbly this set. So has Isner in the main to be fair. Of all Wimbledon matches ever, only Isner v Mahut has ever lasted longer than this. Kevin Anderson vs John Isner. Officially the second longest singles match in Championships history.#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/fGGHRQaqz7— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 6:44PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 15-16 Isner (*next server) Isner nets a backhand for 0-15, and Anderson is close to 0-30 but he pulls a backhand just wide. Instead it's 15-15, and buoyed by the reprieve Isner holds to 30. 6:41PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 15-15 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is so on top at the moment in general play but he just can't get the break. He holds to 30 here having sped to 40-0. It is 15-15. 6:36PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 14-15 Isner (*next server) An ace and a forehand winner take Isner to a hold to 15. We're almost at 15-15 in games, which I always find amusing. It's the little things in life. Credit: AFP 6:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 14-14 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks knackered as he fails painfully to get to a low backhand. Anderson holds to 15. On we go. It feels like about a year since this match started. 6:30PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 13-14 Isner (*next server) "Come on guys, we want to see Rafa!" someone screams from the crowd. But the wait continues as Isner holds to 30. 6:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 13-13 Isner* (*next server) Anderson certainly looks the fresher of the two but Isner knows he's so close now to the final. Anderson keeps him at arm's length with a hold to 15 - sealed with consecutive aces out wide. Credit: REUTERS 6:23PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 12-13 Isner (*next server) A missed Isner backhand has us at 15-15, but any hopes of a break are dashed in the next few points as Isner holds to 30 with a clinical forehand winner. 6:20PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 12-12 Isner* (*next server) Still Anderson continues to serve accurately. He hasn't faced a break point in this final set, and races to 40-0 here. A forehand winner secures the hold to 15. We've been playing 5hr 9 min. 6:15PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 11-12 Isner (*next server) A blessedly straightforward hold for Isner after those recent struggles. He holds to love here. 6:14PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 11-11 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks pumped up, especially after Anderson nets a forehand volley for 0-15. Anderson responds in style again and holds to 15 after reeling off the next four points. Will this ever end? Credit: Getty Images 6:10PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 10-11 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds It's 0-30 again as Anderson whips away a forehand winner. Can Isner pull himself up from the canvas again? An ace out wide and a forehand winner make it 30-30. But a fizzing low return brings up a break point for Anderson at 30-40. He gets a look at it but miscues a backhand pass well long. Isner then bangs down an ace and heroically chases down a drop shot to seal the game. His momentum takes him into his chair for the change of ends. That was spectacular. 6:04PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 10-10 Isner* (*next server) Now it's Isner who can sniff a break, after he sends a forehand perfectly onto the baseline for 0-15. Anderson responds well though and reels off the next three points for 40-15. He eventually holds for 40-30. 5:59PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 9-10 Isner (*next server) Isner misses two forehands and it's 0-30! It's then heart in mouth time for Isner but he just clears the net with a low volley for 15-30. He then repeats the trick for 30-30 after Anderson stretched every sinew to retrieve a forehand. An ace makes it 40-30 and a volley winner completes the hold. 5:55PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 9-9 Isner* (*next server) Crazy how fresh Anderson looks given his previous matches lasted almost eight hours, and he's played nigh on five hours here. Anderson races to 40-15, but Isner is two points away from the final at deuce as Anderson sends a backhand wide at the end of a rare long rally. Anderson responds in style, with an ace and service winner to complete the hold. Credit: REUTERS 5:48PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 8-9 Isner (*next server) The players are wearying but no-one can get the break. Isner holds to 15 and the pressure swings right back to Anderson. 5:45PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 8-8 Isner* (*next server) After the drama of the last game, Anderson holds to love - sealed with an ace out wide. On we go. 5:43PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 7-8 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds Big chance here for Anderson. Isner sends a lunging volley long and Anderson's up 0-30. A hush fills Centre Court. A stupendous low volley from Isner makes it 15-30, before an ace down the T has us at 30-30. But a stinging Anderson return brings up a break point at 30-40. Isner of course saves it with an ace. Two crushing serves follow, and Isner holds. He screams "that's it!" in celebration. 5:36PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 7-7 Isner* (*next server) No dramas for Big Kev as an inside-in forehand winner seals a hold to love. Credit: REUTERS 5:33PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 6-7 Isner (*next server) An effective serve-volley play helps Isner to a hold to 15. No break points yet this set. 5:30PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 6-6 Isner* (*next server) Anderson nets a backhand. It's 0-15. Isner is three points from the final. Make that two points, as Isner smokes a forehand up the line for 15-30. Isner then sends a pair of backhands long and it's 40-30. Anderson seals the hold with a bullet serve out wide. No final set tie-breaker remember so on we go. Meanwhile... The Telegraph Sports desk has had their say on Anderson vs Isner Who will come out on top in this five set thriller, and what will the score be? @TelegraphSport#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/C3RzGzHubd— Jamie Johnson (@JamieoJohnson) July 13, 2018 5:26PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 5-6 Isner (*next server) Stinging Anderson forehand return winner has us at 15-15. In the context of the match so far, this is a chance! Isner responds well with a couple of banging serves for 40-15, and he eventually holds to 30. Anderson will serve to stay in the match for a second time. I'm going to stop writing that from here on in as he will be serving to stay in the match on every service game. 5:22PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 5-5 Isner* (*next server) Isner gets a look a couple of returns but he's a little flat footed and Anderson holds to 15. A reminder from Greg below that there's no tie-break on the final set at Wimbledon. US Open is the only grand slam where there is one. I think there should be tiebreakers in the final set at all Grand Slams as it creates more drama and allows players to recover better. Are we going to beat Isner vs Mahut record today with Anderson vs Isner Wimbledon semi?— Greg Rusedski (@GregRusedski1) July 13, 2018 5:18PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 4-5 Isner (*next server) Isner is still being bothered by that blister on his right hand. He holds to 15 and prior to the final point of the game calls for the trainer. Anderson will serve to stay in the match. 5:16PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) No let up from Anderson, who holds assertively to love. Meanwhile a word of encouragement for Isner from the last American man to reach a grand slam final. Come on John— andyroddick (@andyroddick) July 13, 2018 5:13PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 3-4 Isner (*next server) The worry is that as the players get progressively more tired they struggle even more to return. Speaking of which, Isner bangs down an ace - his 200th of the tournament - to wrap up a simple hold to 15. Credit: AP 5:11PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) Isner's won all five of the last meetings between these two. Will that mean anything as we enter the home straight? I suspect not a huge amount. Anderson holds to love as the match clock ticks into its fifth hour. 5:07PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 2-3 Isner (*next server) You've got to credit these guys, they've kept a very high level throughout. Isner sends down a couple of heat-seeking missile-like serves on his way to a breezy hold to 15. 5:04PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Isner hasn't been a break up at any point this match. It's a sequence that continues here as Anderson holds to 15. 5:01PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Isner bangs down three aces to take his tally to 39 and complete the hold. Credit: REUTERS 5:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Anderson looks fresher now than he did half an hour ago and holds easily to 15. 4:56PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 0-1 Isner (*next server) Isner picks himself up and holds to love. We've been playing 3hr 45 min. 4:53PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4 Isner* (*next server) - Fourth set Anderson! Can Anderson finally consolidate a break and in so doing take us into a deciding set? An ace takes Anderson to three set points at 40-0. Isner saves the first two with blistering returns, and the third with a howitzer of a forehand. This is insane! Anderson then earns a fourth set point with a smash, and he takes this one when Isner nets a return! We're heading for a final set. There'll be no tie-breaker remember so we could be here all night. Djokovic and Nadal continue to wait... Marathon men...@KAndersonATP wins the fourth set 6-4 against John Isner and the battle for a place in the #Wimbledon final goes all the way... pic.twitter.com/MagHg8E5zo— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 4:47PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 5-4 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Isner nets a half-volley and then does likewise on a backhand to gift Anderson a break point at 30-40. Anderson takes it with a backhand pass that flies past his opponent. Unbelievable. Anderson, who is breathing a little heavily now, will serve to take us into a fifth set. 4:43PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) Some normality restored as Anderson holds to love. On we go... Credit: Reuters 4:40PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-4 Isner (*next server) Isner double faults for 30-30. Surely not a third consecutive break in a row? No. Isner slams down a big serve and is then relieved as Anderson misses an easy backhand pass. 4:37PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) - Isner breaks back! The last time he broke Anderson was broken back immediately. Can he consolidate it this time? Possibly not, because Isner has rolled a forehand pass down the line for 15-30. It's then break back point for Isner as Anderson pushes a backhand pass long to make it 30-40. And Isner gets the instant break back again! This time with a backhand pass up the line. Neither man can quite believe it. 4:33PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-2 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Really good backhand pass on the run from Anderson gets him to 40-30, and an even better backhand return winner has us at deuce. Isner then gets a time violation warning before the next serve, and would you believe it Anderson flicks away another return winner to bring up a break point! Can he take it? Yes, he can! A fourth consecutive sensational shot from Anderson forces Isner into missing a half-volley, and out of nowhere he has the break. That was unreal returning from Anderson. Credit: PA 4:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Anderson regroups and holds comfortably to 15. Are we heading for another tie-break? 4:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Isner's on a groove on his serve and holds to love. With Isner serving first, he pressure will be on Anderson throughout this set. 4:21PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Isner is bouncing around the court, looking for the early kill at the start of the fourth set. But Anderson clings on and holds to 30. Credit: AP 4:17PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 0-1 Isner (*next server) Love hold from Isner to kick off the fourth set. 4:16PM Anderson's back out What must be going through his mind. He served for the third set and had a sitter to go up 40-15 in that game. He then double faulted when up set point in the breaker. How will he respond? 4:11PM Medical time out Anderson has left the court to receive treatment. 4:09PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7 Isner* (*next server) - Third set Isner Anderson pushes a forehand wide and that's the set for Isner. He takes the tie-break 11-9. After almost three hours Isner leads two sets to one. Anderson served for the set and had two set points, but he has it all to do now. Credit: REUTERS 4:08PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 9-10 Isner Anderson nets a backhand return and it's set point #3 for Isner. 4:07PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 9-9 Isner* A huge 136mph ace out wide saves it. The players change ends again. 4:06PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 9-8 Isner* An ace down the T makes it set point Anderson. Oh no it doesn't - Isner challenges and Hawk-Eye shows the ball to be out. A forehand winner does then make it set point Anderson #2. 4:05PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 8-8 Isner Oh dear, Anderson has double faulted! On we go. 4:04PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 8-7 Isner It's set point Anderson! He guides a backhand pass up the line, and will have this set point on his own serve. 4:04PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 7-7 Isner* Anderson saves it with a brilliant forehand pass! Wow, what a shot that was under immense pressure. 4:03PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 6-7 Isner* Anderson sends a forehand long and it's set point Isner. The American has this one on his own serve... 4:02PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 6-6 Isner Isner can't return a big serve down the T and Anderson clings on. 4:01PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 5-6 Isner Isner then produces another wondrous low volley to earn himself a set point. The crowd loved that. What a couple of points. 4:00PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 5-5 Isner* Sensational low pick-up from Isner levels the breaker up. 3:59PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 5-4 Isner* Service winner puts Anderson in front. Blimey, this is tense. 3:59PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 4-4 Isner Isner gets the mini-break with a forehand down the line. Anderson again could have done more with his forehand the shot before. 3:58PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 4-3 Isner Anderson guides a backhand down the line to secure the mini-break. Huge roar from the crowd. 3:57PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 3-3 Isner* An Isner ace down the T ensures the players are level at the change of ends. 3:56PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 2-3 Isner* Service winner puts Anderson in front. 3:55PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 2-2 Isner Forehand winner from Anderson levels things up. 3:55PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 1-2 Isner Stunning Anderson forehand winner return gets the mini-break back. That's the shot of the match so far. 3:54PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 0-2 Isner* An ace down the T doubles Isner's lead. 3:54PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 0-1 Isner* Anderson completely miscues a forehand, and it's an instant mini-break for Isner. 3:53PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-6 Isner (*next server) - third set tie-break Tense moments for Isner as he misses a forehand and double faults for 30-30. Anderson is two points from the set. Isner responds with his hardest serve of the match - a 142mph bomb for 40-30. An ace down the T then wraps up the game. We're into a third set tie-break. 3:49PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-5 Isner* (*next server) A love hold for Anderson. How he could have done with that a couple of games ago. Isner gets some more tape for the blister on his right hand. Once he's patched up he'll serve to stay in the third set for a second time. Credit: PA 3:46PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 5-5 Isner (*next server) Isner looks seriously pumped. He flicks away two neat volleys for 30-0, before two aces help him to a hold to 15. We're back on serve in the third set. 3:43PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 5-4 Isner* (*next server) - Isner breaks back! Imagine if after that Anderson got broken now. It could just happen. He makes a mess of an easy forehand, allowing Isner to guide a backhand pass down the line for 30-30. And then a long backhand from Anderson gives Isner a break back point at 30-40. And he takes it! Anderson nets an attempted forehand pass and we're back on serve. I do not believe that. Anderson missed a glorious chance to go up 40-15, and how he might regret losing his serve there. 3:39PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 5-3 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Isner's been on top this set but Anderson thumps a forehand up the line for 0-15. Isner then nets a forehand and it's 15-30. Chance here for Anderson. Big chance now, as Isner sends a forehand wide! It's two break points for Anderson at 15-40. Will Isner finally be broken at this year's Wimbledon? Yes! At last, Isner drops his serve. It's a brilliant Anderson backhand return that leaves Isner sprawling at the net. After 110 straight service holds this tournament, Isner is finally broken. Anderson will serve for the third set. Credit: Getty Images 3:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 4-3 Isner* (*next server) Isner again has a sniff by winning the first point of an Anderson service game, but Big Kev steels himself once more and holds to 30. 3:31PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 3-3 Isner (*next server) Another excellent half-volley pick-up from Isner helps him on his way to a hold to 15. 3:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 3-2 Isner* (*next server) A booming ace down the T secures a hold to 15 for Anderson. At the last change of ends it looked as though the umpire had a word with Isner about receiving coaching from his box. Isner angrily refutes the suggestion. 3:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 2-2 Isner (*next server) No such issues on the Isner serve as he holds to love. Credit: REUTERS 3:20PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 2-1 Isner* (*next server) First opening that Isner has had on the Anderson serve for an absolute age, as the South African nets a forehand for 15-30. Isner has a good chance at two break points but he nets a forehand off an Anderson second serve to make it 30-30. Isner then overhits a return for 40-30. A relieved Anderson screams "yes!" in celebration, and then thwacks away a forehand winner to complete the hold. A big opportunity missed for Isner. 3:17PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 1-1 Isner (*next server) Beautiful pick-up from Isner secures a hold to 15. He hit that from absolute no-man's land between the baseline and service line. Ridiculous stat below by the way... Kevin Anderson hit one unforced error in the last set and lost it.— Tumaini Carayol (@tumcarayol) July 13, 2018 3:14PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 1-0 Isner* (*next server) Anderson holds to love in the blink of an eye. Who's going to crack here? No breaks of serve all match remember. Credit: BBC 3:10PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7 Isner (*next server) - Second set Isner Isner sends an ace flying screaming down the T and he lets out a huge roar in celebration after winning the tie-break 7-5. It's one-set all after exactly two hours. Djokovic and Nadal could be waiting a while longer... Credit: REUTERS 3:08PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 5-6 Isner* Isner nets a forehand so on we go. The third set point though will be on the Isner serve...what have you got big John? 3:07PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 4-6 Isner Anderson saves the first set point with an ace out wide. 3:07PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 3-6 Isner Service winner brings up three set points for Isner. 3:06PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 3-5 Isner* Anderson gets one of the mini-breaks back with a backhand winner. Isner had thought he was 6-2 up but a Hawk-Eye challenge showed his serve to be out. 3:05PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 2-5 Isner* Another ace down the T reduces the deficit. 3:04PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 1-5 Isner An ace down the T gets Anderson off the mark. 3:03PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-5 Isner Unreturned serve extends Isner's lead. 3:03PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 0-4 Isner* A serve-volley play ends in an easy smash for Isner. He's running away with this. 3:02PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 0-3 Isner* Wow, another stunning return sets Isner up for an easy forehand put-away. He's two mini-breaks to the good. 3:01PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-2 Isner Blistering service return secures an instant mini-break for Isner. 3:01PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-1 Isner Unreturnable serve seals the first point of the breaker for Isner. 3:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-6 Isner* (*next server) - Second set tie-break Isner punches away a volley for 0-15, but Anderson rolls off a few forehand winners and eventually holds to 30. We're into a second set tie-break. 2:55PM Anderson* 7-6, 5-6 Isner (*next server) Isner looks a little tired all of a sudden as Anderson cranks up the power to move to 30-30 again. But Isner responds in style, thwacking down two service winners to hold to 30. Anderson will serve to stay in the second set for a second time. 2:51PM Anderson 7-6, 5-5 Isner* (*next server) Anderson brushes off the disappointment of not taking that break point and holds to 15. After Isner shaded the first set performance-wise, Anderson's been the stronger player in the second. Credit: AFP 2:48PM Anderson* 7-6, 4-5 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds Well, well, what have we here ? Isner pushes a volley wide and it's 30-30. Make that 30-40 and break point Anderson after another brilliant forehand winner! Can he take it? No, Isner saves it with a punched volley. How do you break this guy?! Isner then claims the next two points and that's 106 service holds in a row at this year's Wimbledon. Had Anderson broken there he would have been serving for a two-sets lead. 2:43PM Anderson 7-6, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) Anderson responds with a love hold of his own. Can we just play the tie-break now? (Tie-breaks at 3-3 was incidentally one of the rule changes experiments with at the ATP Next Gen Finals last year). 2:40PM Anderson* 7-6, 3-4 Isner (*next server) Aaaand it's a love hold for Isner, who hasn't dropped his serve all tournament. Credit: AFP 2:38PM Anderson 7-6, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is hitting his forehand sensationally well today, snaring Isner with another crosscourt pass for 30-0. A couple of points later he completes a love hold. It feels at the moment as if we're heading inexorably for another tie-break. 2:34PM Anderson* 7-6, 2-3 Isner (*next server) Beautiful rolled forehand pass from Anderson has the Centre Court crowd in raptures. Isner reels off the next three points to go up 40-15, but a couple of excellent Anderson returns have us at deuce. Only the second time Isner's been taken to deuce today. He fends off the danger with two wicked second serves. We remain on serve, with neither player having dropped their serve so far this match. 2:29PM Anderson 7-6, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Yeah no sign of a break at the moment. Anderson holds to 15 with an 11th ace. Isner is fine to continue. 2:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Impressive game from Isner, who hits a lovely curling forehand winner on his way to a hold to love. It feels like both players are getting into ominous rhythms on their serve. Isner is getting treatement for a blister on his racket hand. Please don't let this end like Cilic's blister-induced tears in last year's final. Credit: REUTERS 2:23PM Anderson 7-6, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Isner's swinging pretty wildly and he misses a couple of backhands to help Anderson to a hold to 15. 2:18PM Anderson* 7-6, 0-1 Isner (*next server) That was a really high-level first set, so much more than just big serving. Isner started much the better and missed three break points, as well as a set point, but he'll have to put that disappointment quickly behind him. He certainly does that this game, banging down three consecutive aces in a confident hold to love. 2:15PM Anderson 7-6 Isner* (*next server) - First set Anderson A long, tense rally goes Anderson's way as Isner nets a forehand. First set Anderson. Anderson wins the tie-break 8-6, and after 63 minutes is a set to the good. Credit: Getty Images 2:13PM First set tie-break: Anderson 7-6 Isner* Isner nets a makeable backhand and it's set point Anderson. 2:12PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 6-6 Isner Well played Anderson. He hits a few nerveless forehands and saves the set point with a smash. 2:11PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 5-6 Isner A 139mph ace makes it set point Isner. 2:10PM First set tie-break: Anderson 5-5 Isner* Service winner levels things up. The next point will be a set point for one of these two... 2:09PM First set tie-break: Anderson 5-4 Isner* Brilliant low volley from Anderson makes it three points in a row for the South African. 2:08PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 4-4 Isner Anderson smash levels things up. 2:08PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 3-4 Isner What a shot! Anderson claims the mini-break back with a sensational forehand passing shot on the run. We're back on serve. 2:07PM First set tie-break: Anderson 2-4 Isner* Isner ensures he's ahead at the change of ends with a clever body serve. 2:06PM First set tie-break: Anderson 2-3 Isner* Anderson service winner reduces the deficit. 2:05PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 1-3 Isner Brilliant Isner forehand winner secures him the early mini-break. What a shot. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 1-2 Isner Isner ace gets his nose in front. No mini-breaks so far. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson 1-1 Isner* Isner levels up with a forehand volley winner. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson 1-0 Isner* Anderson forehand winner gets him the first point. 2:03PM Anderson* 6-6 Isner (*next server) - Tie-break Isner's eighth ace secures a hold to 15 and takes us into a first set tie-break. Anderson to serve first in the breaker. How's your nerve lads? 1:59PM Anderson 6-5 Isner* (*next server) Love hold for Anderson, sealed with a nifty volley. Isner will serve to stay in the first set for a second time. It's been an interesting, high-quality match so far. Anybody who thinks Isner vs Anderson is just a match between towering servebots has not been watching the match and definitely was not watching the 3d game— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) July 13, 2018 1:56PM Anderson* 5-5 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a set point and holds An awkward low return from Anderson draws a missed volley from Isner for 0-15. Isner responds with a 126 mph second serve for 15-15, but he then nets a backhand and it's 15-30 - Anderson is two points from the set. A booming serve out wide has us at 30-30, before a double fault gives Anderson a set point at 30-40! Can he take this precious opportunity? Isner has held all 99 of his previous service games at this tournament. And he clings on here with a gutsy second serve that completely jams Anderson. An ace and a service winner follow to make it 100 out of 100 service holds this tournament. Nothing Anderson could have done there, but what a huge moment that might prove to be. Make that 100 consecutive service games unbroken for @JohnIsner at #Wimbledon ���� pic.twitter.com/UK9gBlNMkh— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 1:50PM Anderson 5-4 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks a little sluggish as he fails to chase down a drop shot. Anderson then runs away with the game and holds to love. Isner will serve to stay in the first set. 1:48PM Anderson* 4-4 Isner (*next server) Two aces from Isner level the ace count at six apiece and the set at four-games all. Business end of the set incoming... 1:45PM Anderson 4-3 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is trying to mix up his serves by not solely targetting the Isner backhand. It makes sense to try and avoid being too predictable, but Isner is getting a lot of joy from thumping forehand returns. Anderson eventually holds to 15 here, as two more aces take his tally so far to six. Credit: Getty Images 1:42PM Anderson* 3-3 Isner (*next server) Anderson's last two matches have taken a combined time of nearly eight hours, so you'd expect he might have a few aching limbs. Isner is definitely leading this match 'on points' to use the boxing term. He's been by far the stronger player and slams down two aces to hold to 15. 1:39PM Anderson 3-2 Isner* (*next server) Isner is being so aggressive on his returns and is getting a good read on the Anderson serve. A couple of errors though help Anderson to a hold to 15. Anderson meanwhile has called for the trainer to deliver him a banana and a few pills. Oh dear, hopefully it's nothing serious. 1:35PM Anderson* 2-2 Isner (*next server) No mental let-down from Isner after missing those break points. An ace down the T seals a holds to 30, having raced to 40-0 up. Credit: REUTERS 1:30PM Anderson 2-1 Isner* (*next server) - Anderson saves three break points and holds Oooh, a rally of almost 10 shots breaks out which ends with Anderson netting a backhand for 30-30. Half a chance this for Isner. Anderson hits a brilliant forehand to go up 40-30, but Isner responds with one of his own for deuce. Isner then forces a break point (practically a set point?) with another huge forehand. He's absolutely nailing that shot at the moment. But he snatches at the break point by sending a forehand skidding long. Huge chance missed there. But another one presents itself straight away, as Isner absolutely smokes another forehand winner. Anderson saves this one too when a backhand kicks off the baseline and flummoxes his opponent. Moments later, Isner earns a third break point with a brilliant forehand return. And what a chance that is! But Isner misses a sitter of a volley and it's back to deuce. Blimey that looked all the world like being the break. John McEnroe says in commentary that this is the finest returning game he's ever seen Isner play. Anderson then misses a few chances of his own to win the game, as Isner continues to strike the ball beautifully off both wings. Anderson eventually holds after a game that lasts 13 minutes. He puffs his cheeks out in relief. Isner looks extremely sharp in these opening exchanges, but that's a big chance missed. 1:16PM Anderson* 1-1 Isner (*next server) Anderson gets to 15-0 with a flicked forehand pass. Isner reels off the next four points to claim the hold. 1:13PM Anderson 1-0 Isner* (*next server) Double fault and an ace to kick us off. Another ace helps Anderson to a hold to 15. 1:10PM Ready? Play Anderson won the toss and will serve first. A place in the #Wimbledon final awaits for one of @KAndersonATP and @JohnIsner… Follow it live �� �� https://t.co/N05LMuoUDMpic.twitter.com/QL51Ptc6GA— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 1:06PM They're knocking up Practising serves. Not sure you really need to lads. 1:02PM Players are out Isner hasn't dropped his serve this tournament, and has only faced seven break points. But amazingly this is his first match on Centre Court. The players step on to the court to warm applause from the crowd. 12:58PM What's it like facing Isner's serve? Simon Briggs went to find out. 12:44PM Ace, ace, ace Expect tie-breaks and very few rallies and service breaks this afternoon. As John Isner said yesterday: "When I say 'big points' I'm talking about break points for me, which are essentially set points". We all remember his 70-68 fifth set against Nicolas Mahut here eight years ago. Credit: Getty Images 12:08PM Land of the giants Back in 2004 fellow college freshmen John Isner and Kevin Anderson stepped onto court to play one another in an inter-university match. Isner was representing the university of Georgia, while Anderson was at the university of Illinois. Isner won the match, and now 14 years on here they both are on Centre Court, competing for a place in the Wimbledon final. Their paths have crossed many times in between - they met again in the 2007 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship match and have competed against each other 11 times as pros - but never on a stage as grand as this. "There could be a little mental aspect in our match," Isner said on Wednesday. "I say that because our rivalry, what have you, goes back way before the pro tour. We played each other in college probably three, four, five times. We played each other a bunch on the pro tour. "We've been lined up against each other for about 14 years now, because he left Illinois when I left Georgia. We've been doing it ever since. Credit: REUTERS "For me this matchup, and I think for him as well, is especially cool. It's a very nice spotlight on college tennis, that one of us, no matter what, is going to be playing in the Wimbledon final. We're duking it out in the semifinals. Two of us went to college, did it a little bit different route. It's pretty cool." As well as a shared history, Isner, 33 and Anderson, 32 have a lot else in common. They are both physical giants (Isner is 6ft 10in, Anderson is 6ft 8in) and possess among the finest serves in the game. They were also both viewed as underachievers until recently, with Isner winning a first Masters title in Miami in March and Anderson reaching the US Open final last year. This is the first time in the Wimbledon semis for both, and Isner leads the head to head 8-3. Credit: AP Isner - a proud Republican from North Carolina - has made the bigger noise of the two off the court this tournament when he said on Monday: "I'd love to have Trump watch me. That would be awesome.” Anderson though has received more plaudits for his on-court achievements, having become only the second man ever to beat Roger Federer from two sets down. Expect plenty of aces and very few rallies today in what promises to be an extremely close match. Personally I expect Isner to just have the edge.
