Published: Sun, July 15, 2018
Sports | By Brooke Harris

Epic Djokovic stuns Nadal to reach Wimbledon final

Epic Djokovic stuns Nadal to reach Wimbledon final

The U.S. Open is the only one of the four Grand Slams that has a fifth-set tiebreak. That should give you a good idea about why some of his matches at Wimbledon, where they do not use a tiebreaker in the fifth set, go on forever.

The length of that encounter forced Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal to play under the roof, with the match unable to conclude prior to the 11pm curfew.

Djokovic and Nadal have five Wimbledon titles between them and met in the 2011 final, while Anderson and Isner had never made the semifinals before.

Former Illini Kevin Anderson put together a slightly cleaner game than foe John Isner.

The Serbian superstar resisted a ferocious fightback from the world No.1 to prevail 6-4 3-6 7-6 (9-11) 3-6 10-8 in the second-longest semi-final in the championships' 150-year history. But Anderson's six-hour-36-minute duel with John Isner at least finished on the day it started on Friday.

For now, though, let's allow Anderson the relief and joy of having won the longest Wimbledon semifinal in history by a long shot: Friday's match easily broke the previous records for number of games (72) and duration (a measly five hours and 31 minutes).

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- Djokovic is bidding to win his 13th Grand Slam title and claim sole ownership of fourth place on the all-time list for most Grand Slam men's singles titles behind Roger Federer (20), Rafael Nadal (xx), Pete Sampras (14) but ahead of Roy Emerson (12).

Stream every match at Wimbledon live on the FOX+ app and catch up on highlights of any action you've missed.

While the fifth set rule doesn't often become this great a problem, when it does, things can go south quickly. The game we have just played was incredible.

"I managed to overcome challenges and obstacles, get myself to the final of a Slam", added Djokovic. "If I take my last couple years, I don't have much to lose myself".

Although Djokovic held more convincingly for most of the first set and some of the second, Nadal in the third reverted to the drop shot that had proved so effective towards the end of his five-set win over Juan Martin del Potro in the quarter-finals on Wednesday, and he began to trouble his old rival in the 52nd meeting of their rivalry.

The 2018 final will be Djokovic's fifth Wimbledon final and he has enjoyed tremendous success on the biggest grass court stage. This is by far the best tennis he has played since returning to the tour.

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The 12-time grand slam victor, who will face Anderson in Sunday's men's singles final at the All England Club, says those battles played out in his head after the win.

Anderson had break points in the 15th, 21st and 35th games of the decider before taking victory when a tired Isner hit long.

He stands at 0-5 with Nadal and 1-5 against Djokovic.

In one incident, Nadal sent Djokovic deep beyond the baseline with a thunderous forehand. If they play four sets or more in Sunday's final that translates to odds of [1.41] that we'll see a tie-break, and [3.40] that we won't; with three sets seeing those odds change to [1.89] and [2.10].

Djokovic wasted another three break points in the eighth game of the decider.

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