It was a case of better late than never as Kevin Anderson reached his first Wimbledon final with a heart-stopping 7-6 (6), 6-7 (5), 6-7 (9), 6-4, 26-24 win over the sport's perennial marathon man John Isner on Friday.
It took 99 games and three tiebreakers over five sets that took well over 6 hours, but South African Kevin Anderson finally reached the final at Wimbledon on Friday.
The semi-final was deep into the fifth set when the new record was set, although it is still a long way behind the 11 hours and 5 minutes it took Isner to beat Nicolas Mahut in the 2010 first round.
It was also the second longest match at a Slam, beating the six hours and 33 minutes which Fabrice Santoro spent seeing off Arnaud Clement in the 2004 French Open.
"It feels like it´s a draw but somebody has to win".
"I don't know what to say right now. At the end you don´t even feel that great out there, but at the same time I´m through to the final".
Isner and Anderson, both giants capable of enormous serves, just kept blasting the ball past each other, trading service and sides of the court as the rules dictated, but rarely ever competing in a compelling rally.
Anderson had landed on his back giving a return from the baseline, losing his racquet in the process.
In a final set that lasted almost 3 hours, Anderson had break points at 7-7, 10-10 and 17-17 before finally earning the decisive breakthrough to go 25-24 up - drawing a massive roar from the crowd.
After taking a medical timeout after the third set, Anderson surprisingly broke Isner's serve at 2-all in the fourth.
As it became clear that Isner was due for another endless fifth set, tennis fans were far from delighted. The two went back and forth all the way to 12-all, essentially playing a full sixth and seventh set.
But this time he dug deep to break again in the ninth game on his way to levelling the semi-final at two sets apiece.
On the most crucial point of the match, Anderson recovered after a fall and hit a lefty forehand to go up 0-30 while Isner was serving at 24-24. He has reached a career-high in the rankings and on Wednesday he defeated Canadian Milos Raonic in the Wimbledon quarterfinals, advancing the furthest he ever has in a Grand Slam tournament.
Nadal and Djokovic will battle for Sunday's final on the same court at 4pm. For us to be out there for that length of time.