Wimbledon’s marathon man John Isner was at it again, but this time he was outlasted by Kevin Anderson in an extraordinary 6hr 36min semi-final, the third-longest singles match in history. It was going to take something special to separate these gladiators as they went ace for ace and blow for blow. With the light starting to fade close to 8pm, the saga duly got the ending that it deserved. In the 49th game of the fifth set and at love-15 up, Anderson slipped at the back of the court. He fell to the ground, so did his racket, but when Isner put his return into the centre of the court, Anderson got off the canvas like Rocky, picked up his racket left-handed and got his forehand back into play to win the point. Hollywood eat your heart out. For the fourth consecutive Isner service game, Anderson was love-30 up. On every previous occasion, Isner’s blunderbuss serve, which peaked at 142mph, had come to his rescue. Not this time. A second serve was the chance that Anderson had been waiting for and he hit a forehand winner to engineer three break points. Isner had saved four previous break points in this marathon final set, which was approaching the three-hour mark. Each time he produced an ace to save his skin. The fifth was saved with a serve and volley, but he could not repeat the trick, at 15-40 putting a backhand into the net. The crowd celebrated raucously, as much with relief than anything else, but the job was not yet done and Anderson had to serve out the match. What must have been going through the 32-year-old’s head? On two of the three games that he had broken Isner, the American had broken straight back. This time he held his nerve as Isner put a forehand into the tramlines. There were no wild celebrations from Anderson despite becoming the first South African man in 97 years to reach a Wimbledon final, in part because of exhaustion, in part in sympathy for his vanquished foe who he first played on the American college circuit 14 years ago. Anderson prevails at last by winning the 99th game of the semi-final Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images “Coming through that match, obviously I’m ecstatic to be through to the finals.” Anderson said. “At the same time, you know, you feel like it should be a draw. But somebody has to win.” Eight years ago, Isner took part in the longest match in history in his 11hrs 5ms conquest of Nicolas Mahut. The 33-year-old has repeatedly said that he did not want his career be defined by that match. Fate obviously has a sick sense of humour. The Donald Trump supporter will have to wait to make American men’s tennis great again with Andy Roddick, their last male representative to reached a grand slam final nine years ago. “I feel pretty terrible,” Isner said. My left heel is killing me. I have an awful blister on my right foot. It stinks to lose, but I gave it everything I had out there. I just lost to someone who is a little bit better at the end.” Anderson’s victory is even more remarkable when you consider that in the last 16 he went three and a half hours against Gaël Monfils in the last 16 and then became only the fifth man to come from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in a four-hour plus quarter-final. We all thought he would have nothing left. How wrong we were. “You’re really in a war of attrition out there,” Anderson said. “It’s way beyond a normal tennis match or tactics. I mean, it’s just who’s going to, you know, outlast each other.” "Anderson vs Isner, a Wimbledon classic - you better believe it" A Centre Court epic ends with @KAndersonATP going through to the #Wimbledon final, beating John Isner 7-6(6), 6-7(5), 6-7(9), 6-4, 26-24 pic.twitter.com/Fv4ww2cEzK— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 That a match between the tournament’s two leading severs went to five sets was no surprise. To paraphrase Guns n’ Roses, “Take me down to tiebreak city, where the grass is green and the serves aren’t pretty.” Yet as the match progress and each man’s serve lost its rapier edge and the rallies went to script. The first three sets went according to script, although how different might the contest have been had Isner seized one of three break points in Anderson’s second service game? Anderson took the first tiebreak and double-faulted on set point in the second which allowed his opponent to draw level. Business started picking up in the third set when Isner, after winning 110 consecutive service games at this tournament, was finally broken. Almost inevitably, Isner broke back straight away as if he was righting a cosmetic imbalance. Health of players at risk The third-set tie-break was a classic bit of psychological theatre. Each man traded mini-breaks and lost set-point opportunities, notably when Anderson double-faulted at 8-7. When Anderson sent a forehand into the tramlines, Isner looked too shocked to celebrate. Showing some incredible reflexes, Anderson broke in the fourth game of the fourth set. Like night follows day, Isner broke straight back only to go love-40 down in his very next service game and this time Anderson held his nerve to take it to a fifth set that even Tolstoy would have considered overblown. 7:59PM A word for the vanquished "At the end you feel like it’s a draw, but someone has to win. John is a great guy and I really feel for him" - @KAndersonATP#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/SHU5fVNUc9— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 7:51PM Big Kev is through Anderson looks completely frazzled and the first thing he does is express his sympathy for his opponent: "I don't know how you can take playing for that long and not coming out on the winning side." 7:48PM Game, set and match! Anderson defeats Isner 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 26-24 An ace takes Anderson to 30-15. He exhales meaningfully. Isner then sends a return long and it's two match points at 40-15. And that's it! Isner pushes a forehand wide, and finally, finally it's over. Kevin Anderson is through to the Wimbledon final after 6hr 35min. 7:43PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 25-24 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Anderson falls to the floor, drops his racket and picks it up to play left-handed. And he wins the point to make it 0-30 again! That was insane! Anderson then spins away a forehand winner and it's three break points at 0-40. Surely, surely he has to take one of these?! Yes he does! Isner nets a backhand on the second one and Anderson will serve for the match! Oh my word, if Anderson gets broken here! Credit: PA 7:40PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 24-24 Isner* (*next server) Isner has not had a single break point all set, and Anderson holds again to love. 7:37PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 23-24 Isner (*next server) Right, is this it. Isner puts a tired forehand into the net and it's 0-30 again. But once again Isner bangs down a flurry of big serves and holds to 30. Isner's won enough games this set to have won four sets. 7:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 23-23 Isner* (*next server) Love hold for Anderson. What on earth must Nadal and Djokovic, who follow this match, be thinking? 7:30PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 22-23 Isner (*next server) It's another chance for Anderson, as he caresses a backhand down the line for 0-30. An ace and a missed Anderson backhand make it 30-30. Isner then flicks away a forehand for 40-30 before a missed Anderson forehand seals the hold. Credit: REUTERS 7:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 22-22 Isner* (*next server) Isner has the tiniest glimmer of a break at 15-15. Anderson slams the door shut and holds to 15. 7:23PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 21-22 Isner (*next server) Here we go again. Isner misses a forehand for 0-30 but responds with two big serves for 30-30. Anderson then duffs an easy backhand to make it 30-40, before Isner returns the favour with a netted volley for deuce. Isner desperately retrieves a low forehand and then punches away a volley to complete the hold. 7:19PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 21-21 Isner* (*next server) Isner receives rapturous applause at each of the points he wins this game, but Anderson emerges with a hold to 30. 7:14PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 20-21 Isner (*next server) Anderson sprays a forehand just wide and Isner holds on to 15. Credit: REUTERS 7:12PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 20-20 Isner* (*next server) Anderson responds with a hold to love. Genuinely starting to wonder if this will ever end. 7:12PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 19-20 Isner (*next server) No sniff for Anderson this game as Isner holds to 15. 7:07PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 19-19 Isner* (*next server) Anderson guides a backhand beautifully down the line to complete a hold to 15. For a moment at 15-15, Isner dared to ream. 7:03PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 18-19 Isner (*next server) Isner endures a shaky moment as he allows Anderson back in the game at 40-30 from 40-0, but he forces Anderson to miss a backhand and holds on. 7:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 18-18 Isner* (*next server) This set began at 4.45. Anderson holds to love, and is yet to face a break point in this final set. Credit: Getty Images 6:58PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 17-18 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves two break points and holds Isner misses a forehand for 15-30, and another forehand flies wide for 15-40 - two break points. Isner saves the first with an ace out wide. And indeed the second with an ace down the T. A service winner makes it advantage Isner, and he digs out the hold with a backhand pass. Nothing Anderson could have done there. 6:52PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 17-17 Isner* (*next server) Anderson holds to love, as the court coverers start to gather. We continue for now. Hopefully the shower will pass. 6:50PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 16-17 Isner (*next server) Still no immediate end in sight as Isner holds to 15. Play can go on until 11pm tonight. Will it end before then? And it's started to rain! On we go for the moment but it's definitely spitting. 6:47PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 16-16 Isner* (*next server) Two aces and a service winner from Anderson seals a very impressive hold. He's kept his level superbly this set. So has Isner in the main to be fair. Of all Wimbledon matches ever, only Isner v Mahut has ever lasted longer than this. Kevin Anderson vs John Isner. Officially the second longest singles match in Championships history.#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/fGGHRQaqz7— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 6:44PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 15-16 Isner (*next server) Isner nets a backhand for 0-15, and Anderson is close to 0-30 but he pulls a backhand just wide. Instead it's 15-15, and buoyed by the reprieve Isner holds to 30. 6:41PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 15-15 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is so on top at the moment in general play but he just can't get the break. He holds to 30 here having sped to 40-0. It is 15-15. 6:36PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 14-15 Isner (*next server) An ace and a forehand winner take Isner to a hold to 15. We're almost at 15-15 in games, which I always find amusing. It's the little things in life. Credit: AFP 6:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 14-14 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks knackered as he fails painfully to get to a low backhand. Anderson holds to 15. On we go. It feels like about a year since this match started. 6:30PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 13-14 Isner (*next server) "Come on guys, we want to see Rafa!" someone screams from the crowd. But the wait continues as Isner holds to 30. 6:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 13-13 Isner* (*next server) Anderson certainly looks the fresher of the two but Isner knows he's so close now to the final. Anderson keeps him at arm's length with a hold to 15 - sealed with consecutive aces out wide. Credit: REUTERS 6:23PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 12-13 Isner (*next server) A missed Isner backhand has us at 15-15, but any hopes of a break are dashed in the next few points as Isner holds to 30 with a clinical forehand winner. 6:20PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 12-12 Isner* (*next server) Still Anderson continues to serve accurately. He hasn't faced a break point in this final set, and races to 40-0 here. A forehand winner secures the hold to 15. We've been playing 5hr 9 min. 6:15PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 11-12 Isner (*next server) A blessedly straightforward hold for Isner after those recent struggles. He holds to love here. 6:14PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 11-11 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks pumped up, especially after Anderson nets a forehand volley for 0-15. Anderson responds in style again and holds to 15 after reeling off the next four points. Will this ever end? Credit: Getty Images 6:10PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 10-11 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds It's 0-30 again as Anderson whips away a forehand winner. Can Isner pull himself up from the canvas again? An ace out wide and a forehand winner make it 30-30. But a fizzing low return brings up a break point for Anderson at 30-40. He gets a look at it but miscues a backhand pass well long. Isner then bangs down an ace and heroically chases down a drop shot to seal the game. His momentum takes him into his chair for the change of ends. That was spectacular. 6:04PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 10-10 Isner* (*next server) Now it's Isner who can sniff a break, after he sends a forehand perfectly onto the baseline for 0-15. Anderson responds well though and reels off the next three points for 40-15. He eventually holds for 40-30. 5:59PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 9-10 Isner (*next server) Isner misses two forehands and it's 0-30! It's then heart in mouth time for Isner but he just clears the net with a low volley for 15-30. He then repeats the trick for 30-30 after Anderson stretched every sinew to retrieve a forehand. An ace makes it 40-30 and a volley winner completes the hold. 5:55PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 9-9 Isner* (*next server) Crazy how fresh Anderson looks given his previous matches lasted almost eight hours, and he's played nigh on five hours here. Anderson races to 40-15, but Isner is two points away from the final at deuce as Anderson sends a backhand wide at the end of a rare long rally. Anderson responds in style, with an ace and service winner to complete the hold. Credit: REUTERS 5:48PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 8-9 Isner (*next server) The players are wearying but no-one can get the break. Isner holds to 15 and the pressure swings right back to Anderson. 5:45PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 8-8 Isner* (*next server) After the drama of the last game, Anderson holds to love - sealed with an ace out wide. On we go. 5:43PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 7-8 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds Big chance here for Anderson. Isner sends a lunging volley long and Anderson's up 0-30. A hush fills Centre Court. A stupendous low volley from Isner makes it 15-30, before an ace down the T has us at 30-30. But a stinging Anderson return brings up a break point at 30-40. Isner of course saves it with an ace. Two crushing serves follow, and Isner holds. He screams "that's it!" in celebration. 5:36PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 7-7 Isner* (*next server) No dramas for Big Kev as an inside-in forehand winner seals a hold to love. Credit: REUTERS 5:33PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 6-7 Isner (*next server) An effective serve-volley play helps Isner to a hold to 15. No break points yet this set. 5:30PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 6-6 Isner* (*next server) Anderson nets a backhand. It's 0-15. Isner is three points from the final. Make that two points, as Isner smokes a forehand up the line for 15-30. Isner then sends a pair of backhands long and it's 40-30. Anderson seals the hold with a bullet serve out wide. No final set tie-breaker remember so on we go. Meanwhile... The Telegraph Sports desk has had their say on Anderson vs Isner Who will come out on top in this five set thriller, and what will the score be? @TelegraphSport#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/C3RzGzHubd— Jamie Johnson (@JamieoJohnson) July 13, 2018 5:26PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 5-6 Isner (*next server) Stinging Anderson forehand return winner has us at 15-15. In the context of the match so far, this is a chance! Isner responds well with a couple of banging serves for 40-15, and he eventually holds to 30. Anderson will serve to stay in the match for a second time. I'm going to stop writing that from here on in as he will be serving to stay in the match on every service game. 5:22PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 5-5 Isner* (*next server) Isner gets a look a couple of returns but he's a little flat footed and Anderson holds to 15. A reminder from Greg below that there's no tie-break on the final set at Wimbledon. US Open is the only grand slam where there is one. I think there should be tiebreakers in the final set at all Grand Slams as it creates more drama and allows players to recover better. Are we going to beat Isner vs Mahut record today with Anderson vs Isner Wimbledon semi?— Greg Rusedski (@GregRusedski1) July 13, 2018 5:18PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 4-5 Isner (*next server) Isner is still being bothered by that blister on his right hand. He holds to 15 and prior to the final point of the game calls for the trainer. Anderson will serve to stay in the match. 5:16PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) No let up from Anderson, who holds assertively to love. Meanwhile a word of encouragement for Isner from the last American man to reach a grand slam final. Come on John— andyroddick (@andyroddick) July 13, 2018 5:13PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 3-4 Isner (*next server) The worry is that as the players get progressively more tired they struggle even more to return. Speaking of which, Isner bangs down an ace - his 200th of the tournament - to wrap up a simple hold to 15. Credit: AP 5:11PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) Isner's won all five of the last meetings between these two. Will that mean anything as we enter the home straight? I suspect not a huge amount. Anderson holds to love as the match clock ticks into its fifth hour. 5:07PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 2-3 Isner (*next server) You've got to credit these guys, they've kept a very high level throughout. Isner sends down a couple of heat-seeking missile-like serves on his way to a breezy hold to 15. 5:04PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Isner hasn't been a break up at any point this match. It's a sequence that continues here as Anderson holds to 15. 5:01PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Isner bangs down three aces to take his tally to 39 and complete the hold. Credit: REUTERS 5:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Anderson looks fresher now than he did half an hour ago and holds easily to 15. 4:56PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 0-1 Isner (*next server) Isner picks himself up and holds to love. We've been playing 3hr 45 min. 4:53PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4 Isner* (*next server) - Fourth set Anderson! Can Anderson finally consolidate a break and in so doing take us into a deciding set? An ace takes Anderson to three set points at 40-0. Isner saves the first two with blistering returns, and the third with a howitzer of a forehand. This is insane! Anderson then earns a fourth set point with a smash, and he takes this one when Isner nets a return! We're heading for a final set. There'll be no tie-breaker remember so we could be here all night. Djokovic and Nadal continue to wait... Marathon men...@KAndersonATP wins the fourth set 6-4 against John Isner and the battle for a place in the #Wimbledon final goes all the way... pic.twitter.com/MagHg8E5zo— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 4:47PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 5-4 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Isner nets a half-volley and then does likewise on a backhand to gift Anderson a break point at 30-40. Anderson takes it with a backhand pass that flies past his opponent. Unbelievable. Anderson, who is breathing a little heavily now, will serve to take us into a fifth set. 4:43PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) Some normality restored as Anderson holds to love. On we go... Credit: Reuters 4:40PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-4 Isner (*next server) Isner double faults for 30-30. Surely not a third consecutive break in a row? No. Isner slams down a big serve and is then relieved as Anderson misses an easy backhand pass. 4:37PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) - Isner breaks back! The last time he broke Anderson was broken back immediately. Can he consolidate it this time? Possibly not, because Isner has rolled a forehand pass down the line for 15-30. It's then break back point for Isner as Anderson pushes a backhand pass long to make it 30-40. And Isner gets the instant break back again! This time with a backhand pass up the line. Neither man can quite believe it. 4:33PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-2 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Really good backhand pass on the run from Anderson gets him to 40-30, and an even better backhand return winner has us at deuce. Isner then gets a time violation warning before the next serve, and would you believe it Anderson flicks away another return winner to bring up a break point! Can he take it? Yes, he can! A fourth consecutive sensational shot from Anderson forces Isner into missing a half-volley, and out of nowhere he has the break. That was unreal returning from Anderson. Credit: PA 4:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Anderson regroups and holds comfortably to 15. Are we heading for another tie-break? 4:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Isner's on a groove on his serve and holds to love. With Isner serving first, he pressure will be on Anderson throughout this set. 4:21PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Isner is bouncing around the court, looking for the early kill at the start of the fourth set. But Anderson clings on and holds to 30. Credit: AP 4:17PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 0-1 Isner (*next server) Love hold from Isner to kick off the fourth set. 4:16PM Anderson's back out What must be going through his mind. He served for the third set and had a sitter to go up 40-15 in that game. He then double faulted when up set point in the breaker. How will he respond? 4:11PM Medical time out Anderson has left the court to receive treatment. 4:09PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7 Isner* (*next server) - Third set Isner Anderson pushes a forehand wide and that's the set for Isner. He takes the tie-break 11-9. After almost three hours Isner leads two sets to one. Anderson served for the set and had two set points, but he has it all to do now. Credit: REUTERS 4:08PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 9-10 Isner Anderson nets a backhand return and it's set point #3 for Isner. 4:07PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 9-9 Isner* A huge 136mph ace out wide saves it. The players change ends again. 4:06PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 9-8 Isner* An ace down the T makes it set point Anderson. Oh no it doesn't - Isner challenges and Hawk-Eye shows the ball to be out. A forehand winner does then make it set point Anderson #2. 4:05PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 8-8 Isner Oh dear, Anderson has double faulted! On we go. 4:04PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 8-7 Isner It's set point Anderson! He guides a backhand pass up the line, and will have this set point on his own serve. 4:04PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 7-7 Isner* Anderson saves it with a brilliant forehand pass! Wow, what a shot that was under immense pressure. 4:03PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 6-7 Isner* Anderson sends a forehand long and it's set point Isner. The American has this one on his own serve... 4:02PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 6-6 Isner Isner can't return a big serve down the T and Anderson clings on. 4:01PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 5-6 Isner Isner then produces another wondrous low volley to earn himself a set point. The crowd loved that. What a couple of points. 4:00PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 5-5 Isner* Sensational low pick-up from Isner levels the breaker up. 3:59PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 5-4 Isner* Service winner puts Anderson in front. Blimey, this is tense. 3:59PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 4-4 Isner Isner gets the mini-break with a forehand down the line. Anderson again could have done more with his forehand the shot before. 3:58PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 4-3 Isner Anderson guides a backhand down the line to secure the mini-break. Huge roar from the crowd. 3:57PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 3-3 Isner* An Isner ace down the T ensures the players are level at the change of ends. 3:56PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 2-3 Isner* Service winner puts Anderson in front. 3:55PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 2-2 Isner Forehand winner from Anderson levels things up. 3:55PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 1-2 Isner Stunning Anderson forehand winner return gets the mini-break back. That's the shot of the match so far. 3:54PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 0-2 Isner* An ace down the T doubles Isner's lead. 3:54PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 0-1 Isner* Anderson completely miscues a forehand, and it's an instant mini-break for Isner. 3:53PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-6 Isner (*next server) - third set tie-break Tense moments for Isner as he misses a forehand and double faults for 30-30. Anderson is two points from the set. Isner responds with his hardest serve of the match - a 142mph bomb for 40-30. An ace down the T then wraps up the game. We're into a third set tie-break. 3:49PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-5 Isner* (*next server) A love hold for Anderson. How he could have done with that a couple of games ago. Isner gets some more tape for the blister on his right hand. Once he's patched up he'll serve to stay in the third set for a second time. Credit: PA 3:46PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 5-5 Isner (*next server) Isner looks seriously pumped. He flicks away two neat volleys for 30-0, before two aces help him to a hold to 15. We're back on serve in the third set. 3:43PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 5-4 Isner* (*next server) - Isner breaks back! Imagine if after that Anderson got broken now. It could just happen. He makes a mess of an easy forehand, allowing Isner to guide a backhand pass down the line for 30-30. And then a long backhand from Anderson gives Isner a break back point at 30-40. And he takes it! Anderson nets an attempted forehand pass and we're back on serve. I do not believe that. Anderson missed a glorious chance to go up 40-15, and how he might regret losing his serve there. 3:39PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 5-3 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Isner's been on top this set but Anderson thumps a forehand up the line for 0-15. Isner then nets a forehand and it's 15-30. Chance here for Anderson. Big chance now, as Isner sends a forehand wide! It's two break points for Anderson at 15-40. Will Isner finally be broken at this year's Wimbledon? Yes! At last, Isner drops his serve. It's a brilliant Anderson backhand return that leaves Isner sprawling at the net. After 110 straight service holds this tournament, Isner is finally broken. Anderson will serve for the third set. Credit: Getty Images 3:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 4-3 Isner* (*next server) Isner again has a sniff by winning the first point of an Anderson service game, but Big Kev steels himself once more and holds to 30. 3:31PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 3-3 Isner (*next server) Another excellent half-volley pick-up from Isner helps him on his way to a hold to 15. 3:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 3-2 Isner* (*next server) A booming ace down the T secures a hold to 15 for Anderson. At the last change of ends it looked as though the umpire had a word with Isner about receiving coaching from his box. Isner angrily refutes the suggestion. 3:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 2-2 Isner (*next server) No such issues on the Isner serve as he holds to love. Credit: REUTERS 3:20PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 2-1 Isner* (*next server) First opening that Isner has had on the Anderson serve for an absolute age, as the South African nets a forehand for 15-30. Isner has a good chance at two break points but he nets a forehand off an Anderson second serve to make it 30-30. Isner then overhits a return for 40-30. A relieved Anderson screams "yes!" in celebration, and then thwacks away a forehand winner to complete the hold. A big opportunity missed for Isner. 3:17PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 1-1 Isner (*next server) Beautiful pick-up from Isner secures a hold to 15. He hit that from absolute no-man's land between the baseline and service line. Ridiculous stat below by the way... Kevin Anderson hit one unforced error in the last set and lost it.