Wimbledon 2018: Djokovic downs Nadal in a match for the ages

Novak Djokovic Back In Top 10 After Wimbledon Exploits

The road to the finals for both players was a wild one. It also was just the second time in the Open era that both men's semifinals at Wimbledon went to five sets.

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 most important came with Isner serving at 24-24.

Djokovic began to grow increasingly agitated as Nadal broke back to 7-7, screaming up towards his box before the Spaniard aced him for the game.

Djokovic was the overnight leader by two-sets-to one when their match was stopped and even though Nadal rallied valiantly to force a fifth and save a match point, Djokovic prevailed 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 ( 11-9), 3-6, 10-8 to enter his fifth Wimbledon final.

Numerous best points came in the tiebreaker, including a 23-shot rally that Nadal finished off with a forehand half-volley drop shot to set up his first set point.

It also passed the previous mark for the second longest match at a Slam of six hours and 33 minutes which Fabrice Santoro spent seeing off Arnaud Clement in the 2004 French Open. ESPN tacked four hours onto its planned coverage, seeing the Isner-Anderson match to conclusion and sticking with Nadal-Djokovic until it was halted.

Nadal faced a break point at 4-3 behind but roared away from trouble with a powerful first serve followed by two vicious, whipped forehand winners. Madly frustrated after surrendering the pivotal break, Djokovic banged his racket on the shoe repeatedly.

It's the first time in almost a century that a South African's made it to the end of the competition, and no South African has ever won the tournament.

"He's really proved to the world that he's just a lot more than a server boy".

It's hard to believe the quality of Sunday's men's final won't be diminished by the unusual circumstances of the semifinals that preceded it.

"Being in the top five there are appearance fees at certain tournaments while the contracts he has in place with Lotto and Srixon have performance clause bonuses that are significant when you reach a Grand Slam final‚" Duguid says.

"I managed to overcome challenges and obstacles, get myself to the final of a Slam", added Djokovic.

Nadal, 32, is back in the semi-finals at Wimbledon for the first time since 2011 when he finished runner-up to Djokovic. With Rafa and Novak there are no secrets‚ we've all seen these guys play a million times.

Anderson proposed going to a tiebreak if a fifth set gets to 12-all.

It was the kind of tennis that Wimbledon's Centre Court crowd would gladly have watched all night long. Still, Isner did jokingly ask chair umpire Marija Cicak at one point during the last set whether they could play a tiebreaker.

Djokovic was under the cosh in the next but two booming serves saved two break points and suddenly Nadal found himself at 0-30 as he served to stay in the match.

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