Ex-Illini star Anderson advances to Wimbledon Final after longest match ever
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LONDON — Former Illini tennis star Kevin Anderson won the longest Centre Court match in history and earned a chance to try to collect his first Grand Slam championship, edging John Isner 7-6 (6), 6-7 (5), 6-7 (9), 6-4, 26-24 at Wimbledon in a 6-hour, 36-minute marathon between two big servers on Friday.
The fifth set alone lasted nearly 3 hours as the semifinal became a test of endurance more than skill. Anderson finally earned the must-have, go-ahead service break with the help of a point in which the right-hander tumbled to his backside, scrambled back to his feet and hit a shot lefty.
Only one match at the All England Club has been longer: Isner’s record-setting 2010 first-round victory over Nicolas Mahut, which went more than 11 hours over three days and finished 70-68 in the fifth.
Anderson, a 32-year-old from South Africa, eliminated eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer in a 13-11 fifth set in the quarterfinals Wednesday.
Now the No. 8 seed Anderson will face Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic in Sunday’s final. Nadal and Djokovic had to wait most of Friday to get on court for the second semifinal.