— Tumaini Carayol (@tumcarayol) July 13, 2018 3:14PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 1-0 Isner* (*next server) Anderson holds to love in the blink of an eye. Who's going to crack here? No breaks of serve all match remember. Credit: BBC 3:10PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7 Isner (*next server) - Second set Isner Isner sends an ace flying screaming down the T and he lets out a huge roar in celebration after winning the tie-break 7-5. It's one-set all after exactly two hours. Djokovic and Nadal could be waiting a while longer... Credit: REUTERS 3:08PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 5-6 Isner* Isner nets a forehand so on we go. The third set point though will be on the Isner serve...what have you got big John? 3:07PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 4-6 Isner Anderson saves the first set point with an ace out wide. 3:07PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 3-6 Isner Service winner brings up three set points for Isner. 3:06PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 3-5 Isner* Anderson gets one of the mini-breaks back with a backhand winner. Isner had thought he was 6-2 up but a Hawk-Eye challenge showed his serve to be out. 3:05PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 2-5 Isner* Another ace down the T reduces the deficit. 3:04PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 1-5 Isner An ace down the T gets Anderson off the mark. 3:03PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-5 Isner Unreturned serve extends Isner's lead. 3:03PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 0-4 Isner* A serve-volley play ends in an easy smash for Isner. He's running away with this. 3:02PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 0-3 Isner* Wow, another stunning return sets Isner up for an easy forehand put-away. He's two mini-breaks to the good. 3:01PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-2 Isner Blistering service return secures an instant mini-break for Isner. 3:01PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-1 Isner Unreturnable serve seals the first point of the breaker for Isner. 3:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-6 Isner* (*next server) - Second set tie-break Isner punches away a volley for 0-15, but Anderson rolls off a few forehand winners and eventually holds to 30. We're into a second set tie-break. 2:55PM Anderson* 7-6, 5-6 Isner (*next server) Isner looks a little tired all of a sudden as Anderson cranks up the power to move to 30-30 again. But Isner responds in style, thwacking down two service winners to hold to 30. Anderson will serve to stay in the second set for a second time. 2:51PM Anderson 7-6, 5-5 Isner* (*next server) Anderson brushes off the disappointment of not taking that break point and holds to 15. After Isner shaded the first set performance-wise, Anderson's been the stronger player in the second. Credit: AFP 2:48PM Anderson* 7-6, 4-5 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds Well, well, what have we here ? Isner pushes a volley wide and it's 30-30. Make that 30-40 and break point Anderson after another brilliant forehand winner! Can he take it? No, Isner saves it with a punched volley. How do you break this guy?! Isner then claims the next two points and that's 106 service holds in a row at this year's Wimbledon. Had Anderson broken there he would have been serving for a two-sets lead. 2:43PM Anderson 7-6, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) Anderson responds with a love hold of his own. Can we just play the tie-break now? (Tie-breaks at 3-3 was incidentally one of the rule changes experiments with at the ATP Next Gen Finals last year). 2:40PM Anderson* 7-6, 3-4 Isner (*next server) Aaaand it's a love hold for Isner, who hasn't dropped his serve all tournament. Credit: AFP 2:38PM Anderson 7-6, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is hitting his forehand sensationally well today, snaring Isner with another crosscourt pass for 30-0. A couple of points later he completes a love hold. It feels at the moment as if we're heading inexorably for another tie-break. 2:34PM Anderson* 7-6, 2-3 Isner (*next server) Beautiful rolled forehand pass from Anderson has the Centre Court crowd in raptures. Isner reels off the next three points to go up 40-15, but a couple of excellent Anderson returns have us at deuce. Only the second time Isner's been taken to deuce today. He fends off the danger with two wicked second serves. We remain on serve, with neither player having dropped their serve so far this match. 2:29PM Anderson 7-6, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Yeah no sign of a break at the moment. Anderson holds to 15 with an 11th ace. Isner is fine to continue. 2:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Impressive game from Isner, who hits a lovely curling forehand winner on his way to a hold to love. It feels like both players are getting into ominous rhythms on their serve. Isner is getting treatement for a blister on his racket hand. Please don't let this end like Cilic's blister-induced tears in last year's final. Credit: REUTERS 2:23PM Anderson 7-6, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Isner's swinging pretty wildly and he misses a couple of backhands to help Anderson to a hold to 15. 2:18PM Anderson* 7-6, 0-1 Isner (*next server) That was a really high-level first set, so much more than just big serving. Isner started much the better and missed three break points, as well as a set point, but he'll have to put that disappointment quickly behind him. He certainly does that this game, banging down three consecutive aces in a confident hold to love. 2:15PM Anderson 7-6 Isner* (*next server) - First set Anderson A long, tense rally goes Anderson's way as Isner nets a forehand. First set Anderson. Anderson wins the tie-break 8-6, and after 63 minutes is a set to the good. Credit: Getty Images 2:13PM First set tie-break: Anderson 7-6 Isner* Isner nets a makeable backhand and it's set point Anderson. 2:12PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 6-6 Isner Well played Anderson. He hits a few nerveless forehands and saves the set point with a smash. 2:11PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 5-6 Isner A 139mph ace makes it set point Isner. 2:10PM First set tie-break: Anderson 5-5 Isner* Service winner levels things up. The next point will be a set point for one of these two... 2:09PM First set tie-break: Anderson 5-4 Isner* Brilliant low volley from Anderson makes it three points in a row for the South African. 2:08PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 4-4 Isner Anderson smash levels things up. 2:08PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 3-4 Isner What a shot! Anderson claims the mini-break back with a sensational forehand passing shot on the run. We're back on serve. 2:07PM First set tie-break: Anderson 2-4 Isner* Isner ensures he's ahead at the change of ends with a clever body serve. 2:06PM First set tie-break: Anderson 2-3 Isner* Anderson service winner reduces the deficit. 2:05PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 1-3 Isner Brilliant Isner forehand winner secures him the early mini-break. What a shot. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 1-2 Isner Isner ace gets his nose in front. No mini-breaks so far. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson 1-1 Isner* Isner levels up with a forehand volley winner. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson 1-0 Isner* Anderson forehand winner gets him the first point. 2:03PM Anderson* 6-6 Isner (*next server) - Tie-break Isner's eighth ace secures a hold to 15 and takes us into a first set tie-break. Anderson to serve first in the breaker. How's your nerve lads? 1:59PM Anderson 6-5 Isner* (*next server) Love hold for Anderson, sealed with a nifty volley. Isner will serve to stay in the first set for a second time. It's been an interesting, high-quality match so far. Anybody who thinks Isner vs Anderson is just a match between towering servebots has not been watching the match and definitely was not watching the 3d game— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) July 13, 2018 1:56PM Anderson* 5-5 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a set point and holds An awkward low return from Anderson draws a missed volley from Isner for 0-15. Isner responds with a 126 mph second serve for 15-15, but he then nets a backhand and it's 15-30 - Anderson is two points from the set. A booming serve out wide has us at 30-30, before a double fault gives Anderson a set point at 30-40! Can he take this precious opportunity? Isner has held all 99 of his previous service games at this tournament. And he clings on here with a gutsy second serve that completely jams Anderson. An ace and a service winner follow to make it 100 out of 100 service holds this tournament. Nothing Anderson could have done there, but what a huge moment that might prove to be. Make that 100 consecutive service games unbroken for @JohnIsner at #Wimbledon ���� pic.twitter.com/UK9gBlNMkh— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 1:50PM Anderson 5-4 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks a little sluggish as he fails to chase down a drop shot. Anderson then runs away with the game and holds to love. Isner will serve to stay in the first set. 1:48PM Anderson* 4-4 Isner (*next server) Two aces from Isner level the ace count at six apiece and the set at four-games all. Business end of the set incoming... 1:45PM Anderson 4-3 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is trying to mix up his serves by not solely targetting the Isner backhand. It makes sense to try and avoid being too predictable, but Isner is getting a lot of joy from thumping forehand returns. Anderson eventually holds to 15 here, as two more aces take his tally so far to six. Credit: Getty Images 1:42PM Anderson* 3-3 Isner (*next server) Anderson's last two matches have taken a combined time of nearly eight hours, so you'd expect he might have a few aching limbs. Isner is definitely leading this match 'on points' to use the boxing term. He's been by far the stronger player and slams down two aces to hold to 15. 1:39PM Anderson 3-2 Isner* (*next server) Isner is being so aggressive on his returns and is getting a good read on the Anderson serve. A couple of errors though help Anderson to a hold to 15. Anderson meanwhile has called for the trainer to deliver him a banana and a few pills. Oh dear, hopefully it's nothing serious. 1:35PM Anderson* 2-2 Isner (*next server) No mental let-down from Isner after missing those break points. An ace down the T seals a holds to 30, having raced to 40-0 up. Credit: REUTERS 1:30PM Anderson 2-1 Isner* (*next server) - Anderson saves three break points and holds Oooh, a rally of almost 10 shots breaks out which ends with Anderson netting a backhand for 30-30. Half a chance this for Isner. Anderson hits a brilliant forehand to go up 40-30, but Isner responds with one of his own for deuce. Isner then forces a break point (practically a set point?) with another huge forehand. He's absolutely nailing that shot at the moment. But he snatches at the break point by sending a forehand skidding long. Huge chance missed there. But another one presents itself straight away, as Isner absolutely smokes another forehand winner. Anderson saves this one too when a backhand kicks off the baseline and flummoxes his opponent. Moments later, Isner earns a third break point with a brilliant forehand return. And what a chance that is! But Isner misses a sitter of a volley and it's back to deuce. Blimey that looked all the world like being the break. John McEnroe says in commentary that this is the finest returning game he's ever seen Isner play. Anderson then misses a few chances of his own to win the game, as Isner continues to strike the ball beautifully off both wings. Anderson eventually holds after a game that lasts 13 minutes. He puffs his cheeks out in relief. Isner looks extremely sharp in these opening exchanges, but that's a big chance missed. 1:16PM Anderson* 1-1 Isner (*next server) Anderson gets to 15-0 with a flicked forehand pass. Isner reels off the next four points to claim the hold. 1:13PM Anderson 1-0 Isner* (*next server) Double fault and an ace to kick us off. Another ace helps Anderson to a hold to 15. 1:10PM Ready? Play Anderson won the toss and will serve first. A place in the #Wimbledon final awaits for one of @KAndersonATP and @JohnIsner… Follow it live �� �� https://t.co/N05LMuoUDMpic.twitter.com/QL51Ptc6GA— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 1:06PM They're knocking up Practising serves. Not sure you really need to lads. 1:02PM Players are out Isner hasn't dropped his serve this tournament, and has only faced seven break points. But amazingly this is his first match on Centre Court. The players step on to the court to warm applause from the crowd. 12:58PM What's it like facing Isner's serve? Simon Briggs went to find out. 12:44PM Ace, ace, ace Expect tie-breaks and very few rallies and service breaks this afternoon. As John Isner said yesterday: "When I say 'big points' I'm talking about break points for me, which are essentially set points". We all remember his 70-68 fifth set against Nicolas Mahut here eight years ago. Credit: Getty Images 12:08PM Land of the giants Back in 2004 fellow college freshmen John Isner and Kevin Anderson stepped onto court to play one another in an inter-university match. Isner was representing the university of Georgia, while Anderson was at the university of Illinois. Isner won the match, and now 14 years on here they both are on Centre Court, competing for a place in the Wimbledon final. Their paths have crossed many times in between - they met again in the 2007 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship match and have competed against each other 11 times as pros - but never on a stage as grand as this. "There could be a little mental aspect in our match," Isner said on Wednesday. "I say that because our rivalry, what have you, goes back way before the pro tour. We played each other in college probably three, four, five times. We played each other a bunch on the pro tour. "We've been lined up against each other for about 14 years now, because he left Illinois when I left Georgia. We've been doing it ever since. Credit: REUTERS "For me this matchup, and I think for him as well, is especially cool. It's a very nice spotlight on college tennis, that one of us, no matter what, is going to be playing in the Wimbledon final. We're duking it out in the semifinals. Two of us went to college, did it a little bit different route. It's pretty cool." As well as a shared history, Isner, 33 and Anderson, 32 have a lot else in common. They are both physical giants (Isner is 6ft 10in, Anderson is 6ft 8in) and possess among the finest serves in the game. They were also both viewed as underachievers until recently, with Isner winning a first Masters title in Miami in March and Anderson reaching the US Open final last year. This is the first time in the Wimbledon semis for both, and Isner leads the head to head 8-3. Credit: AP Isner - a proud Republican from North Carolina - has made the bigger noise of the two off the court this tournament when he said on Monday: "I'd love to have Trump watch me. That would be awesome.” Anderson though has received more plaudits for his on-court achievements, having become only the second man ever to beat Roger Federer from two sets down. Expect plenty of aces and very few rallies today in what promises to be an extremely close match. Personally I expect Isner to just have the edge.
Kevin Anderson defeats John Isner, in second-longest Wimbledon match of all time to reach final
Wimbledon’s marathon man John Isner was at it again, but this time he was outlasted by Kevin Anderson in an extraordinary 6hr 36min semi-final, the third-longest singles match in history. It was going to take something special to separate these gladiators as they went ace for ace and blow for blow. With the light starting to fade close to 8pm, the saga duly got the ending that it deserved. In the 49th game of the fifth set and at love-15 up, Anderson slipped at the back of the court. He fell to the ground, so did his racket, but when Isner put his return into the centre of the court, Anderson got off the canvas like Rocky, picked up his racket left-handed and got his forehand back into play to win the point. Hollywood eat your heart out. For the fourth consecutive Isner service game, Anderson was love-30 up. On every previous occasion, Isner’s blunderbuss serve, which peaked at 142mph, had come to his rescue. Not this time. A second serve was the chance that Anderson had been waiting for and he hit a forehand winner to engineer three break points. Isner had saved four previous break points in this marathon final set, which was approaching the three-hour mark. Each time he produced an ace to save his skin. The fifth was saved with a serve and volley, but he could not repeat the trick, at 15-40 putting a backhand into the net. The crowd celebrated raucously, as much with relief than anything else, but the job was not yet done and Anderson had to serve out the match. What must have been going through the 32-year-old’s head? On two of the three games that he had broken Isner, the American had broken straight back. This time he held his nerve as Isner put a forehand into the tramlines. There were no wild celebrations from Anderson despite becoming the first South African man in 97 years to reach a Wimbledon final, in part because of exhaustion, in part in sympathy for his vanquished foe who he first played on the American college circuit 14 years ago. Anderson prevails at last by winning the 99th game of the semi-final Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images “Coming through that match, obviously I’m ecstatic to be through to the finals.” Anderson said. “At the same time, you know, you feel like it should be a draw. But somebody has to win.” Eight years ago, Isner took part in the longest match in history in his 11hrs 5ms conquest of Nicolas Mahut. The 33-year-old has repeatedly said that he did not want his career be defined by that match. Fate obviously has a sick sense of humour. The Donald Trump supporter will have to wait to make American men’s tennis great again with Andy Roddick, their last male representative to reached a grand slam final nine years ago. “I feel pretty terrible,” Isner said. My left heel is killing me. I have an awful blister on my right foot. It stinks to lose, but I gave it everything I had out there. I just lost to someone who is a little bit better at the end.” Anderson’s victory is even more remarkable when you consider that in the last 16 he went three and a half hours against Gaël Monfils in the last 16 and then became only the fifth man to come from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in a four-hour plus quarter-final. We all thought he would have nothing left. How wrong we were. “You’re really in a war of attrition out there,” Anderson said. “It’s way beyond a normal tennis match or tactics. I mean, it’s just who’s going to, you know, outlast each other.” "Anderson vs Isner, a Wimbledon classic - you better believe it" A Centre Court epic ends with @KAndersonATP going through to the #Wimbledon final, beating John Isner 7-6(6), 6-7(5), 6-7(9), 6-4, 26-24 pic.twitter.com/Fv4ww2cEzK— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 That a match between the tournament’s two leading severs went to five sets was no surprise. To paraphrase Guns n’ Roses, “Take me down to tiebreak city, where the grass is green and the serves aren’t pretty.” Yet as the match progress and each man’s serve lost its rapier edge and the rallies went to script. The first three sets went according to script, although how different might the contest have been had Isner seized one of three break points in Anderson’s second service game? Anderson took the first tiebreak and double-faulted on set point in the second which allowed his opponent to draw level. Business started picking up in the third set when Isner, after winning 110 consecutive service games at this tournament, was finally broken. Almost inevitably, Isner broke back straight away as if he was righting a cosmetic imbalance. Health of players at risk The third-set tie-break was a classic bit of psychological theatre. Each man traded mini-breaks and lost set-point opportunities, notably when Anderson double-faulted at 8-7. When Anderson sent a forehand into the tramlines, Isner looked too shocked to celebrate. Showing some incredible reflexes, Anderson broke in the fourth game of the fourth set. Like night follows day, Isner broke straight back only to go love-40 down in his very next service game and this time Anderson held his nerve to take it to a fifth set that even Tolstoy would have considered overblown. 7:59PM A word for the vanquished "At the end you feel like it’s a draw, but someone has to win. John is a great guy and I really feel for him" - @KAndersonATP#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/SHU5fVNUc9— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 7:51PM Big Kev is through Anderson looks completely frazzled and the first thing he does is express his sympathy for his opponent: "I don't know how you can take playing for that long and not coming out on the winning side." 7:48PM Game, set and match! Anderson defeats Isner 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 26-24 An ace takes Anderson to 30-15. He exhales meaningfully. Isner then sends a return long and it's two match points at 40-15. And that's it! Isner pushes a forehand wide, and finally, finally it's over. Kevin Anderson is through to the Wimbledon final after 6hr 35min. 7:43PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 25-24 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Anderson falls to the floor, drops his racket and picks it up to play left-handed. And he wins the point to make it 0-30 again! That was insane! Anderson then spins away a forehand winner and it's three break points at 0-40. Surely, surely he has to take one of these?! Yes he does! Isner nets a backhand on the second one and Anderson will serve for the match! Oh my word, if Anderson gets broken here! Credit: PA 7:40PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 24-24 Isner* (*next server) Isner has not had a single break point all set, and Anderson holds again to love. 7:37PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 23-24 Isner (*next server) Right, is this it. Isner puts a tired forehand into the net and it's 0-30 again. But once again Isner bangs down a flurry of big serves and holds to 30. Isner's won enough games this set to have won four sets. 7:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 23-23 Isner* (*next server) Love hold for Anderson. What on earth must Nadal and Djokovic, who follow this match, be thinking? 7:30PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 22-23 Isner (*next server) It's another chance for Anderson, as he caresses a backhand down the line for 0-30. An ace and a missed Anderson backhand make it 30-30. Isner then flicks away a forehand for 40-30 before a missed Anderson forehand seals the hold. Credit: REUTERS 7:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 22-22 Isner* (*next server) Isner has the tiniest glimmer of a break at 15-15. Anderson slams the door shut and holds to 15. 7:23PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 21-22 Isner (*next server) Here we go again. Isner misses a forehand for 0-30 but responds with two big serves for 30-30. Anderson then duffs an easy backhand to make it 30-40, before Isner returns the favour with a netted volley for deuce. Isner desperately retrieves a low forehand and then punches away a volley to complete the hold. 7:19PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 21-21 Isner* (*next server) Isner receives rapturous applause at each of the points he wins this game, but Anderson emerges with a hold to 30. 7:14PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 20-21 Isner (*next server) Anderson sprays a forehand just wide and Isner holds on to 15. Credit: REUTERS 7:12PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 20-20 Isner* (*next server) Anderson responds with a hold to love. Genuinely starting to wonder if this will ever end. 7:12PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 19-20 Isner (*next server) No sniff for Anderson this game as Isner holds to 15. 7:07PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 19-19 Isner* (*next server) Anderson guides a backhand beautifully down the line to complete a hold to 15. For a moment at 15-15, Isner dared to ream. 7:03PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 18-19 Isner (*next server) Isner endures a shaky moment as he allows Anderson back in the game at 40-30 from 40-0, but he forces Anderson to miss a backhand and holds on. 7:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 18-18 Isner* (*next server) This set began at 4.45. Anderson holds to love, and is yet to face a break point in this final set. Credit: Getty Images 6:58PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 17-18 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves two break points and holds Isner misses a forehand for 15-30, and another forehand flies wide for 15-40 - two break points. Isner saves the first with an ace out wide. And indeed the second with an ace down the T. A service winner makes it advantage Isner, and he digs out the hold with a backhand pass. Nothing Anderson could have done there. 6:52PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 17-17 Isner* (*next server) Anderson holds to love, as the court coverers start to gather. We continue for now. Hopefully the shower will pass. 6:50PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 16-17 Isner (*next server) Still no immediate end in sight as Isner holds to 15. Play can go on until 11pm tonight. Will it end before then? And it's started to rain! On we go for the moment but it's definitely spitting. 6:47PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 16-16 Isner* (*next server) Two aces and a service winner from Anderson seals a very impressive hold. He's kept his level superbly this set. So has Isner in the main to be fair. Of all Wimbledon matches ever, only Isner v Mahut has ever lasted longer than this. Kevin Anderson vs John Isner. Officially the second longest singles match in Championships history.#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/fGGHRQaqz7— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 6:44PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 15-16 Isner (*next server) Isner nets a backhand for 0-15, and Anderson is close to 0-30 but he pulls a backhand just wide. Instead it's 15-15, and buoyed by the reprieve Isner holds to 30. 6:41PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 15-15 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is so on top at the moment in general play but he just can't get the break. He holds to 30 here having sped to 40-0. It is 15-15. 6:36PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 14-15 Isner (*next server) An ace and a forehand winner take Isner to a hold to 15. We're almost at 15-15 in games, which I always find amusing. It's the little things in life. Credit: AFP 6:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 14-14 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks knackered as he fails painfully to get to a low backhand. Anderson holds to 15. On we go. It feels like about a year since this match started. 6:30PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 13-14 Isner (*next server) "Come on guys, we want to see Rafa!" someone screams from the crowd. But the wait continues as Isner holds to 30. 6:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 13-13 Isner* (*next server) Anderson certainly looks the fresher of the two but Isner knows he's so close now to the final. Anderson keeps him at arm's length with a hold to 15 - sealed with consecutive aces out wide. Credit: REUTERS 6:23PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 12-13 Isner (*next server) A missed Isner backhand has us at 15-15, but any hopes of a break are dashed in the next few points as Isner holds to 30 with a clinical forehand winner. 6:20PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 12-12 Isner* (*next server) Still Anderson continues to serve accurately. He hasn't faced a break point in this final set, and races to 40-0 here. A forehand winner secures the hold to 15. We've been playing 5hr 9 min. 6:15PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 11-12 Isner (*next server) A blessedly straightforward hold for Isner after those recent struggles. He holds to love here. 6:14PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 11-11 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks pumped up, especially after Anderson nets a forehand volley for 0-15. Anderson responds in style again and holds to 15 after reeling off the next four points. Will this ever end? Credit: Getty Images 6:10PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 10-11 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds It's 0-30 again as Anderson whips away a forehand winner. Can Isner pull himself up from the canvas again? An ace out wide and a forehand winner make it 30-30. But a fizzing low return brings up a break point for Anderson at 30-40. He gets a look at it but miscues a backhand pass well long. Isner then bangs down an ace and heroically chases down a drop shot to seal the game. His momentum takes him into his chair for the change of ends. That was spectacular. 6:04PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 10-10 Isner* (*next server) Now it's Isner who can sniff a break, after he sends a forehand perfectly onto the baseline for 0-15. Anderson responds well though and reels off the next three points for 40-15. He eventually holds for 40-30. 5:59PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 9-10 Isner (*next server) Isner misses two forehands and it's 0-30! It's then heart in mouth time for Isner but he just clears the net with a low volley for 15-30. He then repeats the trick for 30-30 after Anderson stretched every sinew to retrieve a forehand. An ace makes it 40-30 and a volley winner completes the hold. 5:55PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 9-9 Isner* (*next server) Crazy how fresh Anderson looks given his previous matches lasted almost eight hours, and he's played nigh on five hours here. Anderson races to 40-15, but Isner is two points away from the final at deuce as Anderson sends a backhand wide at the end of a rare long rally. Anderson responds in style, with an ace and service winner to complete the hold. Credit: REUTERS 5:48PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 8-9 Isner (*next server) The players are wearying but no-one can get the break. Isner holds to 15 and the pressure swings right back to Anderson. 