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GETTY COURT SIDE Mirka is a constant presence on the court at Federer's matches

Anderson and Isner, who were meeting for the 12th time in their professional careers, played an extremely even bout to decide who would take on the victor of Friday's later semifinal, between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. The epic five-setter on the pristine centre court of Wimbledon not only broke several records but also managed to keep the capacity crowd engrossed in a gladiatorial battle.

The South-African and the American started the match at 1pm local and well delayed the start of the second semi-final. And he held the upper hand Friday after saving three set points in the gripping tiebreak.

He is the second South African to reach the final, after Brian Norton 97 years ago.

The No. 8 seed beat the No. 9 Isner 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 6-4, 26-24.

"I personally think a sensible option would be 12-all", Isner said. "My left heel is killing me".

"I apologize I'm not more excited right now", he continued.

Anderson will play again in the final on Sunday - hopefully there, a victor will be decided in four sets or less.

How do you sum up Kevin Anderson and John Isner's Wimbledon semi-final?

There was no turning back from there as he won the third and fourth set with relative ease to win his ninth Roland Garros title and his 14th Grand Slam title. The match marked the second-longest in tournament's history, behind only his meeting with Mahut.

"We haven't played in a few years, which I think is a little bit weird", Isner said of his former American college rival.

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Anderson had nearly surely forced the game back to deuce with a close-range dink over the net, but a exhausted Isner somehow stormed across the court to slam home a passing victor.

But I hope maybe somebody sits here in 10, 15 years' time and somebody asks him a question, and he says he watched me playing Wimbledon, that's one of the reasons he's here.

Anderson, the No. 8 seed, ultimately prevailed 6-7 (6), 6-7 (5), 6-7 (9), 6-4, 26-24, with the fifth set alone lasting almost three hours.

Tennis writers also took aim at how the officials were quick to reschedule the women's final but stopped short of moving the time of the men's final because of a clash with the World Cup final. The fifth set lasted 175 minutes. They'll resume on Saturday with Djokovic up two sets to one.

Isner never got a break point in the fifth set.

Two points later, Anderson had the vital break to lead 25-24 before serving out the match. "We want to see Rafa!"

With Djokovic hitting the lines with relentless regularity, Nadal saved two more break points at 1-1 then seized the initiative to punish Djokovic for his first lapse.

A 19th ace of the match bailed American Isner out of a potentially hard situation. He made it 0-30 in that game by winning a point after falling on his back behind the baseline but still got up in time to return Isner's shot. He lost last year's US Open final to Rafael Nadal in straight sets. They crossed that landmark when the score was tied 9-9 in the fifth and the deciding set.

Anderson will now attempt to overturn a losing record against his final opponent.

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