Wimbledon 2018 -- Kevin Anderson wins men's semifinal match

Novak Djokovic Beats Rafael Nadal After Marathon Five Set Battle to Face Kevin Anderson in Wimbledon 2018 Men’s Singles Final

The first men's semifinal has started at Wimbledon, with Kevin Anderson of South Africa taking on John Isner of the U.S.

Novak Djokovic overcame Rafael Nadal in another epic Wimbledon semi-final. It started at 1 p.m. local time.

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

Friday's fifth set wasn't quite as long, but still, it lasted almost 3 hours as the semifinal became a test of endurance more than skill.

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

This match went down as one of the best matches in history with regards to the quality of tennis between both the players.

Three-time champion Novak Djokovic has opened proceedings on Centre Court against 24th-seeded Kei Nishikori.

When Anderson, aged 32, and 31-year-old Djokovic booked their places in the final they ensured it would be the first time in the Open era that the Wimbledon men's title has been contested by two 30-somethings, begging the question: where are all the young guns?

Their eagerly-awaited semi-final was halted just after 11pm (2200GMT) under a curfew agreement with Djokovic leading Nadal 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (11/9).

Because it was so late, the All England Club shut the retractable roof above the main stadium between the matches and turned on the arena's lights.

Their classic will continue on Saturday before the women's final between Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber.

World number one Nadal, the 2008 and 2010 champion at the All England Club, trails Djokovic, the 2011, 2014 and 2015 victor, 26-25 in a rivalry which began at Roland Garros 12 years ago. And he held the upper hand Friday after saving three set points in the gripping tiebreak.

It will go down as one of the greatest matches in tennis history and a huge moment in the career of Novak Djokovic as he beat world No. 1 Rafael Nadal in a five hour and 15 minutes epic to return to a Grand Slam final for the first time in almost two years.

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"I personally think a sensible option would be 12-All", said Isner, who was bidding to reach his first Slam final at the 41st attempt. "My left heel is killing me".

"I was expecting a few more baby steps myself", she said.

Nadal had not dropped a set at the tournament until the quarter-finals where he fought back to defeat Juan Martin del Potro 7-5, 6-7 (7/9), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 on Wednesday.

"John is a great guy and I really feel for him".

The Serbian has been fighting for two years to restore health, form and confidence after the heights of making it four slam titles in a row at the French Open in 2016.

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

"I think I did a great work".

Soon, they were meeting for an embrace, with Anderson being the first South African man in 97 years to reach the Wimbledon final.

Isner and Anderson both had moments where they seemed to be slipping toward losing the break before having two big serves to swing it right back in their favor. We call these matches marathons, but elite marathoners complete those races in a little more than two hours.

Overshadowing a match-up of such giant proportions is a tall order, but Kevin Anderson and John Isner will give it their best shot.

Roger Federer has played his first Wimbledon point away from Centre Court since 2015.

Nadal hit back from 0-40 in the next game, ending a 51-minute set with an ace that kissed the line.

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