5:45PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 8-8 Isner* (*next server) After the drama of the last game, Anderson holds to love - sealed with an ace out wide. On we go. 5:43PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 7-8 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds Big chance here for Anderson. Isner sends a lunging volley long and Anderson's up 0-30. A hush fills Centre Court. A stupendous low volley from Isner makes it 15-30, before an ace down the T has us at 30-30. But a stinging Anderson return brings up a break point at 30-40. Isner of course saves it with an ace. Two crushing serves follow, and Isner holds. He screams "that's it!" in celebration. 5:36PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 7-7 Isner* (*next server) No dramas for Big Kev as an inside-in forehand winner seals a hold to love. Credit: REUTERS 5:33PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 6-7 Isner (*next server) An effective serve-volley play helps Isner to a hold to 15. No break points yet this set. 5:30PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 6-6 Isner* (*next server) Anderson nets a backhand. It's 0-15. Isner is three points from the final. Make that two points, as Isner smokes a forehand up the line for 15-30. Isner then sends a pair of backhands long and it's 40-30. Anderson seals the hold with a bullet serve out wide. No final set tie-breaker remember so on we go. Meanwhile... The Telegraph Sports desk has had their say on Anderson vs Isner Who will come out on top in this five set thriller, and what will the score be? @TelegraphSport#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/C3RzGzHubd— Jamie Johnson (@JamieoJohnson) July 13, 2018 5:26PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 5-6 Isner (*next server) Stinging Anderson forehand return winner has us at 15-15. In the context of the match so far, this is a chance! Isner responds well with a couple of banging serves for 40-15, and he eventually holds to 30. Anderson will serve to stay in the match for a second time. I'm going to stop writing that from here on in as he will be serving to stay in the match on every service game. 5:22PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 5-5 Isner* (*next server) Isner gets a look a couple of returns but he's a little flat footed and Anderson holds to 15. A reminder from Greg below that there's no tie-break on the final set at Wimbledon. US Open is the only grand slam where there is one. I think there should be tiebreakers in the final set at all Grand Slams as it creates more drama and allows players to recover better. Are we going to beat Isner vs Mahut record today with Anderson vs Isner Wimbledon semi?— Greg Rusedski (@GregRusedski1) July 13, 2018 5:18PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 4-5 Isner (*next server) Isner is still being bothered by that blister on his right hand. He holds to 15 and prior to the final point of the game calls for the trainer. Anderson will serve to stay in the match. 5:16PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) No let up from Anderson, who holds assertively to love. Meanwhile a word of encouragement for Isner from the last American man to reach a grand slam final. Come on John— andyroddick (@andyroddick) July 13, 2018 5:13PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 3-4 Isner (*next server) The worry is that as the players get progressively more tired they struggle even more to return. Speaking of which, Isner bangs down an ace - his 200th of the tournament - to wrap up a simple hold to 15. Credit: AP 5:11PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) Isner's won all five of the last meetings between these two. Will that mean anything as we enter the home straight? I suspect not a huge amount. Anderson holds to love as the match clock ticks into its fifth hour. 5:07PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 2-3 Isner (*next server) You've got to credit these guys, they've kept a very high level throughout. Isner sends down a couple of heat-seeking missile-like serves on his way to a breezy hold to 15. 5:04PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Isner hasn't been a break up at any point this match. It's a sequence that continues here as Anderson holds to 15. 5:01PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Isner bangs down three aces to take his tally to 39 and complete the hold. Credit: REUTERS 5:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Anderson looks fresher now than he did half an hour ago and holds easily to 15. 4:56PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 0-1 Isner (*next server) Isner picks himself up and holds to love. We've been playing 3hr 45 min. 4:53PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4 Isner* (*next server) - Fourth set Anderson! Can Anderson finally consolidate a break and in so doing take us into a deciding set? An ace takes Anderson to three set points at 40-0. Isner saves the first two with blistering returns, and the third with a howitzer of a forehand. This is insane! Anderson then earns a fourth set point with a smash, and he takes this one when Isner nets a return! We're heading for a final set. There'll be no tie-breaker remember so we could be here all night. Djokovic and Nadal continue to wait... Marathon men...@KAndersonATP wins the fourth set 6-4 against John Isner and the battle for a place in the #Wimbledon final goes all the way... pic.twitter.com/MagHg8E5zo— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 4:47PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 5-4 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Isner nets a half-volley and then does likewise on a backhand to gift Anderson a break point at 30-40. Anderson takes it with a backhand pass that flies past his opponent. Unbelievable. Anderson, who is breathing a little heavily now, will serve to take us into a fifth set. 4:43PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) Some normality restored as Anderson holds to love. On we go... Credit: Reuters 4:40PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-4 Isner (*next server) Isner double faults for 30-30. Surely not a third consecutive break in a row? No. Isner slams down a big serve and is then relieved as Anderson misses an easy backhand pass. 4:37PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) - Isner breaks back! The last time he broke Anderson was broken back immediately. Can he consolidate it this time? Possibly not, because Isner has rolled a forehand pass down the line for 15-30. It's then break back point for Isner as Anderson pushes a backhand pass long to make it 30-40. And Isner gets the instant break back again! This time with a backhand pass up the line. Neither man can quite believe it. 4:33PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-2 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Really good backhand pass on the run from Anderson gets him to 40-30, and an even better backhand return winner has us at deuce. Isner then gets a time violation warning before the next serve, and would you believe it Anderson flicks away another return winner to bring up a break point! Can he take it? Yes, he can! A fourth consecutive sensational shot from Anderson forces Isner into missing a half-volley, and out of nowhere he has the break. That was unreal returning from Anderson. Credit: PA 4:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Anderson regroups and holds comfortably to 15. Are we heading for another tie-break? 4:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Isner's on a groove on his serve and holds to love. With Isner serving first, he pressure will be on Anderson throughout this set. 4:21PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Isner is bouncing around the court, looking for the early kill at the start of the fourth set. But Anderson clings on and holds to 30. Credit: AP 4:17PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 0-1 Isner (*next server) Love hold from Isner to kick off the fourth set. 4:16PM Anderson's back out What must be going through his mind. He served for the third set and had a sitter to go up 40-15 in that game. He then double faulted when up set point in the breaker. How will he respond? 4:11PM Medical time out Anderson has left the court to receive treatment. 4:09PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7 Isner* (*next server) - Third set Isner Anderson pushes a forehand wide and that's the set for Isner. He takes the tie-break 11-9. After almost three hours Isner leads two sets to one. Anderson served for the set and had two set points, but he has it all to do now. Credit: REUTERS 4:08PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 9-10 Isner Anderson nets a backhand return and it's set point #3 for Isner. 4:07PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 9-9 Isner* A huge 136mph ace out wide saves it. The players change ends again. 4:06PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 9-8 Isner* An ace down the T makes it set point Anderson. Oh no it doesn't - Isner challenges and Hawk-Eye shows the ball to be out. A forehand winner does then make it set point Anderson #2. 4:05PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 8-8 Isner Oh dear, Anderson has double faulted! On we go. 4:04PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 8-7 Isner It's set point Anderson! He guides a backhand pass up the line, and will have this set point on his own serve. 4:04PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 7-7 Isner* Anderson saves it with a brilliant forehand pass! Wow, what a shot that was under immense pressure. 4:03PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 6-7 Isner* Anderson sends a forehand long and it's set point Isner. The American has this one on his own serve... 4:02PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 6-6 Isner Isner can't return a big serve down the T and Anderson clings on. 4:01PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 5-6 Isner Isner then produces another wondrous low volley to earn himself a set point. The crowd loved that. What a couple of points. 4:00PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 5-5 Isner* Sensational low pick-up from Isner levels the breaker up. 3:59PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 5-4 Isner* Service winner puts Anderson in front. Blimey, this is tense. 3:59PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 4-4 Isner Isner gets the mini-break with a forehand down the line. Anderson again could have done more with his forehand the shot before. 3:58PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 4-3 Isner Anderson guides a backhand down the line to secure the mini-break. Huge roar from the crowd. 3:57PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 3-3 Isner* An Isner ace down the T ensures the players are level at the change of ends. 3:56PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 2-3 Isner* Service winner puts Anderson in front. 3:55PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 2-2 Isner Forehand winner from Anderson levels things up. 3:55PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 1-2 Isner Stunning Anderson forehand winner return gets the mini-break back. That's the shot of the match so far. 3:54PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 0-2 Isner* An ace down the T doubles Isner's lead. 3:54PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 0-1 Isner* Anderson completely miscues a forehand, and it's an instant mini-break for Isner. 3:53PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-6 Isner (*next server) - third set tie-break Tense moments for Isner as he misses a forehand and double faults for 30-30. Anderson is two points from the set. Isner responds with his hardest serve of the match - a 142mph bomb for 40-30. An ace down the T then wraps up the game. We're into a third set tie-break. 3:49PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-5 Isner* (*next server) A love hold for Anderson. How he could have done with that a couple of games ago. Isner gets some more tape for the blister on his right hand. Once he's patched up he'll serve to stay in the third set for a second time. Credit: PA 3:46PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 5-5 Isner (*next server) Isner looks seriously pumped. He flicks away two neat volleys for 30-0, before two aces help him to a hold to 15. We're back on serve in the third set. 3:43PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 5-4 Isner* (*next server) - Isner breaks back! Imagine if after that Anderson got broken now. It could just happen. He makes a mess of an easy forehand, allowing Isner to guide a backhand pass down the line for 30-30. And then a long backhand from Anderson gives Isner a break back point at 30-40. And he takes it! Anderson nets an attempted forehand pass and we're back on serve. I do not believe that. Anderson missed a glorious chance to go up 40-15, and how he might regret losing his serve there. 3:39PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 5-3 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Isner's been on top this set but Anderson thumps a forehand up the line for 0-15. Isner then nets a forehand and it's 15-30. Chance here for Anderson. Big chance now, as Isner sends a forehand wide! It's two break points for Anderson at 15-40. Will Isner finally be broken at this year's Wimbledon? Yes! At last, Isner drops his serve. It's a brilliant Anderson backhand return that leaves Isner sprawling at the net. After 110 straight service holds this tournament, Isner is finally broken. Anderson will serve for the third set. Credit: Getty Images 3:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 4-3 Isner* (*next server) Isner again has a sniff by winning the first point of an Anderson service game, but Big Kev steels himself once more and holds to 30. 3:31PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 3-3 Isner (*next server) Another excellent half-volley pick-up from Isner helps him on his way to a hold to 15. 3:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 3-2 Isner* (*next server) A booming ace down the T secures a hold to 15 for Anderson. At the last change of ends it looked as though the umpire had a word with Isner about receiving coaching from his box. Isner angrily refutes the suggestion. 3:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 2-2 Isner (*next server) No such issues on the Isner serve as he holds to love. Credit: REUTERS 3:20PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 2-1 Isner* (*next server) First opening that Isner has had on the Anderson serve for an absolute age, as the South African nets a forehand for 15-30. Isner has a good chance at two break points but he nets a forehand off an Anderson second serve to make it 30-30. Isner then overhits a return for 40-30. A relieved Anderson screams "yes!" in celebration, and then thwacks away a forehand winner to complete the hold. A big opportunity missed for Isner. 3:17PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 1-1 Isner (*next server) Beautiful pick-up from Isner secures a hold to 15. He hit that from absolute no-man's land between the baseline and service line. Ridiculous stat below by the way... Kevin Anderson hit one unforced error in the last set and lost it.— Tumaini Carayol (@tumcarayol) July 13, 2018 3:14PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 1-0 Isner* (*next server) Anderson holds to love in the blink of an eye. Who's going to crack here? No breaks of serve all match remember. Credit: BBC 3:10PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7 Isner (*next server) - Second set Isner Isner sends an ace flying screaming down the T and he lets out a huge roar in celebration after winning the tie-break 7-5. It's one-set all after exactly two hours. Djokovic and Nadal could be waiting a while longer... Credit: REUTERS 3:08PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 5-6 Isner* Isner nets a forehand so on we go. The third set point though will be on the Isner serve...what have you got big John? 3:07PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 4-6 Isner Anderson saves the first set point with an ace out wide. 3:07PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 3-6 Isner Service winner brings up three set points for Isner. 3:06PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 3-5 Isner* Anderson gets one of the mini-breaks back with a backhand winner. Isner had thought he was 6-2 up but a Hawk-Eye challenge showed his serve to be out. 3:05PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 2-5 Isner* Another ace down the T reduces the deficit. 3:04PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 1-5 Isner An ace down the T gets Anderson off the mark. 3:03PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-5 Isner Unreturned serve extends Isner's lead. 3:03PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 0-4 Isner* A serve-volley play ends in an easy smash for Isner. He's running away with this. 3:02PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 0-3 Isner* Wow, another stunning return sets Isner up for an easy forehand put-away. He's two mini-breaks to the good. 3:01PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-2 Isner Blistering service return secures an instant mini-break for Isner. 3:01PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-1 Isner Unreturnable serve seals the first point of the breaker for Isner. 3:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-6 Isner* (*next server) - Second set tie-break Isner punches away a volley for 0-15, but Anderson rolls off a few forehand winners and eventually holds to 30. We're into a second set tie-break. 2:55PM Anderson* 7-6, 5-6 Isner (*next server) Isner looks a little tired all of a sudden as Anderson cranks up the power to move to 30-30 again. But Isner responds in style, thwacking down two service winners to hold to 30. Anderson will serve to stay in the second set for a second time. 2:51PM Anderson 7-6, 5-5 Isner* (*next server) Anderson brushes off the disappointment of not taking that break point and holds to 15. After Isner shaded the first set performance-wise, Anderson's been the stronger player in the second. Credit: AFP 2:48PM Anderson* 7-6, 4-5 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds Well, well, what have we here ? Isner pushes a volley wide and it's 30-30. Make that 30-40 and break point Anderson after another brilliant forehand winner! Can he take it? No, Isner saves it with a punched volley. How do you break this guy?! Isner then claims the next two points and that's 106 service holds in a row at this year's Wimbledon. Had Anderson broken there he would have been serving for a two-sets lead. 2:43PM Anderson 7-6, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) Anderson responds with a love hold of his own. Can we just play the tie-break now? (Tie-breaks at 3-3 was incidentally one of the rule changes experiments with at the ATP Next Gen Finals last year). 2:40PM Anderson* 7-6, 3-4 Isner (*next server) Aaaand it's a love hold for Isner, who hasn't dropped his serve all tournament. Credit: AFP 2:38PM Anderson 7-6, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is hitting his forehand sensationally well today, snaring Isner with another crosscourt pass for 30-0. A couple of points later he completes a love hold. It feels at the moment as if we're heading inexorably for another tie-break. 2:34PM Anderson* 7-6, 2-3 Isner (*next server) Beautiful rolled forehand pass from Anderson has the Centre Court crowd in raptures. Isner reels off the next three points to go up 40-15, but a couple of excellent Anderson returns have us at deuce. Only the second time Isner's been taken to deuce today. He fends off the danger with two wicked second serves. We remain on serve, with neither player having dropped their serve so far this match. 2:29PM Anderson 7-6, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Yeah no sign of a break at the moment. Anderson holds to 15 with an 11th ace. Isner is fine to continue. 2:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Impressive game from Isner, who hits a lovely curling forehand winner on his way to a hold to love. It feels like both players are getting into ominous rhythms on their serve. Isner is getting treatement for a blister on his racket hand. Please don't let this end like Cilic's blister-induced tears in last year's final. Credit: REUTERS 2:23PM Anderson 7-6, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Isner's swinging pretty wildly and he misses a couple of backhands to help Anderson to a hold to 15. 2:18PM Anderson* 7-6, 0-1 Isner (*next server) That was a really high-level first set, so much more than just big serving. Isner started much the better and missed three break points, as well as a set point, but he'll have to put that disappointment quickly behind him. He certainly does that this game, banging down three consecutive aces in a confident hold to love. 2:15PM Anderson 7-6 Isner* (*next server) - First set Anderson A long, tense rally goes Anderson's way as Isner nets a forehand. First set Anderson. Anderson wins the tie-break 8-6, and after 63 minutes is a set to the good. Credit: Getty Images 2:13PM First set tie-break: Anderson 7-6 Isner* Isner nets a makeable backhand and it's set point Anderson. 2:12PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 6-6 Isner Well played Anderson. He hits a few nerveless forehands and saves the set point with a smash. 2:11PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 5-6 Isner A 139mph ace makes it set point Isner. 2:10PM First set tie-break: Anderson 5-5 Isner* Service winner levels things up. The next point will be a set point for one of these two... 2:09PM First set tie-break: Anderson 5-4 Isner* Brilliant low volley from Anderson makes it three points in a row for the South African. 2:08PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 4-4 Isner Anderson smash levels things up. 2:08PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 3-4 Isner What a shot! Anderson claims the mini-break back with a sensational forehand passing shot on the run. We're back on serve. 2:07PM First set tie-break: Anderson 2-4 Isner* Isner ensures he's ahead at the change of ends with a clever body serve. 2:06PM First set tie-break: Anderson 2-3 Isner* Anderson service winner reduces the deficit. 2:05PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 1-3 Isner Brilliant Isner forehand winner secures him the early mini-break. What a shot. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 1-2 Isner Isner ace gets his nose in front. No mini-breaks so far. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson 1-1 Isner* Isner levels up with a forehand volley winner. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson 1-0 Isner* Anderson forehand winner gets him the first point. 2:03PM Anderson* 6-6 Isner (*next server) - Tie-break Isner's eighth ace secures a hold to 15 and takes us into a first set tie-break. Anderson to serve first in the breaker. How's your nerve lads? 1:59PM Anderson 6-5 Isner* (*next server) Love hold for Anderson, sealed with a nifty volley. Isner will serve to stay in the first set for a second time. It's been an interesting, high-quality match so far. Anybody who thinks Isner vs Anderson is just a match between towering servebots has not been watching the match and definitely was not watching the 3d game— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) July 13, 2018 1:56PM Anderson* 5-5 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a set point and holds An awkward low return from Anderson draws a missed volley from Isner for 0-15. Isner responds with a 126 mph second serve for 15-15, but he then nets a backhand and it's 15-30 - Anderson is two points from the set. A booming serve out wide has us at 30-30, before a double fault gives Anderson a set point at 30-40! Can he take this precious opportunity? Isner has held all 99 of his previous service games at this tournament. And he clings on here with a gutsy second serve that completely jams Anderson. An ace and a service winner follow to make it 100 out of 100 service holds this tournament. Nothing Anderson could have done there, but what a huge moment that might prove to be. Make that 100 consecutive service games unbroken for @JohnIsner at #Wimbledon ���� pic.twitter.com/UK9gBlNMkh— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 1:50PM Anderson 5-4 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks a little sluggish as he fails to chase down a drop shot. Anderson then runs away with the game and holds to love. Isner will serve to stay in the first set. 1:48PM Anderson* 4-4 Isner (*next server) Two aces from Isner level the ace count at six apiece and the set at four-games all. Business end of the set incoming... 1:45PM Anderson 4-3 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is trying to mix up his serves by not solely targetting the Isner backhand. It makes sense to try and avoid being too predictable, but Isner is getting a lot of joy from thumping forehand returns. Anderson eventually holds to 15 here, as two more aces take his tally so far to six. Credit: Getty Images 1:42PM Anderson* 3-3 Isner (*next server) Anderson's last two matches have taken a combined time of nearly eight hours, so you'd expect he might have a few aching limbs. Isner is definitely leading this match 'on points' to use the boxing term. He's been by far the stronger player and slams down two aces to hold to 15. 1:39PM Anderson 3-2 Isner* (*next server) Isner is being so aggressive on his returns and is getting a good read on the Anderson serve. A couple of errors though help Anderson to a hold to 15. Anderson meanwhile has called for the trainer to deliver him a banana and a few pills. Oh dear, hopefully it's nothing serious. 1:35PM Anderson* 2-2 Isner (*next server) No mental let-down from Isner after missing those break points. An ace down the T seals a holds to 30, having raced to 40-0 up. Credit: REUTERS 1:30PM Anderson 2-1 Isner* (*next server) - Anderson saves three break points and holds Oooh, a rally of almost 10 shots breaks out which ends with Anderson netting a backhand for 30-30. Half a chance this for Isner. Anderson hits a brilliant forehand to go up 40-30, but Isner responds with one of his own for deuce. Isner then forces a break point (practically a set point?) with another huge forehand. He's absolutely nailing that shot at the moment. But he snatches at the break point by sending a forehand skidding long. Huge chance missed there. But another one presents itself straight away, as Isner absolutely smokes another forehand winner. Anderson saves this one too when a backhand kicks off the baseline and flummoxes his opponent. Moments later, Isner earns a third break point with a brilliant forehand return. And what a chance that is! But Isner misses a sitter of a volley and it's back to deuce. Blimey that looked all the world like being the break. John McEnroe says in commentary that this is the finest returning game he's ever seen Isner play. Anderson then misses a few chances of his own to win the game, as Isner continues to strike the ball beautifully off both wings. Anderson eventually holds after a game that lasts 13 minutes. He puffs his cheeks out in relief. Isner looks extremely sharp in these opening exchanges, but that's a big chance missed. 1:16PM Anderson* 1-1 Isner (*next server) Anderson gets to 15-0 with a flicked forehand pass. Isner reels off the next four points to claim the hold. 1:13PM Anderson 1-0 Isner* (*next server) Double fault and an ace to kick us off. Another ace helps Anderson to a hold to 15. 1:10PM Ready? Play Anderson won the toss and will serve first. A place in the #Wimbledon final awaits for one of @KAndersonATP and @JohnIsner… Follow it live �� �� https://t.co/N05LMuoUDMpic.twitter.com/QL51Ptc6GA— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 1:06PM They're knocking up Practising serves. Not sure you really need to lads. 1:02PM Players are out Isner hasn't dropped his serve this tournament, and has only faced seven break points. But amazingly this is his first match on Centre Court. The players step on to the court to warm applause from the crowd. 12:58PM What's it like facing Isner's serve? Simon Briggs went to find out. 12:44PM Ace, ace, ace Expect tie-breaks and very few rallies and service breaks this afternoon. As John Isner said yesterday: "When I say 'big points' I'm talking about break points for me, which are essentially set points". We all remember his 70-68 fifth set against Nicolas Mahut here eight years ago. Credit: Getty Images 12:08PM Land of the giants Back in 2004 fellow college freshmen John Isner and Kevin Anderson stepped onto court to play one another in an inter-university match. Isner was representing the university of Georgia, while Anderson was at the university of Illinois. Isner won the match, and now 14 years on here they both are on Centre Court, competing for a place in the Wimbledon final. Their paths have crossed many times in between - they met again in the 2007 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship match and have competed against each other 11 times as pros - but never on a stage as grand as this. "There could be a little mental aspect in our match," Isner said on Wednesday. "I say that because our rivalry, what have you, goes back way before the pro tour. We played each other in college probably three, four, five times. We played each other a bunch on the pro tour. "We've been lined up against each other for about 14 years now, because he left Illinois when I left Georgia. We've been doing it ever since. Credit: REUTERS "For me this matchup, and I think for him as well, is especially cool. It's a very nice spotlight on college tennis, that one of us, no matter what, is going to be playing in the Wimbledon final. We're duking it out in the semifinals. Two of us went to college, did it a little bit different route. It's pretty cool." As well as a shared history, Isner, 33 and Anderson, 32 have a lot else in common. They are both physical giants (Isner is 6ft 10in, Anderson is 6ft 8in) and possess among the finest serves in the game. They were also both viewed as underachievers until recently, with Isner winning a first Masters title in Miami in March and Anderson reaching the US Open final last year. This is the first time in the Wimbledon semis for both, and Isner leads the head to head 8-3. Credit: AP Isner - a proud Republican from North Carolina - has made the bigger noise of the two off the court this tournament when he said on Monday: "I'd love to have Trump watch me. That would be awesome.” Anderson though has received more plaudits for his on-court achievements, having become only the second man ever to beat Roger Federer from two sets down. Expect plenty of aces and very few rallies today in what promises to be an extremely close match. Personally I expect Isner to just have the edge.
