LONDON — 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.
Anderson, the No. 8 seed, regularly fired aces against record serving American John Isner for a 6-7 (6), 7-6 (5), 7-6 (9), 4-6, 26-24 victory on Centre Court.
It will be the second Grand Slam final for Anderson, who reached the final of the US Open last year to Rafael Nadal.
The match set Wimbledon semifinal records for number of games (was 72) as well as duration — the 6 hours, 36 minute match bested the previous mark by 1 hour, 52 minutes.
Isner won the longest match at Wimbledon — or any other tournament — when he beat Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in the fifth set after 11 hours, 5 minutes in 2010.
He also broke the record for most aces in a Wimbledon tournament. His 53 on Friday gave him 214 for the fortnight, beating the mark of 213 set by Goran Ivanisevic in 2001.
Not to be outdone, Anderson had 49 aces of his own in the match.
The 32-year-old Anderson will vie for the title on Sunday against the winner of the match between Nadal, the world No. 1, and three-time champion Novak Djokovic. Because of the length of the first match, that semifinal will be played with the roof closed.
Nadal has 17 major titles, two at the All England Club. Djokovic owns 12 Slam trophies, three from Wimbledon.
With the match tied 13-13, fans howled after a spectator shouted out, “Come on guys, we want to see Rafa!”
Isner was trying to end the longest major title drought — 58 majors — for U.S. men in tennis history. The last American man to win a Grand Slam singles title was Andy Roddick at the 2003 US Open.
The Isner-Anderson match was the first Grand Slam men’s semifinal to go past 6-all in the deciding set since the 2013 French Open, and the first at Wimbledon since 2001.
Besides playing for the Wimbledon title, there was plenty of financial incentive for both players. The winner of the match was guaranteed $1.5 million, depending on the outcome of the final, while Isner will go home with $743,322.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.