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Both players oozed confidence before they came off court at 11.02pm with the scoreline poised at 6-4 3-6 7-6 (11-9) in Djokovic's favour.
Just moments after winning an astonishing semi-final clash 7-6 (8-6), 6-7 (5-7), 6-7 (9-11), 6-4, 26-24 on Centre Court, a worn out Anderson, the No 8 seed from South Africa, backed calls from pundits, players and coaches last night to introduce a tie-break in the fifth and deciding set.
At a set apiece after an hour and 36 minutes of edgy tennis that fluctuated between excellent and flawed, they had just over an hour left until the 11pm curfew, yet neither could seal the deal in the second semi-final before the lights were dimmed under the roof on Centre shortly before that deadline, although they did their best.
"I feel like she's been playing really well, ". "At the end you feel like this is a draw between the two of us". John´s a great guy.
"So I apologise if I'm not more excited right now because the mix of emotions getting through something like that is quite different".
"But at the same time, I'm through to the final".
As it became clear that Isner was due for another endless fifth set, tennis fans were far from delighted.
A year after the epic encounter between Nadal and Djokovic at the semifinal stage of Roland Garros, they took on each other in the final in 2014.
Kevin Anderson's Wimbledon dream is alive and well after an extraordinary five-set win to the US' John Isner to reach Sunday's final.
While the match was tense, it was far from compelling, with both power players simply blasting serves past one another and trading service in the final set.
Steve Tignor previews the men's semifinals at Wimbledon.
Isner and Anderson have met 11 times, and it is the American who holds the advantage in their head-to-head, having won eight matches to Anderson's three.
Games went with serve in the third set with Nadal failing to convert three set points in the tie-break, allowing Djokovic to take the set when his opponent netted a backhand.
All the 32-year-old had left in him was to give Isner a sympathetic hug after he came out on top in the second-longest match ever contested at the All England Club. If Nadal gets off to a fast start, Djokovic could find himself struggling to believe that he's ready to win this type of match.
The exhausted Anderson can only hope that another two sets of equal ferocity are required on Saturday. South African-born Kevin Curren contested the 1985 final but he had become a US citizen by then. But the ex-Illini had his serve broken in Game 9 of that set before he double-faulted while up 8-7 in the tiebreaker.