Wimbledon’s marathon man John Isner was at it again, but this time he was outlasted by Kevin Anderson in an extraordinary 6hr 36min semi-final, the third-longest singles match in history. It was going to take something special to separate these gladiators as they went ace for ace and blow for blow. With the light starting to fade close to 8pm, the saga duly got the ending that it deserved. In the 49th game of the fifth set and at love-15 up, Anderson slipped at the back of the court. He fell to the ground, so did his racket, but when Isner put his return into the centre of the court, Anderson got off the canvas like Rocky, picked up his racket left-handed and got his forehand back into play to win the point. Hollywood eat your heart out. For the fourth consecutive Isner service game, Anderson was love-30 up. On every previous occasion, Isner’s blunderbuss serve, which peaked at 142mph, had come to his rescue. Not this time. A second serve was the chance that Anderson had been waiting for and he hit a forehand winner to engineer three break points. Isner had saved four previous break points in this marathon final set, which was approaching the three-hour mark. Each time he produced an ace to save his skin. The fifth was saved with a serve and volley, but he could not repeat the trick, at 15-40 putting a backhand into the net. The crowd celebrated raucously, as much with relief than anything else, but the job was not yet done and Anderson had to serve out the match. What must have been going through the 32-year-old’s head? On two of the three games that he had broken Isner, the American had broken straight back. This time he held his nerve as Isner put a forehand into the tramlines. There were no wild celebrations from Anderson despite becoming the first South African man in 97 years to reach a Wimbledon final, in part because of exhaustion, in part in sympathy for his vanquished foe who he first played on the American college circuit 14 years ago. Anderson prevails at last by winning the 99th game of the semi-final Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images “Coming through that match, obviously I’m ecstatic to be through to the finals.” Anderson said. “At the same time, you know, you feel like it should be a draw. But somebody has to win.” Eight years ago, Isner took part in the longest match in history in his 11hrs 5ms conquest of Nicolas Mahut. The 33-year-old has repeatedly said that he did not want his career be defined by that match. Fate obviously has a sick sense of humour. The Donald Trump supporter will have to wait to make American men’s tennis great again with Andy Roddick, their last male representative to reached a grand slam final nine years ago. “I feel pretty terrible,” Isner said. My left heel is killing me. I have an awful blister on my right foot. It stinks to lose, but I gave it everything I had out there. I just lost to someone who is a little bit better at the end.” Anderson’s victory is even more remarkable when you consider that in the last 16 he went three and a half hours against Gaël Monfils in the last 16 and then became only the fifth man to come from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in a four-hour plus quarter-final. We all thought he would have nothing left. How wrong we were. “You’re really in a war of attrition out there,” Anderson said. “It’s way beyond a normal tennis match or tactics. I mean, it’s just who’s going to, you know, outlast each other.” "Anderson vs Isner, a Wimbledon classic - you better believe it" A Centre Court epic ends with @KAndersonATP going through to the #Wimbledon final, beating John Isner 7-6(6), 6-7(5), 6-7(9), 6-4, 26-24 pic.twitter.com/Fv4ww2cEzK— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 That a match between the tournament’s two leading severs went to five sets was no surprise. To paraphrase Guns n’ Roses, “Take me down to tiebreak city, where the grass is green and the serves aren’t pretty.” Yet as the match progress and each man’s serve lost its rapier edge and the rallies went to script. The first three sets went according to script, although how different might the contest have been had Isner seized one of three break points in Anderson’s second service game? Anderson took the first tiebreak and double-faulted on set point in the second which allowed his opponent to draw level. Business started picking up in the third set when Isner, after winning 110 consecutive service games at this tournament, was finally broken. Almost inevitably, Isner broke back straight away as if he was righting a cosmetic imbalance. Health of players at risk The third-set tie-break was a classic bit of psychological theatre. Each man traded mini-breaks and lost set-point opportunities, notably when Anderson double-faulted at 8-7. When Anderson sent a forehand into the tramlines, Isner looked too shocked to celebrate. Showing some incredible reflexes, Anderson broke in the fourth game of the fourth set. Like night follows day, Isner broke straight back only to go love-40 down in his very next service game and this time Anderson held his nerve to take it to a fifth set that even Tolstoy would have considered overblown. 7:59PM A word for the vanquished "At the end you feel like it’s a draw, but someone has to win. John is a great guy and I really feel for him" - @KAndersonATP#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/SHU5fVNUc9— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 7:51PM Big Kev is through Anderson looks completely frazzled and the first thing he does is express his sympathy for his opponent: "I don't know how you can take playing for that long and not coming out on the winning side." 7:48PM Game, set and match! Anderson defeats Isner 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 26-24 An ace takes Anderson to 30-15. He exhales meaningfully. Isner then sends a return long and it's two match points at 40-15. And that's it! Isner pushes a forehand wide, and finally, finally it's over. Kevin Anderson is through to the Wimbledon final after 6hr 35min. 7:43PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 25-24 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Anderson falls to the floor, drops his racket and picks it up to play left-handed. And he wins the point to make it 0-30 again! That was insane! Anderson then spins away a forehand winner and it's three break points at 0-40. Surely, surely he has to take one of these?! Yes he does! Isner nets a backhand on the second one and Anderson will serve for the match! Oh my word, if Anderson gets broken here! Credit: PA 7:40PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 24-24 Isner* (*next server) Isner has not had a single break point all set, and Anderson holds again to love. 7:37PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 23-24 Isner (*next server) Right, is this it. Isner puts a tired forehand into the net and it's 0-30 again. But once again Isner bangs down a flurry of big serves and holds to 30. Isner's won enough games this set to have won four sets. 7:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 23-23 Isner* (*next server) Love hold for Anderson. What on earth must Nadal and Djokovic, who follow this match, be thinking? 7:30PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 22-23 Isner (*next server) It's another chance for Anderson, as he caresses a backhand down the line for 0-30. An ace and a missed Anderson backhand make it 30-30. Isner then flicks away a forehand for 40-30 before a missed Anderson forehand seals the hold. Credit: REUTERS 7:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 22-22 Isner* (*next server) Isner has the tiniest glimmer of a break at 15-15. Anderson slams the door shut and holds to 15. 7:23PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 21-22 Isner (*next server) Here we go again. Isner misses a forehand for 0-30 but responds with two big serves for 30-30. Anderson then duffs an easy backhand to make it 30-40, before Isner returns the favour with a netted volley for deuce. Isner desperately retrieves a low forehand and then punches away a volley to complete the hold. 7:19PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 21-21 Isner* (*next server) Isner receives rapturous applause at each of the points he wins this game, but Anderson emerges with a hold to 30. 7:14PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 20-21 Isner (*next server) Anderson sprays a forehand just wide and Isner holds on to 15. Credit: REUTERS 7:12PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 20-20 Isner* (*next server) Anderson responds with a hold to love. Genuinely starting to wonder if this will ever end. 7:12PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 19-20 Isner (*next server) No sniff for Anderson this game as Isner holds to 15. 7:07PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 19-19 Isner* (*next server) Anderson guides a backhand beautifully down the line to complete a hold to 15. For a moment at 15-15, Isner dared to ream. 7:03PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 18-19 Isner (*next server) Isner endures a shaky moment as he allows Anderson back in the game at 40-30 from 40-0, but he forces Anderson to miss a backhand and holds on. 7:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 18-18 Isner* (*next server) This set began at 4.45. Anderson holds to love, and is yet to face a break point in this final set. Credit: Getty Images 6:58PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 17-18 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves two break points and holds Isner misses a forehand for 15-30, and another forehand flies wide for 15-40 - two break points. Isner saves the first with an ace out wide. And indeed the second with an ace down the T. A service winner makes it advantage Isner, and he digs out the hold with a backhand pass. Nothing Anderson could have done there. 6:52PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 17-17 Isner* (*next server) Anderson holds to love, as the court coverers start to gather. We continue for now. Hopefully the shower will pass. 6:50PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 16-17 Isner (*next server) Still no immediate end in sight as Isner holds to 15. Play can go on until 11pm tonight. Will it end before then? And it's started to rain! On we go for the moment but it's definitely spitting. 6:47PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 16-16 Isner* (*next server) Two aces and a service winner from Anderson seals a very impressive hold. He's kept his level superbly this set. So has Isner in the main to be fair. Of all Wimbledon matches ever, only Isner v Mahut has ever lasted longer than this. Kevin Anderson vs John Isner. Officially the second longest singles match in Championships history.#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/fGGHRQaqz7— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 6:44PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 15-16 Isner (*next server) Isner nets a backhand for 0-15, and Anderson is close to 0-30 but he pulls a backhand just wide. Instead it's 15-15, and buoyed by the reprieve Isner holds to 30. 6:41PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 15-15 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is so on top at the moment in general play but he just can't get the break. He holds to 30 here having sped to 40-0. It is 15-15. 6:36PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 14-15 Isner (*next server) An ace and a forehand winner take Isner to a hold to 15. We're almost at 15-15 in games, which I always find amusing. It's the little things in life. Credit: AFP 6:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 14-14 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks knackered as he fails painfully to get to a low backhand. Anderson holds to 15. On we go. It feels like about a year since this match started. 6:30PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 13-14 Isner (*next server) "Come on guys, we want to see Rafa!" someone screams from the crowd. But the wait continues as Isner holds to 30. 6:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 13-13 Isner* (*next server) Anderson certainly looks the fresher of the two but Isner knows he's so close now to the final. Anderson keeps him at arm's length with a hold to 15 - sealed with consecutive aces out wide. Credit: REUTERS 6:23PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 12-13 Isner (*next server) A missed Isner backhand has us at 15-15, but any hopes of a break are dashed in the next few points as Isner holds to 30 with a clinical forehand winner. 6:20PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 12-12 Isner* (*next server) Still Anderson continues to serve accurately. He hasn't faced a break point in this final set, and races to 40-0 here. A forehand winner secures the hold to 15. We've been playing 5hr 9 min. 6:15PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 11-12 Isner (*next server) A blessedly straightforward hold for Isner after those recent struggles. He holds to love here. 6:14PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 11-11 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks pumped up, especially after Anderson nets a forehand volley for 0-15. Anderson responds in style again and holds to 15 after reeling off the next four points. Will this ever end? Credit: Getty Images 6:10PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 10-11 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds It's 0-30 again as Anderson whips away a forehand winner. Can Isner pull himself up from the canvas again? An ace out wide and a forehand winner make it 30-30. But a fizzing low return brings up a break point for Anderson at 30-40. He gets a look at it but miscues a backhand pass well long. Isner then bangs down an ace and heroically chases down a drop shot to seal the game. His momentum takes him into his chair for the change of ends. That was spectacular. 6:04PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 10-10 Isner* (*next server) Now it's Isner who can sniff a break, after he sends a forehand perfectly onto the baseline for 0-15. Anderson responds well though and reels off the next three points for 40-15. He eventually holds for 40-30. 5:59PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 9-10 Isner (*next server) Isner misses two forehands and it's 0-30! It's then heart in mouth time for Isner but he just clears the net with a low volley for 15-30. He then repeats the trick for 30-30 after Anderson stretched every sinew to retrieve a forehand. An ace makes it 40-30 and a volley winner completes the hold. 5:55PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 9-9 Isner* (*next server) Crazy how fresh Anderson looks given his previous matches lasted almost eight hours, and he's played nigh on five hours here. Anderson races to 40-15, but Isner is two points away from the final at deuce as Anderson sends a backhand wide at the end of a rare long rally. Anderson responds in style, with an ace and service winner to complete the hold. Credit: REUTERS 5:48PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 8-9 Isner (*next server) The players are wearying but no-one can get the break. Isner holds to 15 and the pressure swings right back to Anderson. 5:45PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 8-8 Isner* (*next server) After the drama of the last game, Anderson holds to love - sealed with an ace out wide. On we go. 5:43PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 7-8 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds Big chance here for Anderson. Isner sends a lunging volley long and Anderson's up 0-30. A hush fills Centre Court. A stupendous low volley from Isner makes it 15-30, before an ace down the T has us at 30-30. But a stinging Anderson return brings up a break point at 30-40. Isner of course saves it with an ace. Two crushing serves follow, and Isner holds. He screams "that's it!" in celebration. 5:36PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 7-7 Isner* (*next server) No dramas for Big Kev as an inside-in forehand winner seals a hold to love. Credit: REUTERS 5:33PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 6-7 Isner (*next server) An effective serve-volley play helps Isner to a hold to 15. No break points yet this set. 5:30PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 6-6 Isner* (*next server) Anderson nets a backhand. It's 0-15. Isner is three points from the final. Make that two points, as Isner smokes a forehand up the line for 15-30. Isner then sends a pair of backhands long and it's 40-30. Anderson seals the hold with a bullet serve out wide. No final set tie-breaker remember so on we go. Meanwhile... The Telegraph Sports desk has had their say on Anderson vs Isner Who will come out on top in this five set thriller, and what will the score be? @TelegraphSport#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/C3RzGzHubd— Jamie Johnson (@JamieoJohnson) July 13, 2018 5:26PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 5-6 Isner (*next server) Stinging Anderson forehand return winner has us at 15-15. In the context of the match so far, this is a chance! Isner responds well with a couple of banging serves for 40-15, and he eventually holds to 30. Anderson will serve to stay in the match for a second time. I'm going to stop writing that from here on in as he will be serving to stay in the match on every service game. 5:22PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 5-5 Isner* (*next server) Isner gets a look a couple of returns but he's a little flat footed and Anderson holds to 15. A reminder from Greg below that there's no tie-break on the final set at Wimbledon. US Open is the only grand slam where there is one. I think there should be tiebreakers in the final set at all Grand Slams as it creates more drama and allows players to recover better. Are we going to beat Isner vs Mahut record today with Anderson vs Isner Wimbledon semi?— Greg Rusedski (@GregRusedski1) July 13, 2018 5:18PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 4-5 Isner (*next server) Isner is still being bothered by that blister on his right hand. He holds to 15 and prior to the final point of the game calls for the trainer. Anderson will serve to stay in the match. 5:16PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) No let up from Anderson, who holds assertively to love. Meanwhile a word of encouragement for Isner from the last American man to reach a grand slam final. Come on John— andyroddick (@andyroddick) July 13, 2018 5:13PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 3-4 Isner (*next server) The worry is that as the players get progressively more tired they struggle even more to return. Speaking of which, Isner bangs down an ace - his 200th of the tournament - to wrap up a simple hold to 15. Credit: AP 5:11PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) Isner's won all five of the last meetings between these two. Will that mean anything as we enter the home straight? I suspect not a huge amount. Anderson holds to love as the match clock ticks into its fifth hour. 5:07PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 2-3 Isner (*next server) You've got to credit these guys, they've kept a very high level throughout. Isner sends down a couple of heat-seeking missile-like serves on his way to a breezy hold to 15. 5:04PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Isner hasn't been a break up at any point this match. It's a sequence that continues here as Anderson holds to 15. 5:01PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Isner bangs down three aces to take his tally to 39 and complete the hold. Credit: REUTERS 5:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Anderson looks fresher now than he did half an hour ago and holds easily to 15. 4:56PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 0-1 Isner (*next server) Isner picks himself up and holds to love. We've been playing 3hr 45 min. 4:53PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4 Isner* (*next server) - Fourth set Anderson! Can Anderson finally consolidate a break and in so doing take us into a deciding set? An ace takes Anderson to three set points at 40-0. Isner saves the first two with blistering returns, and the third with a howitzer of a forehand. This is insane! Anderson then earns a fourth set point with a smash, and he takes this one when Isner nets a return! We're heading for a final set. There'll be no tie-breaker remember so we could be here all night. Djokovic and Nadal continue to wait... Marathon men...@KAndersonATP wins the fourth set 6-4 against John Isner and the battle for a place in the #Wimbledon final goes all the way... pic.twitter.com/MagHg8E5zo— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 4:47PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 5-4 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Isner nets a half-volley and then does likewise on a backhand to gift Anderson a break point at 30-40. Anderson takes it with a backhand pass that flies past his opponent. Unbelievable. Anderson, who is breathing a little heavily now, will serve to take us into a fifth set. 4:43PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) Some normality restored as Anderson holds to love. On we go... Credit: Reuters 4:40PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-4 Isner (*next server) Isner double faults for 30-30. Surely not a third consecutive break in a row? No. Isner slams down a big serve and is then relieved as Anderson misses an easy backhand pass. 4:37PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) - Isner breaks back! The last time he broke Anderson was broken back immediately. Can he consolidate it this time? Possibly not, because Isner has rolled a forehand pass down the line for 15-30. It's then break back point for Isner as Anderson pushes a backhand pass long to make it 30-40. And Isner gets the instant break back again! This time with a backhand pass up the line. Neither man can quite believe it. 4:33PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-2 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Really good backhand pass on the run from Anderson gets him to 40-30, and an even better backhand return winner has us at deuce. Isner then gets a time violation warning before the next serve, and would you believe it Anderson flicks away another return winner to bring up a break point! Can he take it? Yes, he can! A fourth consecutive sensational shot from Anderson forces Isner into missing a half-volley, and out of nowhere he has the break. That was unreal returning from Anderson. Credit: PA 4:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Anderson regroups and holds comfortably to 15. Are we heading for another tie-break? 4:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Isner's on a groove on his serve and holds to love. With Isner serving first, he pressure will be on Anderson throughout this set. 4:21PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Isner is bouncing around the court, looking for the early kill at the start of the fourth set. But Anderson clings on and holds to 30. Credit: AP 4:17PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 0-1 Isner (*next server) Love hold from Isner to kick off the fourth set. 4:16PM Anderson's back out What must be going through his mind. He served for the third set and had a sitter to go up 40-15 in that game. He then double faulted when up set point in the breaker. How will he respond? 4:11PM Medical time out Anderson has left the court to receive treatment. 4:09PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7 Isner* (*next server) - Third set Isner Anderson pushes a forehand wide and that's the set for Isner. He takes the tie-break 11-9. After almost three hours Isner leads two sets to one. Anderson served for the set and had two set points, but he has it all to do now. Credit: REUTERS 4:08PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 9-10 Isner Anderson nets a backhand return and it's set point #3 for Isner. 4:07PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 9-9 Isner* A huge 136mph ace out wide saves it. The players change ends again. 4:06PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 9-8 Isner* An ace down the T makes it set point Anderson. Oh no it doesn't - Isner challenges and Hawk-Eye shows the ball to be out. A forehand winner does then make it set point Anderson #2. 4:05PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 8-8 Isner Oh dear, Anderson has double faulted! On we go. 4:04PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 8-7 Isner It's set point Anderson! He guides a backhand pass up the line, and will have this set point on his own serve. 4:04PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 7-7 Isner* Anderson saves it with a brilliant forehand pass! Wow, what a shot that was under immense pressure. 4:03PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 6-7 Isner* Anderson sends a forehand long and it's set point Isner. The American has this one on his own serve... 4:02PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 6-6 Isner Isner can't return a big serve down the T and Anderson clings on. 4:01PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 5-6 Isner Isner then produces another wondrous low volley to earn himself a set point. The crowd loved that. What a couple of points. 4:00PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 5-5 Isner* Sensational low pick-up from Isner levels the breaker up. 3:59PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 5-4 Isner* Service winner puts Anderson in front. Blimey, this is tense. 3:59PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 4-4 Isner Isner gets the mini-break with a forehand down the line. Anderson again could have done more with his forehand the shot before. 3:58PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 4-3 Isner Anderson guides a backhand down the line to secure the mini-break. Huge roar from the crowd. 3:57PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 3-3 Isner* An Isner ace down the T ensures the players are level at the change of ends. 3:56PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 2-3 Isner* Service winner puts Anderson in front. 3:55PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 2-2 Isner Forehand winner from Anderson levels things up. 3:55PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 1-2 Isner Stunning Anderson forehand winner return gets the mini-break back. That's the shot of the match so far. 3:54PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 0-2 Isner* An ace down the T doubles Isner's lead. 3:54PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 0-1 Isner* Anderson completely miscues a forehand, and it's an instant mini-break for Isner. 3:53PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-6 Isner (*next server) - third set tie-break Tense moments for Isner as he misses a forehand and double faults for 30-30. Anderson is two points from the set. Isner responds with his hardest serve of the match - a 142mph bomb for 40-30. An ace down the T then wraps up the game. We're into a third set tie-break. 3:49PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-5 Isner* (*next server) A love hold for Anderson. How he could have done with that a couple of games ago. Isner gets some more tape for the blister on his right hand. Once he's patched up he'll serve to stay in the third set for a second time. Credit: PA 3:46PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 5-5 Isner (*next server) Isner looks seriously pumped. He flicks away two neat volleys for 30-0, before two aces help him to a hold to 15. We're back on serve in the third set. 3:43PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 5-4 Isner* (*next server) - Isner breaks back! Imagine if after that Anderson got broken now. It could just happen. He makes a mess of an easy forehand, allowing Isner to guide a backhand pass down the line for 30-30. And then a long backhand from Anderson gives Isner a break back point at 30-40. And he takes it! Anderson nets an attempted forehand pass and we're back on serve. I do not believe that. Anderson missed a glorious chance to go up 40-15, and how he might regret losing his serve there. 3:39PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 5-3 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Isner's been on top this set but Anderson thumps a forehand up the line for 0-15. Isner then nets a forehand and it's 15-30. Chance here for Anderson. Big chance now, as Isner sends a forehand wide! It's two break points for Anderson at 15-40. Will Isner finally be broken at this year's Wimbledon? Yes! At last, Isner drops his serve. It's a brilliant Anderson backhand return that leaves Isner sprawling at the net. After 110 straight service holds this tournament, Isner is finally broken. Anderson will serve for the third set. Credit: Getty Images 3:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 4-3 Isner* (*next server) Isner again has a sniff by winning the first point of an Anderson service game, but Big Kev steels himself once more and holds to 30. 3:31PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 3-3 Isner (*next server) Another excellent half-volley pick-up from Isner helps him on his way to a hold to 15. 3:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 3-2 Isner* (*next server) A booming ace down the T secures a hold to 15 for Anderson. At the last change of ends it looked as though the umpire had a word with Isner about receiving coaching from his box. Isner angrily refutes the suggestion. 3:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 2-2 Isner (*next server) No such issues on the Isner serve as he holds to love. Credit: REUTERS 3:20PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 2-1 Isner* (*next server) First opening that Isner has had on the Anderson serve for an absolute age, as the South African nets a forehand for 15-30. Isner has a good chance at two break points but he nets a forehand off an Anderson second serve to make it 30-30. Isner then overhits a return for 40-30. A relieved Anderson screams "yes!" in celebration, and then thwacks away a forehand winner to complete the hold. A big opportunity missed for Isner. 3:17PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 1-1 Isner (*next server) Beautiful pick-up from Isner secures a hold to 15. He hit that from absolute no-man's land between the baseline and service line. Ridiculous stat below by the way... Kevin Anderson hit one unforced error in the last set and lost it.— Tumaini Carayol (@tumcarayol) July 13, 2018 3:14PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 1-0 Isner* (*next server) Anderson holds to love in the blink of an eye. Who's going to crack here? No breaks of serve all match remember. Credit: BBC 3:10PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7 Isner (*next server) - Second set Isner Isner sends an ace flying screaming down the T and he lets out a huge roar in celebration after winning the tie-break 7-5. It's one-set all after exactly two hours. Djokovic and Nadal could be waiting a while longer... Credit: REUTERS 3:08PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 5-6 Isner* Isner nets a forehand so on we go. The third set point though will be on the Isner serve...what have you got big John? 3:07PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 4-6 Isner Anderson saves the first set point with an ace out wide. 3:07PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 3-6 Isner Service winner brings up three set points for Isner. 3:06PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 3-5 Isner* Anderson gets one of the mini-breaks back with a backhand winner. Isner had thought he was 6-2 up but a Hawk-Eye challenge showed his serve to be out. 3:05PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 2-5 Isner* Another ace down the T reduces the deficit. 3:04PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 1-5 Isner An ace down the T gets Anderson off the mark. 3:03PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-5 Isner Unreturned serve extends Isner's lead. 3:03PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 0-4 Isner* A serve-volley play ends in an easy smash for Isner. He's running away with this. 3:02PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 0-3 Isner* Wow, another stunning return sets Isner up for an easy forehand put-away. He's two mini-breaks to the good. 3:01PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-2 Isner Blistering service return secures an instant mini-break for Isner. 3:01PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-1 Isner Unreturnable serve seals the first point of the breaker for Isner. 3:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-6 Isner* (*next server) - Second set tie-break Isner punches away a volley for 0-15, but Anderson rolls off a few forehand winners and eventually holds to 30. We're into a second set tie-break. 2:55PM Anderson* 7-6, 5-6 Isner (*next server) Isner looks a little tired all of a sudden as Anderson cranks up the power to move to 30-30 again. But Isner responds in style, thwacking down two service winners to hold to 30. Anderson will serve to stay in the second set for a second time. 2:51PM Anderson 7-6, 5-5 Isner* (*next server) Anderson brushes off the disappointment of not taking that break point and holds to 15. After Isner shaded the first set performance-wise, Anderson's been the stronger player in the second. Credit: AFP 2:48PM Anderson* 7-6, 4-5 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds Well, well, what have we here ? Isner pushes a volley wide and it's 30-30. Make that 30-40 and break point Anderson after another brilliant forehand winner! Can he take it? No, Isner saves it with a punched volley. How do you break this guy?! Isner then claims the next two points and that's 106 service holds in a row at this year's Wimbledon. Had Anderson broken there he would have been serving for a two-sets lead. 2:43PM Anderson 7-6, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) Anderson responds with a love hold of his own. Can we just play the tie-break now? (Tie-breaks at 3-3 was incidentally one of the rule changes experiments with at the ATP Next Gen Finals last year). 2:40PM Anderson* 7-6, 3-4 Isner (*next server) Aaaand it's a love hold for Isner, who hasn't dropped his serve all tournament. Credit: AFP 2:38PM Anderson 7-6, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is hitting his forehand sensationally well today, snaring Isner with another crosscourt pass for 30-0. A couple of points later he completes a love hold. It feels at the moment as if we're heading inexorably for another tie-break. 2:34PM Anderson* 7-6, 2-3 Isner (*next server) Beautiful rolled forehand pass from Anderson has the Centre Court crowd in raptures. Isner reels off the next three points to go up 40-15, but a couple of excellent Anderson returns have us at deuce. Only the second time Isner's been taken to deuce today. He fends off the danger with two wicked second serves. We remain on serve, with neither player having dropped their serve so far this match. 2:29PM Anderson 7-6, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Yeah no sign of a break at the moment. Anderson holds to 15 with an 11th ace. Isner is fine to continue. 2:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Impressive game from Isner, who hits a lovely curling forehand winner on his way to a hold to love. It feels like both players are getting into ominous rhythms on their serve. Isner is getting treatement for a blister on his racket hand. Please don't let this end like Cilic's blister-induced tears in last year's final. Credit: REUTERS 2:23PM Anderson 7-6, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Isner's swinging pretty wildly and he misses a couple of backhands to help Anderson to a hold to 15. 2:18PM Anderson* 7-6, 0-1 Isner (*next server) That was a really high-level first set, so much more than just big serving. Isner started much the better and missed three break points, as well as a set point, but he'll have to put that disappointment quickly behind him. He certainly does that this game, banging down three consecutive aces in a confident hold to love. 2:15PM Anderson 7-6 Isner* (*next server) - First set Anderson A long, tense rally goes Anderson's way as Isner nets a forehand. First set Anderson. Anderson wins the tie-break 8-6, and after 63 minutes is a set to the good. Credit: Getty Images 2:13PM First set tie-break: Anderson 7-6 Isner* Isner nets a makeable backhand and it's set point Anderson. 2:12PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 6-6 Isner Well played Anderson. He hits a few nerveless forehands and saves the set point with a smash. 2:11PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 5-6 Isner A 139mph ace makes it set point Isner. 2:10PM First set tie-break: Anderson 5-5 Isner* Service winner levels things up. The next point will be a set point for one of these two... 2:09PM First set tie-break: Anderson 5-4 Isner* Brilliant low volley from Anderson makes it three points in a row for the South African. 2:08PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 4-4 Isner Anderson smash levels things up. 2:08PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 3-4 Isner What a shot! Anderson claims the mini-break back with a sensational forehand passing shot on the run. We're back on serve. 2:07PM First set tie-break: Anderson 2-4 Isner* Isner ensures he's ahead at the change of ends with a clever body serve. 2:06PM First set tie-break: Anderson 2-3 Isner* Anderson service winner reduces the deficit. 2:05PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 1-3 Isner Brilliant Isner forehand winner secures him the early mini-break. What a shot. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 1-2 Isner Isner ace gets his nose in front. No mini-breaks so far. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson 1-1 Isner* Isner levels up with a forehand volley winner. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson 1-0 Isner* Anderson forehand winner gets him the first point. 2:03PM Anderson* 6-6 Isner (*next server) - Tie-break Isner's eighth ace secures a hold to 15 and takes us into a first set tie-break. Anderson to serve first in the breaker. How's your nerve lads? 1:59PM Anderson 6-5 Isner* (*next server) Love hold for Anderson, sealed with a nifty volley. Isner will serve to stay in the first set for a second time. It's been an interesting, high-quality match so far. Anybody who thinks Isner vs Anderson is just a match between towering servebots has not been watching the match and definitely was not watching the 3d game— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) July 13, 2018 1:56PM Anderson* 5-5 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a set point and holds An awkward low return from Anderson draws a missed volley from Isner for 0-15. Isner responds with a 126 mph second serve for 15-15, but he then nets a backhand and it's 15-30 - Anderson is two points from the set. A booming serve out wide has us at 30-30, before a double fault gives Anderson a set point at 30-40! Can he take this precious opportunity? Isner has held all 99 of his previous service games at this tournament. And he clings on here with a gutsy second serve that completely jams Anderson. An ace and a service winner follow to make it 100 out of 100 service holds this tournament. Nothing Anderson could have done there, but what a huge moment that might prove to be. Make that 100 consecutive service games unbroken for @JohnIsner at #Wimbledon ���� pic.twitter.com/UK9gBlNMkh— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 1:50PM Anderson 5-4 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks a little sluggish as he fails to chase down a drop shot. Anderson then runs away with the game and holds to love. Isner will serve to stay in the first set. 1:48PM Anderson* 4-4 Isner (*next server) Two aces from Isner level the ace count at six apiece and the set at four-games all. Business end of the set incoming... 1:45PM Anderson 4-3 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is trying to mix up his serves by not solely targetting the Isner backhand. It makes sense to try and avoid being too predictable, but Isner is getting a lot of joy from thumping forehand returns. Anderson eventually holds to 15 here, as two more aces take his tally so far to six. Credit: Getty Images 1:42PM Anderson* 3-3 Isner (*next server) Anderson's last two matches have taken a combined time of nearly eight hours, so you'd expect he might have a few aching limbs. Isner is definitely leading this match 'on points' to use the boxing term. He's been by far the stronger player and slams down two aces to hold to 15. 1:39PM Anderson 3-2 Isner* (*next server) Isner is being so aggressive on his returns and is getting a good read on the Anderson serve. A couple of errors though help Anderson to a hold to 15. Anderson meanwhile has called for the trainer to deliver him a banana and a few pills. Oh dear, hopefully it's nothing serious. 1:35PM Anderson* 2-2 Isner (*next server) No mental let-down from Isner after missing those break points. An ace down the T seals a holds to 30, having raced to 40-0 up. Credit: REUTERS 1:30PM Anderson 2-1 Isner* (*next server) - Anderson saves three break points and holds Oooh, a rally of almost 10 shots breaks out which ends with Anderson netting a backhand for 30-30. Half a chance this for Isner. Anderson hits a brilliant forehand to go up 40-30, but Isner responds with one of his own for deuce. Isner then forces a break point (practically a set point?) with another huge forehand. He's absolutely nailing that shot at the moment. But he snatches at the break point by sending a forehand skidding long. Huge chance missed there. But another one presents itself straight away, as Isner absolutely smokes another forehand winner. Anderson saves this one too when a backhand kicks off the baseline and flummoxes his opponent. Moments later, Isner earns a third break point with a brilliant forehand return. And what a chance that is! But Isner misses a sitter of a volley and it's back to deuce. Blimey that looked all the world like being the break. John McEnroe says in commentary that this is the finest returning game he's ever seen Isner play. Anderson then misses a few chances of his own to win the game, as Isner continues to strike the ball beautifully off both wings. Anderson eventually holds after a game that lasts 13 minutes. He puffs his cheeks out in relief. Isner looks extremely sharp in these opening exchanges, but that's a big chance missed. 1:16PM Anderson* 1-1 Isner (*next server) Anderson gets to 15-0 with a flicked forehand pass. Isner reels off the next four points to claim the hold. 1:13PM Anderson 1-0 Isner* (*next server) Double fault and an ace to kick us off. Another ace helps Anderson to a hold to 15. 1:10PM Ready? Play Anderson won the toss and will serve first. A place in the #Wimbledon final awaits for one of @KAndersonATP and @JohnIsner… Follow it live �� �� https://t.co/N05LMuoUDMpic.twitter.com/QL51Ptc6GA— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 1:06PM They're knocking up Practising serves. Not sure you really need to lads. 1:02PM Players are out Isner hasn't dropped his serve this tournament, and has only faced seven break points. But amazingly this is his first match on Centre Court. The players step on to the court to warm applause from the crowd. 12:58PM What's it like facing Isner's serve? Simon Briggs went to find out. 12:44PM Ace, ace, ace Expect tie-breaks and very few rallies and service breaks this afternoon. As John Isner said yesterday: "When I say 'big points' I'm talking about break points for me, which are essentially set points". We all remember his 70-68 fifth set against Nicolas Mahut here eight years ago. Credit: Getty Images 12:08PM Land of the giants Back in 2004 fellow college freshmen John Isner and Kevin Anderson stepped onto court to play one another in an inter-university match. Isner was representing the university of Georgia, while Anderson was at the university of Illinois. Isner won the match, and now 14 years on here they both are on Centre Court, competing for a place in the Wimbledon final. Their paths have crossed many times in between - they met again in the 2007 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship match and have competed against each other 11 times as pros - but never on a stage as grand as this. "There could be a little mental aspect in our match," Isner said on Wednesday. "I say that because our rivalry, what have you, goes back way before the pro tour. We played each other in college probably three, four, five times. We played each other a bunch on the pro tour. "We've been lined up against each other for about 14 years now, because he left Illinois when I left Georgia. We've been doing it ever since. Credit: REUTERS "For me this matchup, and I think for him as well, is especially cool. It's a very nice spotlight on college tennis, that one of us, no matter what, is going to be playing in the Wimbledon final. We're duking it out in the semifinals. Two of us went to college, did it a little bit different route. It's pretty cool." As well as a shared history, Isner, 33 and Anderson, 32 have a lot else in common. They are both physical giants (Isner is 6ft 10in, Anderson is 6ft 8in) and possess among the finest serves in the game. They were also both viewed as underachievers until recently, with Isner winning a first Masters title in Miami in March and Anderson reaching the US Open final last year. This is the first time in the Wimbledon semis for both, and Isner leads the head to head 8-3. Credit: AP Isner - a proud Republican from North Carolina - has made the bigger noise of the two off the court this tournament when he said on Monday: "I'd love to have Trump watch me. That would be awesome.” Anderson though has received more plaudits for his on-court achievements, having become only the second man ever to beat Roger Federer from two sets down. Expect plenty of aces and very few rallies today in what promises to be an extremely close match. Personally I expect Isner to just have the edge.
