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By Heinz Schenk


Marathon man Anderson clinches Wimbledon final spot

It took six hours and 35 minutes but South Africa's leading player is in his second Grand Slam showpiece!

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.

It’s his second showpiece appearance in four major tournaments after his runner-up finish in last year’s US Open.

In the second longest match in the Grand Slam on grass’ history, both men simply didn’t want to relent until the 32-year-old summoned a magical moment in the 49th game of the final set.

Anderson had landed on his back giving a return from the baseline, losing his racquet in the process.

But he recovered quickly enough to pick it up in his left hand and hit a return.

Stunned, Isner hit the net and eventually lost the game.

Anderson duly secured a remarkable 7-6 6-7 6-7 7-6 26-24 victory

For much of the afternoon on the All England Lawn Tennis Club’s centre court – which eventually stretched to an incredible six hours and 35 minutes – proceedings went according to the script.

Anderson and Isner’s main strength is their service game, which was pretty apparent given that three sets went to a tie-break.

As a result, where wasn’t much aesthetics involved and the longest rally during the whole match was nine shots but both men had their moments of brilliance, with Anderson impressing with some of his backhand winners.

Composure was generally a problem for the two men when they were in the ascendancy.

Anderson notably broke Isner in the eighth game of the third set to lead 5-3, only to play an ill-advised forehand in the next game, which allowed his opponent to roar back from 15-30 down and break right back.

It was the same tit-for-tat in the fifth and sixth games of the fourth set before Anderson produced a moment of brilliance, a superb cross-court backhand, to break in the ninth and subsequently held serve to win 6-4.

That inconsistency was eliminated in an absorbing final set before Anderson produced a moment of magic.

He’ll face either Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal on Sunday.

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