Djokovic beats Nadal in five-set thriller to reach Wimbledon final

6-4 26-24 in six hours and 36 minutes, making him the first South African man to reach the Wimbledon final for 97 years.

As John Isner endured the second-longest Grand Slam match in history - and his second-longest match in Grand Slam history - he asked chair umpire Marija Cicak to end the madness with a tiebreak.

A showdown between two tennis skyscrapers - with Isner topping the 6 foot 8 Anderson by two inches - predictably featured three tiebreaks and 102 thunderbolt aces but it was the 32-year-old South African who delivered the knockout blow.

"I really hope we can look at this and address this because in the end you don't even feel that great out there", the eighth seed said.

"A couple times I lost my cool, then I lost my serve, then a set".

That service hold - helped by a 129 miles per hour (207.6km/h) second serve - took the American to 100 service games unbroken at this Wimbledon.

But world No. 1 Nadal broke twice in the second set and fended off more break points to level the match.

The 33-year-old American is best known, of course, for beating Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in the fifth set of an 11-hour, 5-minute match that was contested over three days in Wimbledon's first round in 2010.

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But he has little time to rest his aching body before facing Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal in Sunday's final. That was played over on Court 18, which now bears a plaque commemorating the record-setter.

"It's tough, I really don't know".

With 29 Grand Slam titles between them, Nadal and Djokovic's meeting was a highly anticipated match between players who have met more than any other two men in the Open era. Djokovic faced a third break point in deuce, which he won with a terrific cross-court passing shot, and went on to hold serve, even after it went to deuce four more times. Isner took that set on his third chance, when Anderson flubbed a forehand.

The match is being played with the Centre Court roof closed - the same conditions that the first three sets were played under.

"It's up to me to not let this match linger, going forward, when I get back in America playing on the hard courts, which is my favorite surface", Isner said as he shifts focus to the U.S. Open starting in late August.

Isner also took part in the longest match - period, no caveats - in tennis history, which, astoundingly, almost doubled the duration of Friday's contest. People watching at home would feel so riveted they would not dare leave it, nor ever forget it.

That's what happened on Saturday, with Nadal and Djokovic to resume after a good - or perhaps not so good - night's sleep.

Nadal saved two break points and when he finally held, the owner of 17 major championships punched the air and yelled as if he'd won the match. "Best-of-five is what makes the Grand Slams unique", Isner told ESPN.com previous year.

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