Kevin Anderson defeats John Isner, in second-longest Wimbledon match of all time to reach final
Wimbledon’s marathon man John Isner was at it again, but this time he was outlasted by Kevin Anderson in an extraordinary 6hr 36min semi-final, the third-longest singles match in history. It was going to take something special to separate these gladiators as they went ace for ace and blow for blow. With the light starting to fade close to 8pm, the saga duly got the ending that it deserved. In the 49th game of the fifth set and at love-15 up, Anderson slipped at the back of the court. He fell to the ground, so did his racket, but when Isner put his return into the centre of the court, Anderson got off the canvas like Rocky, picked up his racket left-handed and got his forehand back into play to win the point. Hollywood eat your heart out. For the fourth consecutive Isner service game, Anderson was love-30 up. On every previous occasion, Isner’s blunderbuss serve, which peaked at 142mph, had come to his rescue. Not this time. A second serve was the chance that Anderson had been waiting for and he hit a forehand winner to engineer three break points. Isner had saved four previous break points in this marathon final set, which was approaching the three-hour mark. Each time he produced an ace to save his skin. The fifth was saved with a serve and volley, but he could not repeat the trick, at 15-40 putting a backhand into the net. The crowd celebrated raucously, as much with relief than anything else, but the job was not yet done and Anderson had to serve out the match. What must have been going through the 32-year-old’s head? On two of the three games that he had broken Isner, the American had broken straight back. This time he held his nerve as Isner put a forehand into the tramlines. There were no wild celebrations from Anderson despite becoming the first South African man in 97 years to reach a Wimbledon final, in part because of exhaustion, in part in sympathy for his vanquished foe who he first played on the American college circuit 14 years ago. Anderson prevails at last by winning the 99th game of the semi-final Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images “Coming through that match, obviously I’m ecstatic to be through to the finals.” Anderson said. “At the same time, you know, you feel like it should be a draw. But somebody has to win.” Eight years ago, Isner took part in the longest match in history in his 11hrs 5ms conquest of Nicolas Mahut. The 33-year-old has repeatedly said that he did not want his career be defined by that match. Fate obviously has a sick sense of humour. The Donald Trump supporter will have to wait to make American men’s tennis great again with Andy Roddick, their last male representative to reached a grand slam final nine years ago. “I feel pretty terrible,” Isner said. My left heel is killing me. I have an awful blister on my right foot. It stinks to lose, but I gave it everything I had out there. I just lost to someone who is a little bit better at the end.” Anderson’s victory is even more remarkable when you consider that in the last 16 he went three and a half hours against Gaël Monfils in the last 16 and then became only the fifth man to come from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in a four-hour plus quarter-final. We all thought he would have nothing left. How wrong we were. “You’re really in a war of attrition out there,” Anderson said. “It’s way beyond a normal tennis match or tactics. I mean, it’s just who’s going to, you know, outlast each other.” "Anderson vs Isner, a Wimbledon classic - you better believe it" A Centre Court epic ends with @KAndersonATP going through to the #Wimbledon final, beating John Isner 7-6(6), 6-7(5), 6-7(9), 6-4, 26-24 pic.twitter.com/Fv4ww2cEzK— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 That a match between the tournament’s two leading severs went to five sets was no surprise. To paraphrase Guns n’ Roses, “Take me down to tiebreak city, where the grass is green and the serves aren’t pretty.” Yet as the match progress and each man’s serve lost its rapier edge and the rallies went to script. The first three sets went according to script, although how different might the contest have been had Isner seized one of three break points in Anderson’s second service game? Anderson took the first tiebreak and double-faulted on set point in the second which allowed his opponent to draw level. Business started picking up in the third set when Isner, after winning 110 consecutive service games at this tournament, was finally broken. Almost inevitably, Isner broke back straight away as if he was righting a cosmetic imbalance. Health of players at risk The third-set tie-break was a classic bit of psychological theatre. Each man traded mini-breaks and lost set-point opportunities, notably when Anderson double-faulted at 8-7. When Anderson sent a forehand into the tramlines, Isner looked too shocked to celebrate. Showing some incredible reflexes, Anderson broke in the fourth game of the fourth set. Like night follows day, Isner broke straight back only to go love-40 down in his very next service game and this time Anderson held his nerve to take it to a fifth set that even Tolstoy would have considered overblown. 7:59PM A word for the vanquished "At the end you feel like it’s a draw, but someone has to win. John is a great guy and I really feel for him" - @KAndersonATP#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/SHU5fVNUc9— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 7:51PM Big Kev is through Anderson looks completely frazzled and the first thing he does is express his sympathy for his opponent: "I don't know how you can take playing for that long and not coming out on the winning side." 7:48PM Game, set and match! Anderson defeats Isner 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 26-24 An ace takes Anderson to 30-15. He exhales meaningfully. Isner then sends a return long and it's two match points at 40-15. And that's it! Isner pushes a forehand wide, and finally, finally it's over. Kevin Anderson is through to the Wimbledon final after 6hr 35min. 7:43PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 25-24 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Anderson falls to the floor, drops his racket and picks it up to play left-handed. And he wins the point to make it 0-30 again! That was insane! Anderson then spins away a forehand winner and it's three break points at 0-40. Surely, surely he has to take one of these?! Yes he does! Isner nets a backhand on the second one and Anderson will serve for the match! Oh my word, if Anderson gets broken here! Credit: PA 7:40PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 24-24 Isner* (*next server) Isner has not had a single break point all set, and Anderson holds again to love. 7:37PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 23-24 Isner (*next server) Right, is this it. Isner puts a tired forehand into the net and it's 0-30 again. But once again Isner bangs down a flurry of big serves and holds to 30. Isner's won enough games this set to have won four sets. 7:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 23-23 Isner* (*next server) Love hold for Anderson. What on earth must Nadal and Djokovic, who follow this match, be thinking? 7:30PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 22-23 Isner (*next server) It's another chance for Anderson, as he caresses a backhand down the line for 0-30. An ace and a missed Anderson backhand make it 30-30. Isner then flicks away a forehand for 40-30 before a missed Anderson forehand seals the hold. Credit: REUTERS 7:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 22-22 Isner* (*next server) Isner has the tiniest glimmer of a break at 15-15. Anderson slams the door shut and holds to 15. 7:23PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 21-22 Isner (*next server) Here we go again. Isner misses a forehand for 0-30 but responds with two big serves for 30-30. Anderson then duffs an easy backhand to make it 30-40, before Isner returns the favour with a netted volley for deuce. Isner desperately retrieves a low forehand and then punches away a volley to complete the hold. 7:19PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 21-21 Isner* (*next server) Isner receives rapturous applause at each of the points he wins this game, but Anderson emerges with a hold to 30. 7:14PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 20-21 Isner (*next server) Anderson sprays a forehand just wide and Isner holds on to 15. Credit: REUTERS 7:12PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 20-20 Isner* (*next server) Anderson responds with a hold to love. Genuinely starting to wonder if this will ever end. 7:12PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 19-20 Isner (*next server) No sniff for Anderson this game as Isner holds to 15. 7:07PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 19-19 Isner* (*next server) Anderson guides a backhand beautifully down the line to complete a hold to 15. For a moment at 15-15, Isner dared to ream. 7:03PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 18-19 Isner (*next server) Isner endures a shaky moment as he allows Anderson back in the game at 40-30 from 40-0, but he forces Anderson to miss a backhand and holds on. 7:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 18-18 Isner* (*next server) This set began at 4.45. Anderson holds to love, and is yet to face a break point in this final set. Credit: Getty Images 6:58PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 17-18 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves two break points and holds Isner misses a forehand for 15-30, and another forehand flies wide for 15-40 - two break points. Isner saves the first with an ace out wide. And indeed the second with an ace down the T. A service winner makes it advantage Isner, and he digs out the hold with a backhand pass. Nothing Anderson could have done there. 6:52PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 17-17 Isner* (*next server) Anderson holds to love, as the court coverers start to gather. We continue for now. Hopefully the shower will pass. 6:50PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 16-17 Isner (*next server) Still no immediate end in sight as Isner holds to 15. Play can go on until 11pm tonight. Will it end before then? And it's started to rain! On we go for the moment but it's definitely spitting. 6:47PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 16-16 Isner* (*next server) Two aces and a service winner from Anderson seals a very impressive hold. He's kept his level superbly this set. So has Isner in the main to be fair. Of all Wimbledon matches ever, only Isner v Mahut has ever lasted longer than this. Kevin Anderson vs John Isner. Officially the second longest singles match in Championships history.#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/fGGHRQaqz7— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 6:44PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 15-16 Isner (*next server) Isner nets a backhand for 0-15, and Anderson is close to 0-30 but he pulls a backhand just wide. Instead it's 15-15, and buoyed by the reprieve Isner holds to 30. 6:41PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 15-15 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is so on top at the moment in general play but he just can't get the break. He holds to 30 here having sped to 40-0. It is 15-15. 6:36PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 14-15 Isner (*next server) An ace and a forehand winner take Isner to a hold to 15. We're almost at 15-15 in games, which I always find amusing. It's the little things in life. Credit: AFP 6:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 14-14 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks knackered as he fails painfully to get to a low backhand. Anderson holds to 15. On we go. It feels like about a year since this match started. 6:30PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 13-14 Isner (*next server) "Come on guys, we want to see Rafa!" someone screams from the crowd. But the wait continues as Isner holds to 30. 6:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 13-13 Isner* (*next server) Anderson certainly looks the fresher of the two but Isner knows he's so close now to the final. Anderson keeps him at arm's length with a hold to 15 - sealed with consecutive aces out wide. Credit: REUTERS 6:23PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 12-13 Isner (*next server) A missed Isner backhand has us at 15-15, but any hopes of a break are dashed in the next few points as Isner holds to 30 with a clinical forehand winner. 6:20PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 12-12 Isner* (*next server) Still Anderson continues to serve accurately. He hasn't faced a break point in this final set, and races to 40-0 here. A forehand winner secures the hold to 15. We've been playing 5hr 9 min. 6:15PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 11-12 Isner (*next server) A blessedly straightforward hold for Isner after those recent struggles. He holds to love here. 6:14PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 11-11 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks pumped up, especially after Anderson nets a forehand volley for 0-15. Anderson responds in style again and holds to 15 after reeling off the next four points. Will this ever end? Credit: Getty Images 6:10PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 10-11 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds It's 0-30 again as Anderson whips away a forehand winner. Can Isner pull himself up from the canvas again? An ace out wide and a forehand winner make it 30-30. But a fizzing low return brings up a break point for Anderson at 30-40. He gets a look at it but miscues a backhand pass well long. Isner then bangs down an ace and heroically chases down a drop shot to seal the game. His momentum takes him into his chair for the change of ends. That was spectacular. 6:04PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 10-10 Isner* (*next server) Now it's Isner who can sniff a break, after he sends a forehand perfectly onto the baseline for 0-15. Anderson responds well though and reels off the next three points for 40-15. He eventually holds for 40-30. 5:59PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 9-10 Isner (*next server) Isner misses two forehands and it's 0-30! It's then heart in mouth time for Isner but he just clears the net with a low volley for 15-30. He then repeats the trick for 30-30 after Anderson stretched every sinew to retrieve a forehand. An ace makes it 40-30 and a volley winner completes the hold. 5:55PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 9-9 Isner* (*next server) Crazy how fresh Anderson looks given his previous matches lasted almost eight hours, and he's played nigh on five hours here. Anderson races to 40-15, but Isner is two points away from the final at deuce as Anderson sends a backhand wide at the end of a rare long rally. Anderson responds in style, with an ace and service winner to complete the hold. Credit: REUTERS 5:48PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 8-9 Isner (*next server) The players are wearying but no-one can get the break. Isner holds to 15 and the pressure swings right back to Anderson. 5:45PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 8-8 Isner* (*next server) After the drama of the last game, Anderson holds to love - sealed with an ace out wide. On we go. 5:43PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 7-8 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds Big chance here for Anderson. Isner sends a lunging volley long and Anderson's up 0-30. A hush fills Centre Court. A stupendous low volley from Isner makes it 15-30, before an ace down the T has us at 30-30. But a stinging Anderson return brings up a break point at 30-40. Isner of course saves it with an ace. Two crushing serves follow, and Isner holds. He screams "that's it!" in celebration. 5:36PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 7-7 Isner* (*next server) No dramas for Big Kev as an inside-in forehand winner seals a hold to love. Credit: REUTERS 5:33PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 6-7 Isner (*next server) An effective serve-volley play helps Isner to a hold to 15. No break points yet this set. 5:30PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 6-6 Isner* (*next server) Anderson nets a backhand. It's 0-15. Isner is three points from the final. Make that two points, as Isner smokes a forehand up the line for 15-30. Isner then sends a pair of backhands long and it's 40-30. Anderson seals the hold with a bullet serve out wide. No final set tie-breaker remember so on we go. Meanwhile... The Telegraph Sports desk has had their say on Anderson vs Isner Who will come out on top in this five set thriller, and what will the score be? @TelegraphSport#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/C3RzGzHubd— Jamie Johnson (@JamieoJohnson) July 13, 2018 5:26PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 5-6 Isner (*next server) Stinging Anderson forehand return winner has us at 15-15. In the context of the match so far, this is a chance! Isner responds well with a couple of banging serves for 40-15, and he eventually holds to 30. Anderson will serve to stay in the match for a second time. I'm going to stop writing that from here on in as he will be serving to stay in the match on every service game. 5:22PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 5-5 Isner* (*next server) Isner gets a look a couple of returns but he's a little flat footed and Anderson holds to 15. A reminder from Greg below that there's no tie-break on the final set at Wimbledon. US Open is the only grand slam where there is one. I think there should be tiebreakers in the final set at all Grand Slams as it creates more drama and allows players to recover better. Are we going to beat Isner vs Mahut record today with Anderson vs Isner Wimbledon semi?— Greg Rusedski (@GregRusedski1) July 13, 2018 5:18PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 4-5 Isner (*next server) Isner is still being bothered by that blister on his right hand. He holds to 15 and prior to the final point of the game calls for the trainer. Anderson will serve to stay in the match. 5:16PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) No let up from Anderson, who holds assertively to love. Meanwhile a word of encouragement for Isner from the last American man to reach a grand slam final. Come on John— andyroddick (@andyroddick) July 13, 2018 5:13PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 3-4 Isner (*next server) The worry is that as the players get progressively more tired they struggle even more to return. Speaking of which, Isner bangs down an ace - his 200th of the tournament - to wrap up a simple hold to 15. Credit: AP 5:11PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) Isner's won all five of the last meetings between these two. Will that mean anything as we enter the home straight? I suspect not a huge amount. Anderson holds to love as the match clock ticks into its fifth hour. 5:07PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 2-3 Isner (*next server) You've got to credit these guys, they've kept a very high level throughout. Isner sends down a couple of heat-seeking missile-like serves on his way to a breezy hold to 15. 5:04PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Isner hasn't been a break up at any point this match. It's a sequence that continues here as Anderson holds to 15. 5:01PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Isner bangs down three aces to take his tally to 39 and complete the hold. Credit: REUTERS 5:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Anderson looks fresher now than he did half an hour ago and holds easily to 15. 4:56PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 0-1 Isner (*next server) Isner picks himself up and holds to love. We've been playing 3hr 45 min. 4:53PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4 Isner* (*next server) - Fourth set Anderson! Can Anderson finally consolidate a break and in so doing take us into a deciding set? An ace takes Anderson to three set points at 40-0. Isner saves the first two with blistering returns, and the third with a howitzer of a forehand. This is insane! Anderson then earns a fourth set point with a smash, and he takes this one when Isner nets a return! We're heading for a final set. There'll be no tie-breaker remember so we could be here all night. Djokovic and Nadal continue to wait... Marathon men...@KAndersonATP wins the fourth set 6-4 against John Isner and the battle for a place in the #Wimbledon final goes all the way... pic.twitter.com/MagHg8E5zo— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 4:47PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 5-4 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Isner nets a half-volley and then does likewise on a backhand to gift Anderson a break point at 30-40. Anderson takes it with a backhand pass that flies past his opponent. Unbelievable. Anderson, who is breathing a little heavily now, will serve to take us into a fifth set. 4:43PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) Some normality restored as Anderson holds to love. On we go... Credit: Reuters 4:40PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-4 Isner (*next server) Isner double faults for 30-30. Surely not a third consecutive break in a row? No. Isner slams down a big serve and is then relieved as Anderson misses an easy backhand pass. 4:37PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) - Isner breaks back! The last time he broke Anderson was broken back immediately. Can he consolidate it this time? Possibly not, because Isner has rolled a forehand pass down the line for 15-30. It's then break back point for Isner as Anderson pushes a backhand pass long to make it 30-40. And Isner gets the instant break back again! This time with a backhand pass up the line. Neither man can quite believe it. 4:33PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-2 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Really good backhand pass on the run from Anderson gets him to 40-30, and an even better backhand return winner has us at deuce. Isner then gets a time violation warning before the next serve, and would you believe it Anderson flicks away another return winner to bring up a break point! Can he take it? Yes, he can! A fourth consecutive sensational shot from Anderson forces Isner into missing a half-volley, and out of nowhere he has the break. That was unreal returning from Anderson. Credit: PA 4:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Anderson regroups and holds comfortably to 15. Are we heading for another tie-break? 4:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Isner's on a groove on his serve and holds to love. With Isner serving first, he pressure will be on Anderson throughout this set. 4:21PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Isner is bouncing around the court, looking for the early kill at the start of the fourth set. But Anderson clings on and holds to 30. Credit: AP 4:17PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 0-1 Isner (*next server) Love hold from Isner to kick off the fourth set. 4:16PM Anderson's back out What must be going through his mind. He served for the third set and had a sitter to go up 40-15 in that game. He then double faulted when up set point in the breaker. How will he respond? 4:11PM Medical time out Anderson has left the court to receive treatment. 4:09PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7 Isner* (*next server) - Third set Isner Anderson pushes a forehand wide and that's the set for Isner. He takes the tie-break 11-9. After almost three hours Isner leads two sets to one. Anderson served for the set and had two set points, but he has it all to do now. Credit: REUTERS 4:08PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 9-10 Isner Anderson nets a backhand return and it's set point #3 for Isner. 4:07PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 9-9 Isner* A huge 136mph ace out wide saves it. The players change ends again. 4:06PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 9-8 Isner* An ace down the T makes it set point Anderson. Oh no it doesn't - Isner challenges and Hawk-Eye shows the ball to be out. A forehand winner does then make it set point Anderson #2. 4:05PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 8-8 Isner Oh dear, Anderson has double faulted! On we go. 4:04PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 8-7 Isner It's set point Anderson! He guides a backhand pass up the line, and will have this set point on his own serve. 4:04PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 7-7 Isner* Anderson saves it with a brilliant forehand pass! Wow, what a shot that was under immense pressure. 4:03PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 6-7 Isner* Anderson sends a forehand long and it's set point Isner. The American has this one on his own serve... 4:02PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 6-6 Isner Isner can't return a big serve down the T and Anderson clings on. 4:01PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 5-6 Isner Isner then produces another wondrous low volley to earn himself a set point. The crowd loved that. What a couple of points. 4:00PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 5-5 Isner* Sensational low pick-up from Isner levels the breaker up. 3:59PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 5-4 Isner* Service winner puts Anderson in front. Blimey, this is tense. 3:59PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 4-4 Isner Isner gets the mini-break with a forehand down the line. Anderson again could have done more with his forehand the shot before. 3:58PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 4-3 Isner Anderson guides a backhand down the line to secure the mini-break. Huge roar from the crowd. 3:57PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 3-3 Isner* An Isner ace down the T ensures the players are level at the change of ends. 3:56PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 2-3 Isner* Service winner puts Anderson in front. 3:55PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 2-2 Isner Forehand winner from Anderson levels things up. 3:55PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 1-2 Isner Stunning Anderson forehand winner return gets the mini-break back. That's the shot of the match so far. 3:54PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 0-2 Isner* An ace down the T doubles Isner's lead. 3:54PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 0-1 Isner* Anderson completely miscues a forehand, and it's an instant mini-break for Isner. 3:53PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-6 Isner (*next server) - third set tie-break Tense moments for Isner as he misses a forehand and double faults for 30-30. Anderson is two points from the set. Isner responds with his hardest serve of the match - a 142mph bomb for 40-30. An ace down the T then wraps up the game. We're into a third set tie-break. 3:49PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-5 Isner* (*next server) A love hold for Anderson. How he could have done with that a couple of games ago. Isner gets some more tape for the blister on his right hand. Once he's patched up he'll serve to stay in the third set for a second time. Credit: PA 3:46PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 5-5 Isner (*next server) Isner looks seriously pumped. He flicks away two neat volleys for 30-0, before two aces help him to a hold to 15. We're back on serve in the third set. 3:43PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 5-4 Isner* (*next server) - Isner breaks back! Imagine if after that Anderson got broken now. It could just happen. He makes a mess of an easy forehand, allowing Isner to guide a backhand pass down the line for 30-30. And then a long backhand from Anderson gives Isner a break back point at 30-40. And he takes it! Anderson nets an attempted forehand pass and we're back on serve. I do not believe that. Anderson missed a glorious chance to go up 40-15, and how he might regret losing his serve there. 3:39PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 5-3 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Isner's been on top this set but Anderson thumps a forehand up the line for 0-15. Isner then nets a forehand and it's 15-30. Chance here for Anderson. Big chance now, as Isner sends a forehand wide! It's two break points for Anderson at 15-40. Will Isner finally be broken at this year's Wimbledon? Yes! At last, Isner drops his serve. It's a brilliant Anderson backhand return that leaves Isner sprawling at the net. After 110 straight service holds this tournament, Isner is finally broken. Anderson will serve for the third set. Credit: Getty Images 3:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 4-3 Isner* (*next server) Isner again has a sniff by winning the first point of an Anderson service game, but Big Kev steels himself once more and holds to 30. 3:31PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 3-3 Isner (*next server) Another excellent half-volley pick-up from Isner helps him on his way to a hold to 15. 3:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 3-2 Isner* (*next server) A booming ace down the T secures a hold to 15 for Anderson. At the last change of ends it looked as though the umpire had a word with Isner about receiving coaching from his box. Isner angrily refutes the suggestion. 3:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 2-2 Isner (*next server) No such issues on the Isner serve as he holds to love. Credit: REUTERS 3:20PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 2-1 Isner* (*next server) First opening that Isner has had on the Anderson serve for an absolute age, as the South African nets a forehand for 15-30. Isner has a good chance at two break points but he nets a forehand off an Anderson second serve to make it 30-30. Isner then overhits a return for 40-30. A relieved Anderson screams "yes!" in celebration, and then thwacks away a forehand winner to complete the hold. A big opportunity missed for Isner. 3:17PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 1-1 Isner (*next server) Beautiful pick-up from Isner secures a hold to 15. He hit that from absolute no-man's land between the baseline and service line. Ridiculous stat below by the way... Kevin Anderson hit one unforced error in the last set and lost it.