He had also gone five sets to beat eight-time champion Roger Federer in the quarter-finals, winning the decider 13-11.
"I don't really know what to say right now", a clearly drained Anderson said immediately after the match. I mean, just playing like that, in those sort of conditions.it's really tough on both of us.
Both players oozed confidence before they came off court at 11.02pm with the scoreline poised at 6-4 3-6 7-6 (11-9) in Djokovic's favour.
Djokovic and Nadal will be able to play on Centre Court until the curfew of 11pm.
Anderson will now attempt overturn a losing record against both Nadal (5-0) and Djokovic (5-1). Isner wasted a set point in the opener. The fifth set lasted 175 minutes. "For a lot of people, that's definitely the lasting image of my career", Isner said.
"I apologize I'm not more excited right now", he continued. The 50-game final set took about three hours alone.
There are no tiebreakers in the fifth set of matches at Wimbledon.
Anderson made it clear Grand Slam tournament organisers should consider a rule change to make the deciding set of five-set matches less gruelling. The match marked the second-longest in tournament's history, behind only his meeting with Mahut.
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On New Year's Day, a US soldier was killed and four others wounded in combat operations in the eastern province of Nangarhar. The ambush occurred in southern Afghanistan , U.S. military officials said in a statement without being more specific.
However, Isner was then unable to convert a set point of his own in the tiebreak before 32-year-old Anderson wrapped it up thanks to a netted return.
It was the kind of ingeniousness that was needed to break the serve-hold-serve-hold deadlock that went on for nearly three hours in the deciding set alone as Anderson became the first South African man in 97 years to reach the Wimbledon final.
But only one of these men can move through to take on Anderson on Sunday, and they will resume on Saturday, when ticket holders for the women's final will get an unexpected treat.
Then Anderson served out the victory, with Isner sailing a forehand wide on match point. Some people in the stands booed the decision to halt the match after a fantastic tiebreaker in which Nadal wasted three set points at 6-5, 7-6 and 8-7.
One of Anderson's best plays came in that lengthy final set. 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.
Anderson had a strong chance to secure the third set and potentially keep the match from going the distance - as Anderson's round of 16 and quarterfinal bouts did. "We want to see Rafa!"
Isner defeated Yannick Maden 6-2 7-6 7-5 to open his tenth Wimbledon.
He had break points in the 15th, 21st and 35th games of the decider before taking victory when a tired Isner, who had needed treatment for blisters on his right hand, hit long. Anderson fell to his backside trying to return an Isner serve, but got to his feet with his racket in his off hand.
Sadly for Isner, his 214th ace was his last of the championships.
Wimbledon's lack of a fifth set tiebreaker in one of the things that makes the major unique.
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