— Tumaini Carayol (@tumcarayol) July 13, 2018 3:14PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 1-0 Isner* (*next server) Anderson holds to love in the blink of an eye. Who's going to crack here? No breaks of serve all match remember. Credit: BBC 3:10PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7 Isner (*next server) - Second set Isner Isner sends an ace flying screaming down the T and he lets out a huge roar in celebration after winning the tie-break 7-5. It's one-set all after exactly two hours. Djokovic and Nadal could be waiting a while longer... Credit: REUTERS 3:08PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 5-6 Isner* Isner nets a forehand so on we go. The third set point though will be on the Isner serve...what have you got big John? 3:07PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 4-6 Isner Anderson saves the first set point with an ace out wide. 3:07PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 3-6 Isner Service winner brings up three set points for Isner. 3:06PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 3-5 Isner* Anderson gets one of the mini-breaks back with a backhand winner. Isner had thought he was 6-2 up but a Hawk-Eye challenge showed his serve to be out. 3:05PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 2-5 Isner* Another ace down the T reduces the deficit. 3:04PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 1-5 Isner An ace down the T gets Anderson off the mark. 3:03PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-5 Isner Unreturned serve extends Isner's lead. 3:03PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 0-4 Isner* A serve-volley play ends in an easy smash for Isner. He's running away with this. 3:02PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 0-3 Isner* Wow, another stunning return sets Isner up for an easy forehand put-away. He's two mini-breaks to the good. 3:01PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-2 Isner Blistering service return secures an instant mini-break for Isner. 3:01PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-1 Isner Unreturnable serve seals the first point of the breaker for Isner. 3:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-6 Isner* (*next server) - Second set tie-break Isner punches away a volley for 0-15, but Anderson rolls off a few forehand winners and eventually holds to 30. We're into a second set tie-break. 2:55PM Anderson* 7-6, 5-6 Isner (*next server) Isner looks a little tired all of a sudden as Anderson cranks up the power to move to 30-30 again. But Isner responds in style, thwacking down two service winners to hold to 30. Anderson will serve to stay in the second set for a second time. 2:51PM Anderson 7-6, 5-5 Isner* (*next server) Anderson brushes off the disappointment of not taking that break point and holds to 15. After Isner shaded the first set performance-wise, Anderson's been the stronger player in the second. Credit: AFP 2:48PM Anderson* 7-6, 4-5 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds Well, well, what have we here ? Isner pushes a volley wide and it's 30-30. Make that 30-40 and break point Anderson after another brilliant forehand winner! Can he take it? No, Isner saves it with a punched volley. How do you break this guy?! Isner then claims the next two points and that's 106 service holds in a row at this year's Wimbledon. Had Anderson broken there he would have been serving for a two-sets lead. 2:43PM Anderson 7-6, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) Anderson responds with a love hold of his own. Can we just play the tie-break now? (Tie-breaks at 3-3 was incidentally one of the rule changes experiments with at the ATP Next Gen Finals last year). 2:40PM Anderson* 7-6, 3-4 Isner (*next server) Aaaand it's a love hold for Isner, who hasn't dropped his serve all tournament. Credit: AFP 2:38PM Anderson 7-6, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is hitting his forehand sensationally well today, snaring Isner with another crosscourt pass for 30-0. A couple of points later he completes a love hold. It feels at the moment as if we're heading inexorably for another tie-break. 2:34PM Anderson* 7-6, 2-3 Isner (*next server) Beautiful rolled forehand pass from Anderson has the Centre Court crowd in raptures. Isner reels off the next three points to go up 40-15, but a couple of excellent Anderson returns have us at deuce. Only the second time Isner's been taken to deuce today. He fends off the danger with two wicked second serves. We remain on serve, with neither player having dropped their serve so far this match. 2:29PM Anderson 7-6, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Yeah no sign of a break at the moment. Anderson holds to 15 with an 11th ace. Isner is fine to continue. 2:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Impressive game from Isner, who hits a lovely curling forehand winner on his way to a hold to love. It feels like both players are getting into ominous rhythms on their serve. Isner is getting treatement for a blister on his racket hand. Please don't let this end like Cilic's blister-induced tears in last year's final. Credit: REUTERS 2:23PM Anderson 7-6, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Isner's swinging pretty wildly and he misses a couple of backhands to help Anderson to a hold to 15. 2:18PM Anderson* 7-6, 0-1 Isner (*next server) That was a really high-level first set, so much more than just big serving. Isner started much the better and missed three break points, as well as a set point, but he'll have to put that disappointment quickly behind him. He certainly does that this game, banging down three consecutive aces in a confident hold to love. 2:15PM Anderson 7-6 Isner* (*next server) - First set Anderson A long, tense rally goes Anderson's way as Isner nets a forehand. First set Anderson. Anderson wins the tie-break 8-6, and after 63 minutes is a set to the good. Credit: Getty Images 2:13PM First set tie-break: Anderson 7-6 Isner* Isner nets a makeable backhand and it's set point Anderson. 2:12PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 6-6 Isner Well played Anderson. He hits a few nerveless forehands and saves the set point with a smash. 2:11PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 5-6 Isner A 139mph ace makes it set point Isner. 2:10PM First set tie-break: Anderson 5-5 Isner* Service winner levels things up. The next point will be a set point for one of these two... 2:09PM First set tie-break: Anderson 5-4 Isner* Brilliant low volley from Anderson makes it three points in a row for the South African. 2:08PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 4-4 Isner Anderson smash levels things up. 2:08PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 3-4 Isner What a shot! Anderson claims the mini-break back with a sensational forehand passing shot on the run. We're back on serve. 2:07PM First set tie-break: Anderson 2-4 Isner* Isner ensures he's ahead at the change of ends with a clever body serve. 2:06PM First set tie-break: Anderson 2-3 Isner* Anderson service winner reduces the deficit. 2:05PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 1-3 Isner Brilliant Isner forehand winner secures him the early mini-break. What a shot. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 1-2 Isner Isner ace gets his nose in front. No mini-breaks so far. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson 1-1 Isner* Isner levels up with a forehand volley winner. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson 1-0 Isner* Anderson forehand winner gets him the first point. 2:03PM Anderson* 6-6 Isner (*next server) - Tie-break Isner's eighth ace secures a hold to 15 and takes us into a first set tie-break. Anderson to serve first in the breaker. How's your nerve lads? 1:59PM Anderson 6-5 Isner* (*next server) Love hold for Anderson, sealed with a nifty volley. Isner will serve to stay in the first set for a second time. It's been an interesting, high-quality match so far. Anybody who thinks Isner vs Anderson is just a match between towering servebots has not been watching the match and definitely was not watching the 3d game— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) July 13, 2018 1:56PM Anderson* 5-5 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a set point and holds An awkward low return from Anderson draws a missed volley from Isner for 0-15. Isner responds with a 126 mph second serve for 15-15, but he then nets a backhand and it's 15-30 - Anderson is two points from the set. A booming serve out wide has us at 30-30, before a double fault gives Anderson a set point at 30-40! Can he take this precious opportunity? Isner has held all 99 of his previous service games at this tournament. And he clings on here with a gutsy second serve that completely jams Anderson. An ace and a service winner follow to make it 100 out of 100 service holds this tournament. Nothing Anderson could have done there, but what a huge moment that might prove to be. Make that 100 consecutive service games unbroken for @JohnIsner at #Wimbledon ���� pic.twitter.com/UK9gBlNMkh— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 1:50PM Anderson 5-4 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks a little sluggish as he fails to chase down a drop shot. Anderson then runs away with the game and holds to love. Isner will serve to stay in the first set. 1:48PM Anderson* 4-4 Isner (*next server) Two aces from Isner level the ace count at six apiece and the set at four-games all. Business end of the set incoming... 1:45PM Anderson 4-3 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is trying to mix up his serves by not solely targetting the Isner backhand. It makes sense to try and avoid being too predictable, but Isner is getting a lot of joy from thumping forehand returns. Anderson eventually holds to 15 here, as two more aces take his tally so far to six. Credit: Getty Images 1:42PM Anderson* 3-3 Isner (*next server) Anderson's last two matches have taken a combined time of nearly eight hours, so you'd expect he might have a few aching limbs. Isner is definitely leading this match 'on points' to use the boxing term. He's been by far the stronger player and slams down two aces to hold to 15. 1:39PM Anderson 3-2 Isner* (*next server) Isner is being so aggressive on his returns and is getting a good read on the Anderson serve. A couple of errors though help Anderson to a hold to 15. Anderson meanwhile has called for the trainer to deliver him a banana and a few pills. Oh dear, hopefully it's nothing serious. 1:35PM Anderson* 2-2 Isner (*next server) No mental let-down from Isner after missing those break points. An ace down the T seals a holds to 30, having raced to 40-0 up. Credit: REUTERS 1:30PM Anderson 2-1 Isner* (*next server) - Anderson saves three break points and holds Oooh, a rally of almost 10 shots breaks out which ends with Anderson netting a backhand for 30-30. Half a chance this for Isner. Anderson hits a brilliant forehand to go up 40-30, but Isner responds with one of his own for deuce. Isner then forces a break point (practically a set point?) with another huge forehand. He's absolutely nailing that shot at the moment. But he snatches at the break point by sending a forehand skidding long. Huge chance missed there. But another one presents itself straight away, as Isner absolutely smokes another forehand winner. Anderson saves this one too when a backhand kicks off the baseline and flummoxes his opponent. Moments later, Isner earns a third break point with a brilliant forehand return. And what a chance that is! But Isner misses a sitter of a volley and it's back to deuce. Blimey that looked all the world like being the break. John McEnroe says in commentary that this is the finest returning game he's ever seen Isner play. Anderson then misses a few chances of his own to win the game, as Isner continues to strike the ball beautifully off both wings. Anderson eventually holds after a game that lasts 13 minutes. He puffs his cheeks out in relief. Isner looks extremely sharp in these opening exchanges, but that's a big chance missed. 1:16PM Anderson* 1-1 Isner (*next server) Anderson gets to 15-0 with a flicked forehand pass. Isner reels off the next four points to claim the hold. 1:13PM Anderson 1-0 Isner* (*next server) Double fault and an ace to kick us off. Another ace helps Anderson to a hold to 15. 1:10PM Ready? Play Anderson won the toss and will serve first. A place in the #Wimbledon final awaits for one of @KAndersonATP and @JohnIsner… Follow it live �� �� https://t.co/N05LMuoUDMpic.twitter.com/QL51Ptc6GA— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 1:06PM They're knocking up Practising serves. Not sure you really need to lads. 1:02PM Players are out Isner hasn't dropped his serve this tournament, and has only faced seven break points. But amazingly this is his first match on Centre Court. The players step on to the court to warm applause from the crowd. 12:58PM What's it like facing Isner's serve? Simon Briggs went to find out. 12:44PM Ace, ace, ace Expect tie-breaks and very few rallies and service breaks this afternoon. As John Isner said yesterday: "When I say 'big points' I'm talking about break points for me, which are essentially set points". We all remember his 70-68 fifth set against Nicolas Mahut here eight years ago. Credit: Getty Images 12:08PM Land of the giants Back in 2004 fellow college freshmen John Isner and Kevin Anderson stepped onto court to play one another in an inter-university match. Isner was representing the university of Georgia, while Anderson was at the university of Illinois. Isner won the match, and now 14 years on here they both are on Centre Court, competing for a place in the Wimbledon final. Their paths have crossed many times in between - they met again in the 2007 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship match and have competed against each other 11 times as pros - but never on a stage as grand as this. "There could be a little mental aspect in our match," Isner said on Wednesday. "I say that because our rivalry, what have you, goes back way before the pro tour. We played each other in college probably three, four, five times. We played each other a bunch on the pro tour. "We've been lined up against each other for about 14 years now, because he left Illinois when I left Georgia. We've been doing it ever since. Credit: REUTERS "For me this matchup, and I think for him as well, is especially cool. It's a very nice spotlight on college tennis, that one of us, no matter what, is going to be playing in the Wimbledon final. We're duking it out in the semifinals. Two of us went to college, did it a little bit different route. It's pretty cool." As well as a shared history, Isner, 33 and Anderson, 32 have a lot else in common. They are both physical giants (Isner is 6ft 10in, Anderson is 6ft 8in) and possess among the finest serves in the game. They were also both viewed as underachievers until recently, with Isner winning a first Masters title in Miami in March and Anderson reaching the US Open final last year. This is the first time in the Wimbledon semis for both, and Isner leads the head to head 8-3. Credit: AP Isner - a proud Republican from North Carolina - has made the bigger noise of the two off the court this tournament when he said on Monday: "I'd love to have Trump watch me. That would be awesome.” Anderson though has received more plaudits for his on-court achievements, having become only the second man ever to beat Roger Federer from two sets down. Expect plenty of aces and very few rallies today in what promises to be an extremely close match. Personally I expect Isner to just have the edge.
Wimbledon’s marathon man John Isner was at it again, but this time he was outlasted by Kevin Anderson in an extraordinary 6hr 36min semi-final, the third-longest singles match in history. It was going to take something special to separate these gladiators as they went ace for ace and blow for blow. With the light starting to fade close to 8pm, the saga duly got the ending that it deserved. In the 49th game of the fifth set and at love-15 up, Anderson slipped at the back of the court. He fell to the ground, so did his racket, but when Isner put his return into the centre of the court, Anderson got off the canvas like Rocky, picked up his racket left-handed and got his forehand back into play to win the point. Hollywood eat your heart out. For the fourth consecutive Isner service game, Anderson was love-30 up. On every previous occasion, Isner’s blunderbuss serve, which peaked at 142mph, had come to his rescue. Not this time. A second serve was the chance that Anderson had been waiting for and he hit a forehand winner to engineer three break points. Isner had saved four previous break points in this marathon final set, which was approaching the three-hour mark. Each time he produced an ace to save his skin. The fifth was saved with a serve and volley, but he could not repeat the trick, at 15-40 putting a backhand into the net. The crowd celebrated raucously, as much with relief than anything else, but the job was not yet done and Anderson had to serve out the match. What must have been going through the 32-year-old’s head? On two of the three games that he had broken Isner, the American had broken straight back. This time he held his nerve as Isner put a forehand into the tramlines. There were no wild celebrations from Anderson despite becoming the first South African man in 97 years to reach a Wimbledon final, in part because of exhaustion, in part in sympathy for his vanquished foe who he first played on the American college circuit 14 years ago. Anderson prevails at last by winning the 99th game of the semi-final Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images “Coming through that match, obviously I’m ecstatic to be through to the finals.” Anderson said. “At the same time, you know, you feel like it should be a draw. But somebody has to win.” Eight years ago, Isner took part in the longest match in history in his 11hrs 5ms conquest of Nicolas Mahut. The 33-year-old has repeatedly said that he did not want his career be defined by that match. Fate obviously has a sick sense of humour. The Donald Trump supporter will have to wait to make American men’s tennis great again with Andy Roddick, their last male representative to reached a grand slam final nine years ago. “I feel pretty terrible,” Isner said. My left heel is killing me. I have an awful blister on my right foot. It stinks to lose, but I gave it everything I had out there. I just lost to someone who is a little bit better at the end.” Anderson’s victory is even more remarkable when you consider that in the last 16 he went three and a half hours against Gaël Monfils in the last 16 and then became only the fifth man to come from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in a four-hour plus quarter-final. We all thought he would have nothing left. How wrong we were. “You’re really in a war of attrition out there,” Anderson said. “It’s way beyond a normal tennis match or tactics. I mean, it’s just who’s going to, you know, outlast each other.” "Anderson vs Isner, a Wimbledon classic - you better believe it" A Centre Court epic ends with @KAndersonATP going through to the #Wimbledon final, beating John Isner 7-6(6), 6-7(5), 6-7(9), 6-4, 26-24 pic.twitter.com/Fv4ww2cEzK— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 That a match between the tournament’s two leading severs went to five sets was no surprise. To paraphrase Guns n’ Roses, “Take me down to tiebreak city, where the grass is green and the serves aren’t pretty.” Yet as the match progress and each man’s serve lost its rapier edge and the rallies went to script. The first three sets went according to script, although how different might the contest have been had Isner seized one of three break points in Anderson’s second service game? Anderson took the first tiebreak and double-faulted on set point in the second which allowed his opponent to draw level. Business started picking up in the third set when Isner, after winning 110 consecutive service games at this tournament, was finally broken. Almost inevitably, Isner broke back straight away as if he was righting a cosmetic imbalance. Health of players at risk The third-set tie-break was a classic bit of psychological theatre. Each man traded mini-breaks and lost set-point opportunities, notably when Anderson double-faulted at 8-7. When Anderson sent a forehand into the tramlines, Isner looked too shocked to celebrate. Showing some incredible reflexes, Anderson broke in the fourth game of the fourth set. Like night follows day, Isner broke straight back only to go love-40 down in his very next service game and this time Anderson held his nerve to take it to a fifth set that even Tolstoy would have considered overblown. 7:59PM A word for the vanquished "At the end you feel like it’s a draw, but someone has to win. John is a great guy and I really feel for him" - @KAndersonATP#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/SHU5fVNUc9— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 7:51PM Big Kev is through Anderson looks completely frazzled and the first thing he does is express his sympathy for his opponent: "I don't know how you can take playing for that long and not coming out on the winning side." 7:48PM Game, set and match! Anderson defeats Isner 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 26-24 An ace takes Anderson to 30-15. He exhales meaningfully. Isner then sends a return long and it's two match points at 40-15. And that's it! Isner pushes a forehand wide, and finally, finally it's over. Kevin Anderson is through to the Wimbledon final after 6hr 35min. 7:43PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 25-24 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Anderson falls to the floor, drops his racket and picks it up to play left-handed. And he wins the point to make it 0-30 again! That was insane! Anderson then spins away a forehand winner and it's three break points at 0-40. Surely, surely he has to take one of these?! Yes he does! Isner nets a backhand on the second one and Anderson will serve for the match! Oh my word, if Anderson gets broken here! Credit: PA 7:40PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 24-24 Isner* (*next server) Isner has not had a single break point all set, and Anderson holds again to love. 7:37PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 23-24 Isner (*next server) Right, is this it. Isner puts a tired forehand into the net and it's 0-30 again. But once again Isner bangs down a flurry of big serves and holds to 30. Isner's won enough games this set to have won four sets. 7:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 23-23 Isner* (*next server) Love hold for Anderson. What on earth must Nadal and Djokovic, who follow this match, be thinking? 7:30PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 22-23 Isner (*next server) It's another chance for Anderson, as he caresses a backhand down the line for 0-30. An ace and a missed Anderson backhand make it 30-30. Isner then flicks away a forehand for 40-30 before a missed Anderson forehand seals the hold. Credit: REUTERS 7:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 22-22 Isner* (*next server) Isner has the tiniest glimmer of a break at 15-15. Anderson slams the door shut and holds to 15. 7:23PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 21-22 Isner (*next server) Here we go again. Isner misses a forehand for 0-30 but responds with two big serves for 30-30. Anderson then duffs an easy backhand to make it 30-40, before Isner returns the favour with a netted volley for deuce. Isner desperately retrieves a low forehand and then punches away a volley to complete the hold. 7:19PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 21-21 Isner* (*next server) Isner receives rapturous applause at each of the points he wins this game, but Anderson emerges with a hold to 30. 7:14PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 20-21 Isner (*next server) Anderson sprays a forehand just wide and Isner holds on to 15. Credit: REUTERS 7:12PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 20-20 Isner* (*next server) Anderson responds with a hold to love. Genuinely starting to wonder if this will ever end. 7:12PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 19-20 Isner (*next server) No sniff for Anderson this game as Isner holds to 15. 7:07PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 19-19 Isner* (*next server) Anderson guides a backhand beautifully down the line to complete a hold to 15. For a moment at 15-15, Isner dared to ream. 7:03PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 18-19 Isner (*next server) Isner endures a shaky moment as he allows Anderson back in the game at 40-30 from 40-0, but he forces Anderson to miss a backhand and holds on. 7:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 18-18 Isner* (*next server) This set began at 4.45. Anderson holds to love, and is yet to face a break point in this final set. Credit: Getty Images 6:58PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 17-18 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves two break points and holds Isner misses a forehand for 15-30, and another forehand flies wide for 15-40 - two break points. Isner saves the first with an ace out wide. And indeed the second with an ace down the T. A service winner makes it advantage Isner, and he digs out the hold with a backhand pass. Nothing Anderson could have done there. 6:52PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 17-17 Isner* (*next server) Anderson holds to love, as the court coverers start to gather. We continue for now. Hopefully the shower will pass. 6:50PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 16-17 Isner (*next server) Still no immediate end in sight as Isner holds to 15. Play can go on until 11pm tonight. Will it end before then? And it's started to rain! On we go for the moment but it's definitely spitting. 6:47PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 16-16 Isner* (*next server) Two aces and a service winner from Anderson seals a very impressive hold. He's kept his level superbly this set. So has Isner in the main to be fair. Of all Wimbledon matches ever, only Isner v Mahut has ever lasted longer than this. Kevin Anderson vs John Isner. Officially the second longest singles match in Championships history.#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/fGGHRQaqz7— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 6:44PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 15-16 Isner (*next server) Isner nets a backhand for 0-15, and Anderson is close to 0-30 but he pulls a backhand just wide. Instead it's 15-15, and buoyed by the reprieve Isner holds to 30. 6:41PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 15-15 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is so on top at the moment in general play but he just can't get the break. He holds to 30 here having sped to 40-0. It is 15-15. 6:36PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 14-15 Isner (*next server) An ace and a forehand winner take Isner to a hold to 15. We're almost at 15-15 in games, which I always find amusing. It's the little things in life. Credit: AFP 6:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 14-14 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks knackered as he fails painfully to get to a low backhand. Anderson holds to 15. On we go. It feels like about a year since this match started. 6:30PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 13-14 Isner (*next server) "Come on guys, we want to see Rafa!" someone screams from the crowd. But the wait continues as Isner holds to 30. 6:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 13-13 Isner* (*next server) Anderson certainly looks the fresher of the two but Isner knows he's so close now to the final. Anderson keeps him at arm's length with a hold to 15 - sealed with consecutive aces out wide. Credit: REUTERS 6:23PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 12-13 Isner (*next server) A missed Isner backhand has us at 15-15, but any hopes of a break are dashed in the next few points as Isner holds to 30 with a clinical forehand winner. 6:20PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 12-12 Isner* (*next server) Still Anderson continues to serve accurately. He hasn't faced a break point in this final set, and races to 40-0 here. A forehand winner secures the hold to 15. We've been playing 5hr 9 min. 6:15PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 11-12 Isner (*next server) A blessedly straightforward hold for Isner after those recent struggles. He holds to love here. 6:14PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 11-11 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks pumped up, especially after Anderson nets a forehand volley for 0-15. Anderson responds in style again and holds to 15 after reeling off the next four points. Will this ever end? Credit: Getty Images 6:10PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 10-11 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds It's 0-30 again as Anderson whips away a forehand winner. Can Isner pull himself up from the canvas again? An ace out wide and a forehand winner make it 30-30. But a fizzing low return brings up a break point for Anderson at 30-40. He gets a look at it but miscues a backhand pass well long. Isner then bangs down an ace and heroically chases down a drop shot to seal the game. His momentum takes him into his chair for the change of ends. That was spectacular. 6:04PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 10-10 Isner* (*next server) Now it's Isner who can sniff a break, after he sends a forehand perfectly onto the baseline for 0-15. Anderson responds well though and reels off the next three points for 40-15. He eventually holds for 40-30. 5:59PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 9-10 Isner (*next server) Isner misses two forehands and it's 0-30! It's then heart in mouth time for Isner but he just clears the net with a low volley for 15-30. He then repeats the trick for 30-30 after Anderson stretched every sinew to retrieve a forehand. An ace makes it 40-30 and a volley winner completes the hold. 5:55PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 9-9 Isner* (*next server) Crazy how fresh Anderson looks given his previous matches lasted almost eight hours, and he's played nigh on five hours here. Anderson races to 40-15, but Isner is two points away from the final at deuce as Anderson sends a backhand wide at the end of a rare long rally. Anderson responds in style, with an ace and service winner to complete the hold. Credit: REUTERS 5:48PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 8-9 Isner (*next server) The players are wearying but no-one can get the break. Isner holds to 15 and the pressure swings right back to Anderson. 5:45PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 8-8 Isner* (*next server) After the drama of the last game, Anderson holds to love - sealed with an ace out wide. On we go. 5:43PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 7-8 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds Big chance here for Anderson. Isner sends a lunging volley long and Anderson's up 0-30. A hush fills Centre Court. A stupendous low volley from Isner makes it 15-30, before an ace down the T has us at 30-30. But a stinging Anderson return brings up a break point at 30-40. Isner of course saves it with an ace. Two crushing serves follow, and Isner holds. He screams "that's it!" in celebration. 5:36PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 7-7 Isner* (*next server) No dramas for Big Kev as an inside-in forehand winner seals a hold to love. Credit: REUTERS 5:33PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 6-7 Isner (*next server) An effective serve-volley play helps Isner to a hold to 15. No break points yet this set. 5:30PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 6-6 Isner* (*next server) Anderson nets a backhand. It's 0-15. Isner is three points from the final. Make that two points, as Isner smokes a forehand up the line for 15-30. Isner then sends a pair of backhands long and it's 40-30. Anderson seals the hold with a bullet serve out wide. No final set tie-breaker remember so on we go. Meanwhile... The Telegraph Sports desk has had their say on Anderson vs Isner Who will come out on top in this five set thriller, and what will the score be? @TelegraphSport#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/C3RzGzHubd— Jamie Johnson (@JamieoJohnson) July 13, 2018 5:26PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 5-6 Isner (*next server) Stinging Anderson forehand return winner has us at 15-15. In the context of the match so far, this is a chance! Isner responds well with a couple of banging serves for 40-15, and he eventually holds to 30. Anderson will serve to stay in the match for a second time. I'm going to stop writing that from here on in as he will be serving to stay in the match on every service game. 5:22PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 5-5 Isner* (*next server) Isner gets a look a couple of returns but he's a little flat footed and Anderson holds to 15. A reminder from Greg below that there's no tie-break on the final set at Wimbledon. US Open is the only grand slam where there is one. I think there should be tiebreakers in the final set at all Grand Slams as it creates more drama and allows players to recover better. Are we going to beat Isner vs Mahut record today with Anderson vs Isner Wimbledon semi?— Greg Rusedski (@GregRusedski1) July 13, 2018 5:18PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 4-5 Isner (*next server) Isner is still being bothered by that blister on his right hand. He holds to 15 and prior to the final point of the game calls for the trainer. Anderson will serve to stay in the match. 5:16PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) No let up from Anderson, who holds assertively to love. Meanwhile a word of encouragement for Isner from the last American man to reach a grand slam final. Come on John— andyroddick (@andyroddick) July 13, 2018 5:13PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 3-4 Isner (*next server) The worry is that as the players get progressively more tired they struggle even more to return. Speaking of which, Isner bangs down an ace - his 200th of the tournament - to wrap up a simple hold to 15. Credit: AP 5:11PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) Isner's won all five of the last meetings between these two. Will that mean anything as we enter the home straight? I suspect not a huge amount. Anderson holds to love as the match clock ticks into its fifth hour. 5:07PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 2-3 Isner (*next server) You've got to credit these guys, they've kept a very high level throughout. Isner sends down a couple of heat-seeking missile-like serves on his way to a breezy hold to 15. 5:04PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Isner hasn't been a break up at any point this match. It's a sequence that continues here as Anderson holds to 15. 5:01PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Isner bangs down three aces to take his tally to 39 and complete the hold. Credit: REUTERS 5:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Anderson looks fresher now than he did half an hour ago and holds easily to 15. 4:56PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 0-1 Isner (*next server) Isner picks himself up and holds to love. We've been playing 3hr 45 min. 4:53PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4 Isner* (*next server) - Fourth set Anderson! Can Anderson finally consolidate a break and in so doing take us into a deciding set? An ace takes Anderson to three set points at 40-0. Isner saves the first two with blistering returns, and the third with a howitzer of a forehand. This is insane! Anderson then earns a fourth set point with a smash, and he takes this one when Isner nets a return! We're heading for a final set. There'll be no tie-breaker remember so we could be here all night. Djokovic and Nadal continue to wait... Marathon men...@KAndersonATP wins the fourth set 6-4 against John Isner and the battle for a place in the #Wimbledon final goes all the way... pic.twitter.com/MagHg8E5zo— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 4:47PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 5-4 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Isner nets a half-volley and then does likewise on a backhand to gift Anderson a break point at 30-40. Anderson takes it with a backhand pass that flies past his opponent. Unbelievable. Anderson, who is breathing a little heavily now, will serve to take us into a fifth set. 4:43PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) Some normality restored as Anderson holds to love. On we go... Credit: Reuters 4:40PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-4 Isner (*next server) Isner double faults for 30-30. Surely not a third consecutive break in a row? No. Isner slams down a big serve and is then relieved as Anderson misses an easy backhand pass. 4:37PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) - Isner breaks back! The last time he broke Anderson was broken back immediately. Can he consolidate it this time? Possibly not, because Isner has rolled a forehand pass down the line for 15-30. It's then break back point for Isner as Anderson pushes a backhand pass long to make it 30-40. And Isner gets the instant break back again! This time with a backhand pass up the line. Neither man can quite believe it. 4:33PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 3-2 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Really good backhand pass on the run from Anderson gets him to 40-30, and an even better backhand return winner has us at deuce. Isner then gets a time violation warning before the next serve, and would you believe it Anderson flicks away another return winner to bring up a break point! Can he take it? Yes, he can! A fourth consecutive sensational shot from Anderson forces Isner into missing a half-volley, and out of nowhere he has the break. That was unreal returning from Anderson. Credit: PA 4:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Anderson regroups and holds comfortably to 15. Are we heading for another tie-break? 4:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Isner's on a groove on his serve and holds to love. With Isner serving first, he pressure will be on Anderson throughout this set. 4:21PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Isner is bouncing around the court, looking for the early kill at the start of the fourth set. But Anderson clings on and holds to 30. Credit: AP 4:17PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 0-1 Isner (*next server) Love hold from Isner to kick off the fourth set. 4:16PM Anderson's back out What must be going through his mind. He served for the third set and had a sitter to go up 40-15 in that game. He then double faulted when up set point in the breaker. How will he respond? 4:11PM Medical time out Anderson has left the court to receive treatment. 4:09PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-7 Isner* (*next server) - Third set Isner Anderson pushes a forehand wide and that's the set for Isner. He takes the tie-break 11-9. After almost three hours Isner leads two sets to one. Anderson served for the set and had two set points, but he has it all to do now. Credit: REUTERS 4:08PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 9-10 Isner Anderson nets a backhand return and it's set point #3 for Isner. 4:07PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 9-9 Isner* A huge 136mph ace out wide saves it. The players change ends again. 4:06PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 9-8 Isner* An ace down the T makes it set point Anderson. Oh no it doesn't - Isner challenges and Hawk-Eye shows the ball to be out. A forehand winner does then make it set point Anderson #2. 4:05PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 8-8 Isner Oh dear, Anderson has double faulted! On we go. 4:04PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 8-7 Isner It's set point Anderson! He guides a backhand pass up the line, and will have this set point on his own serve. 4:04PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 7-7 Isner* Anderson saves it with a brilliant forehand pass! Wow, what a shot that was under immense pressure. 4:03PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 6-7 Isner* Anderson sends a forehand long and it's set point Isner. The American has this one on his own serve... 4:02PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 6-6 Isner Isner can't return a big serve down the T and Anderson clings on. 4:01PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 5-6 Isner Isner then produces another wondrous low volley to earn himself a set point. The crowd loved that. What a couple of points. 4:00PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 5-5 Isner* Sensational low pick-up from Isner levels the breaker up. 3:59PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 5-4 Isner* Service winner puts Anderson in front. Blimey, this is tense. 3:59PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 4-4 Isner Isner gets the mini-break with a forehand down the line. Anderson again could have done more with his forehand the shot before. 3:58PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 4-3 Isner Anderson guides a backhand down the line to secure the mini-break. Huge roar from the crowd. 3:57PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 3-3 Isner* An Isner ace down the T ensures the players are level at the change of ends. 3:56PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 2-3 Isner* Service winner puts Anderson in front. 3:55PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 2-2 Isner Forehand winner from Anderson levels things up. 3:55PM Third set tie-break: Anderson* 1-2 Isner Stunning Anderson forehand winner return gets the mini-break back. That's the shot of the match so far. 3:54PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 0-2 Isner* An ace down the T doubles Isner's lead. 3:54PM Third set tie-break: Anderson 0-1 Isner* Anderson completely miscues a forehand, and it's an instant mini-break for Isner. 3:53PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 6-6 Isner (*next server) - third set tie-break Tense moments for Isner as he misses a forehand and double faults for 30-30. Anderson is two points from the set. Isner responds with his hardest serve of the match - a 142mph bomb for 40-30. An ace down the T then wraps up the game. We're into a third set tie-break. 3:49PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 6-5 Isner* (*next server) A love hold for Anderson. How he could have done with that a couple of games ago. Isner gets some more tape for the blister on his right hand. Once he's patched up he'll serve to stay in the third set for a second time. Credit: PA 3:46PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 5-5 Isner (*next server) Isner looks seriously pumped. He flicks away two neat volleys for 30-0, before two aces help him to a hold to 15. We're back on serve in the third set. 3:43PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 5-4 Isner* (*next server) - Isner breaks back! Imagine if after that Anderson got broken now. It could just happen. He makes a mess of an easy forehand, allowing Isner to guide a backhand pass down the line for 30-30. And then a long backhand from Anderson gives Isner a break back point at 30-40. And he takes it! Anderson nets an attempted forehand pass and we're back on serve. I do not believe that. Anderson missed a glorious chance to go up 40-15, and how he might regret losing his serve there. 3:39PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 5-3 Isner (*next server) - Anderson breaks! Isner's been on top this set but Anderson thumps a forehand up the line for 0-15. Isner then nets a forehand and it's 15-30. Chance here for Anderson. Big chance now, as Isner sends a forehand wide! It's two break points for Anderson at 15-40. Will Isner finally be broken at this year's Wimbledon? Yes! At last, Isner drops his serve. It's a brilliant Anderson backhand return that leaves Isner sprawling at the net. After 110 straight service holds this tournament, Isner is finally broken. Anderson will serve for the third set. Credit: Getty Images 3:34PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 4-3 Isner* (*next server) Isner again has a sniff by winning the first point of an Anderson service game, but Big Kev steels himself once more and holds to 30. 3:31PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 3-3 Isner (*next server) Another excellent half-volley pick-up from Isner helps him on his way to a hold to 15. 3:27PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 3-2 Isner* (*next server) A booming ace down the T secures a hold to 15 for Anderson. At the last change of ends it looked as though the umpire had a word with Isner about receiving coaching from his box. Isner angrily refutes the suggestion. 3:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 2-2 Isner (*next server) No such issues on the Isner serve as he holds to love. Credit: REUTERS 3:20PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 2-1 Isner* (*next server) First opening that Isner has had on the Anderson serve for an absolute age, as the South African nets a forehand for 15-30. Isner has a good chance at two break points but he nets a forehand off an Anderson second serve to make it 30-30. Isner then overhits a return for 40-30. A relieved Anderson screams "yes!" in celebration, and then thwacks away a forehand winner to complete the hold. A big opportunity missed for Isner. 3:17PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7, 1-1 Isner (*next server) Beautiful pick-up from Isner secures a hold to 15. He hit that from absolute no-man's land between the baseline and service line. Ridiculous stat below by the way... Kevin Anderson hit one unforced error in the last set and lost it.— Tumaini Carayol (@tumcarayol) July 13, 2018 3:14PM Anderson 7-6, 6-7, 1-0 Isner* (*next server) Anderson holds to love in the blink of an eye. Who's going to crack here? No breaks of serve all match remember. Credit: BBC 3:10PM Anderson* 7-6, 6-7 Isner (*next server) - Second set Isner Isner sends an ace flying screaming down the T and he lets out a huge roar in celebration after winning the tie-break 7-5. It's one-set all after exactly two hours. Djokovic and Nadal could be waiting a while longer... Credit: REUTERS 3:08PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 5-6 Isner* Isner nets a forehand so on we go. The third set point though will be on the Isner serve...what have you got big John? 3:07PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 4-6 Isner Anderson saves the first set point with an ace out wide. 3:07PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 3-6 Isner Service winner brings up three set points for Isner. 3:06PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 3-5 Isner* Anderson gets one of the mini-breaks back with a backhand winner. Isner had thought he was 6-2 up but a Hawk-Eye challenge showed his serve to be out. 3:05PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 2-5 Isner* Another ace down the T reduces the deficit. 3:04PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 1-5 Isner An ace down the T gets Anderson off the mark. 3:03PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-5 Isner Unreturned serve extends Isner's lead. 3:03PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 0-4 Isner* A serve-volley play ends in an easy smash for Isner. He's running away with this. 3:02PM Second set tie-break: Anderson 0-3 Isner* Wow, another stunning return sets Isner up for an easy forehand put-away. He's two mini-breaks to the good. 3:01PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-2 Isner Blistering service return secures an instant mini-break for Isner. 3:01PM Second set tie-break: Anderson* 0-1 Isner Unreturnable serve seals the first point of the breaker for Isner. 3:00PM Anderson 7-6, 6-6 Isner* (*next server) - Second set tie-break Isner punches away a volley for 0-15, but Anderson rolls off a few forehand winners and eventually holds to 30. We're into a second set tie-break. 2:55PM Anderson* 7-6, 5-6 Isner (*next server) Isner looks a little tired all of a sudden as Anderson cranks up the power to move to 30-30 again. But Isner responds in style, thwacking down two service winners to hold to 30. Anderson will serve to stay in the second set for a second time. 2:51PM Anderson 7-6, 5-5 Isner* (*next server) Anderson brushes off the disappointment of not taking that break point and holds to 15. After Isner shaded the first set performance-wise, Anderson's been the stronger player in the second. Credit: AFP 2:48PM Anderson* 7-6, 4-5 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a break point and holds Well, well, what have we here ? Isner pushes a volley wide and it's 30-30. Make that 30-40 and break point Anderson after another brilliant forehand winner! Can he take it? No, Isner saves it with a punched volley. How do you break this guy?! Isner then claims the next two points and that's 106 service holds in a row at this year's Wimbledon. Had Anderson broken there he would have been serving for a two-sets lead. 2:43PM Anderson 7-6, 4-4 Isner* (*next server) Anderson responds with a love hold of his own. Can we just play the tie-break now? (Tie-breaks at 3-3 was incidentally one of the rule changes experiments with at the ATP Next Gen Finals last year). 2:40PM Anderson* 7-6, 3-4 Isner (*next server) Aaaand it's a love hold for Isner, who hasn't dropped his serve all tournament. Credit: AFP 2:38PM Anderson 7-6, 3-3 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is hitting his forehand sensationally well today, snaring Isner with another crosscourt pass for 30-0. A couple of points later he completes a love hold. It feels at the moment as if we're heading inexorably for another tie-break. 2:34PM Anderson* 7-6, 2-3 Isner (*next server) Beautiful rolled forehand pass from Anderson has the Centre Court crowd in raptures. Isner reels off the next three points to go up 40-15, but a couple of excellent Anderson returns have us at deuce. Only the second time Isner's been taken to deuce today. He fends off the danger with two wicked second serves. We remain on serve, with neither player having dropped their serve so far this match. 2:29PM Anderson 7-6, 2-2 Isner* (*next server) Yeah no sign of a break at the moment. Anderson holds to 15 with an 11th ace. Isner is fine to continue. 2:24PM Anderson* 7-6, 1-2 Isner (*next server) Impressive game from Isner, who hits a lovely curling forehand winner on his way to a hold to love. It feels like both players are getting into ominous rhythms on their serve. Isner is getting treatement for a blister on his racket hand. Please don't let this end like Cilic's blister-induced tears in last year's final. Credit: REUTERS 2:23PM Anderson 7-6, 1-1 Isner* (*next server) Isner's swinging pretty wildly and he misses a couple of backhands to help Anderson to a hold to 15. 2:18PM Anderson* 7-6, 0-1 Isner (*next server) That was a really high-level first set, so much more than just big serving. Isner started much the better and missed three break points, as well as a set point, but he'll have to put that disappointment quickly behind him. He certainly does that this game, banging down three consecutive aces in a confident hold to love. 2:15PM Anderson 7-6 Isner* (*next server) - First set Anderson A long, tense rally goes Anderson's way as Isner nets a forehand. First set Anderson. Anderson wins the tie-break 8-6, and after 63 minutes is a set to the good. Credit: Getty Images 2:13PM First set tie-break: Anderson 7-6 Isner* Isner nets a makeable backhand and it's set point Anderson. 2:12PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 6-6 Isner Well played Anderson. He hits a few nerveless forehands and saves the set point with a smash. 2:11PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 5-6 Isner A 139mph ace makes it set point Isner. 2:10PM First set tie-break: Anderson 5-5 Isner* Service winner levels things up. The next point will be a set point for one of these two... 2:09PM First set tie-break: Anderson 5-4 Isner* Brilliant low volley from Anderson makes it three points in a row for the South African. 2:08PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 4-4 Isner Anderson smash levels things up. 2:08PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 3-4 Isner What a shot! Anderson claims the mini-break back with a sensational forehand passing shot on the run. We're back on serve. 2:07PM First set tie-break: Anderson 2-4 Isner* Isner ensures he's ahead at the change of ends with a clever body serve. 2:06PM First set tie-break: Anderson 2-3 Isner* Anderson service winner reduces the deficit. 2:05PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 1-3 Isner Brilliant Isner forehand winner secures him the early mini-break. What a shot. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson* 1-2 Isner Isner ace gets his nose in front. No mini-breaks so far. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson 1-1 Isner* Isner levels up with a forehand volley winner. 2:04PM First set tie-break: Anderson 1-0 Isner* Anderson forehand winner gets him the first point. 2:03PM Anderson* 6-6 Isner (*next server) - Tie-break Isner's eighth ace secures a hold to 15 and takes us into a first set tie-break. Anderson to serve first in the breaker. How's your nerve lads? 1:59PM Anderson 6-5 Isner* (*next server) Love hold for Anderson, sealed with a nifty volley. Isner will serve to stay in the first set for a second time. It's been an interesting, high-quality match so far. Anybody who thinks Isner vs Anderson is just a match between towering servebots has not been watching the match and definitely was not watching the 3d game— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) July 13, 2018 1:56PM Anderson* 5-5 Isner (*next server) - Isner saves a set point and holds An awkward low return from Anderson draws a missed volley from Isner for 0-15. Isner responds with a 126 mph second serve for 15-15, but he then nets a backhand and it's 15-30 - Anderson is two points from the set. A booming serve out wide has us at 30-30, before a double fault gives Anderson a set point at 30-40! Can he take this precious opportunity? Isner has held all 99 of his previous service games at this tournament. And he clings on here with a gutsy second serve that completely jams Anderson. An ace and a service winner follow to make it 100 out of 100 service holds this tournament. Nothing Anderson could have done there, but what a huge moment that might prove to be. Make that 100 consecutive service games unbroken for @JohnIsner at #Wimbledon ���� pic.twitter.com/UK9gBlNMkh— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 1:50PM Anderson 5-4 Isner* (*next server) Isner looks a little sluggish as he fails to chase down a drop shot. Anderson then runs away with the game and holds to love. Isner will serve to stay in the first set. 1:48PM Anderson* 4-4 Isner (*next server) Two aces from Isner level the ace count at six apiece and the set at four-games all. Business end of the set incoming... 1:45PM Anderson 4-3 Isner* (*next server) Anderson is trying to mix up his serves by not solely targetting the Isner backhand. It makes sense to try and avoid being too predictable, but Isner is getting a lot of joy from thumping forehand returns. Anderson eventually holds to 15 here, as two more aces take his tally so far to six. Credit: Getty Images 1:42PM Anderson* 3-3 Isner (*next server) Anderson's last two matches have taken a combined time of nearly eight hours, so you'd expect he might have a few aching limbs. Isner is definitely leading this match 'on points' to use the boxing term. He's been by far the stronger player and slams down two aces to hold to 15. 1:39PM Anderson 3-2 Isner* (*next server) Isner is being so aggressive on his returns and is getting a good read on the Anderson serve. A couple of errors though help Anderson to a hold to 15. Anderson meanwhile has called for the trainer to deliver him a banana and a few pills. Oh dear, hopefully it's nothing serious. 1:35PM Anderson* 2-2 Isner (*next server) No mental let-down from Isner after missing those break points. An ace down the T seals a holds to 30, having raced to 40-0 up. Credit: REUTERS 1:30PM Anderson 2-1 Isner* (*next server) - Anderson saves three break points and holds Oooh, a rally of almost 10 shots breaks out which ends with Anderson netting a backhand for 30-30. Half a chance this for Isner. Anderson hits a brilliant forehand to go up 40-30, but Isner responds with one of his own for deuce. Isner then forces a break point (practically a set point?) with another huge forehand. He's absolutely nailing that shot at the moment. But he snatches at the break point by sending a forehand skidding long. Huge chance missed there. But another one presents itself straight away, as Isner absolutely smokes another forehand winner. Anderson saves this one too when a backhand kicks off the baseline and flummoxes his opponent. Moments later, Isner earns a third break point with a brilliant forehand return. And what a chance that is! But Isner misses a sitter of a volley and it's back to deuce. Blimey that looked all the world like being the break. John McEnroe says in commentary that this is the finest returning game he's ever seen Isner play. Anderson then misses a few chances of his own to win the game, as Isner continues to strike the ball beautifully off both wings. Anderson eventually holds after a game that lasts 13 minutes. He puffs his cheeks out in relief. Isner looks extremely sharp in these opening exchanges, but that's a big chance missed. 1:16PM Anderson* 1-1 Isner (*next server) Anderson gets to 15-0 with a flicked forehand pass. Isner reels off the next four points to claim the hold. 1:13PM Anderson 1-0 Isner* (*next server) Double fault and an ace to kick us off. Another ace helps Anderson to a hold to 15. 1:10PM Ready? Play Anderson won the toss and will serve first. A place in the #Wimbledon final awaits for one of @KAndersonATP and @JohnIsner… Follow it live �� �� https://t.co/N05LMuoUDMpic.twitter.com/QL51Ptc6GA— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018 1:06PM They're knocking up Practising serves. Not sure you really need to lads. 1:02PM Players are out Isner hasn't dropped his serve this tournament, and has only faced seven break points. But amazingly this is his first match on Centre Court. The players step on to the court to warm applause from the crowd. 12:58PM What's it like facing Isner's serve? Simon Briggs went to find out. 12:44PM Ace, ace, ace Expect tie-breaks and very few rallies and service breaks this afternoon. As John Isner said yesterday: "When I say 'big points' I'm talking about break points for me, which are essentially set points". We all remember his 70-68 fifth set against Nicolas Mahut here eight years ago. Credit: Getty Images 12:08PM Land of the giants Back in 2004 fellow college freshmen John Isner and Kevin Anderson stepped onto court to play one another in an inter-university match. Isner was representing the university of Georgia, while Anderson was at the university of Illinois. Isner won the match, and now 14 years on here they both are on Centre Court, competing for a place in the Wimbledon final. Their paths have crossed many times in between - they met again in the 2007 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship match and have competed against each other 11 times as pros - but never on a stage as grand as this. "There could be a little mental aspect in our match," Isner said on Wednesday. "I say that because our rivalry, what have you, goes back way before the pro tour. We played each other in college probably three, four, five times. We played each other a bunch on the pro tour. "We've been lined up against each other for about 14 years now, because he left Illinois when I left Georgia. We've been doing it ever since. Credit: REUTERS "For me this matchup, and I think for him as well, is especially cool. It's a very nice spotlight on college tennis, that one of us, no matter what, is going to be playing in the Wimbledon final. We're duking it out in the semifinals. Two of us went to college, did it a little bit different route. It's pretty cool." As well as a shared history, Isner, 33 and Anderson, 32 have a lot else in common. They are both physical giants (Isner is 6ft 10in, Anderson is 6ft 8in) and possess among the finest serves in the game. They were also both viewed as underachievers until recently, with Isner winning a first Masters title in Miami in March and Anderson reaching the US Open final last year. This is the first time in the Wimbledon semis for both, and Isner leads the head to head 8-3. Credit: AP Isner - a proud Republican from North Carolina - has made the bigger noise of the two off the court this tournament when he said on Monday: "I'd love to have Trump watch me. That would be awesome.” Anderson though has received more plaudits for his on-court achievements, having become only the second man ever to beat Roger Federer from two sets down. Expect plenty of aces and very few rallies today in what promises to be an extremely close match. Personally I expect Isner to just have the edge.