It became the second longest match in the history of the men’s singles at Wimbledon when it passed five hours and 31 minutes. That was the time it took Marin Cilic to beat Sam Querrey in the third round six years ago.
When Isner fired a forehand wide on match point, giving Anderson a 26-24 victory in the deciding set, the match had reached six hours and 36 minutes according to official tournament statistics.
That was still short of the 11 hours and five minutes that Isner took to overcome Nicolas Mahut in their 2010 first-round match.
But it was the longest semi-final in grand slam history.
And when Isner sent down his 53rd and final ace of the match deep into the deciding set it took him to 214 for the tournament, putting him one ahead of the record set by Goran Ivanisevic on his way to the title at the 2001 championships.
“Anderson vs Isner, a Wimbledon classic – you better believe it”
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 13, 2018
Anderson now stands on 172 aces with one match to come.
Isner fell despairingly short in his bid to reach a first grand slam final at the 41st attempt. The record in that category is held by Spaniard David Ferrer, whose breakthrough came at the 2013 French Open final in his 42nd slam.
Anderson reached his first grand slam final at the US Open last year, at the 34th time of trying.
After going 110 service games without being broken during Wimbledon, the seemingly indomitable Isner finally was undone during the third set – but he immediately broke back.
Pete Sampras continues to hold the Wimbledon record for the most consecutive holds, with his sequence of 118 spanning the 2000 and 2001 championships.
The last time Serena Williams took on Angelique Kerber in a Wimbledon final, Serena wasn’t married and hadn’t got pregnant yet, Kerber was a freshly-minted Grand Slam champion from her Australian Open triumph over the American six months earlier, Jay-Z and Beyonce flew in on a helicopter and were in Serena’s box, Ellen DeGeneres was sat next to Billie Jean King in the Royal Box, and Centre Court witnessed one of the best finals in recent memory.
Serena matched Steffi Graf’s Open Era record of 22 Grand Slams that day by defeating a fourth-seeded Kerber 7-5, 6-3, then went on to break it when she lifted the Australian Open trophy in January 2017, while she was pregnant.
Now facing off against Kerber for a third time in a Grand Slam final, Serena is bidding to match Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 majors won.
Kerber, the current world No. 10, is looking to add to her two Grand Slam titles, and prove that she is officially back following a difficult 2017.
Both former world No. 1s have dropped one set each en route to the final and played brilliant semis to reach this point.
Here’s a numbers guide to Saturday’s blockbuster meeting.
1 – Kerber is looking to become the first German woman to win Wimbledon since Graf in 1996.
3 – For the third time in the Open Era, both women’s finalists are not seeded in the top-10.
3 – Kerber is only the third player to face Serena in three or more major finals, alongside Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova. Venus is the only player to defeat Serena twice in a Slam final.
4 – Grand Slam finals Kerber has now reached.
4 – Serena is bidding to become just the fourth mother to win a Grand Slam in the Open Era.
4 – This is just Serena’s fourth tournament back from maternity leave.
4 – Kerber will rise to No. 4 in the world if she wins the title, and No. 7 if she loses the final.
6 – Kerber is one of six German women to reach the Wimbledon final in the Open Era.
7 – Wimbledon titles Serena has won so far in her career.
12 – kilometres run by Kerber through her six matches at Wimbledon, compared to 6.3km run by Serena.
12 – top-10 wins for Kerber this season. By contrast, she recorded just one top-20 victory in a sub-par 2017.
18 – Serena is making her 18th main draw appearance at Wimbledon.
23 – Slams won for Serena from 29 finals played. That’s a 79% winning rate in major finals. It’s the second-best winning percentage in the Open Era.
24 – Serena’s bidding to match the all-time record of 24 Grand Slams won.
28 – Serena will rise from 181 to 28 in the world by virtue of reaching the final, and would hit No. 19 if she wins the title.
30 – This year’s final is the first between two thirty-somethings at Wimbledon since Virginia Wade defeated
Betty Stove in 1977.
36 – At 36 years 291 days, Serena would be the oldest Grand Slam singles champion in the Open Era, overtaking her own record set at 2017 Australian Open, if she defeats Kerber. Serena is the third-oldest Grand Slam finalist.
43 – per cent of Serena’s serves have been unreturned this fortnight, compared to 24% for Kerber.
44 – Serena has struck 44 aces this tournament.
80 – the average ranking of Kerber’s opponents en route to the final.
81 – the average ranking of Serena’s opponents en route to the final.
84.8 – million dollars earned by Serena in career prize money prior to this Wimbledon.
88 – Kerber has made a tournament-leading 88% of her service returns. She has won 47% of her return games.
89.4 – Serena’s winning record on grass is 89.4% (101-12 win-loss), the highest among active players. Kerber’s is 71.8% (61-24), which is the sixth-best rate among active players.
106 – Kerber’s fastest serve struck this fortnight is 106mph. That is Serena’s AVERAGE serve speed this tournament.
325 – match wins for Serena at the Grand Slams, against 43 losses. That’s an 88.3% winning rate at the majors.
Tunisian Selima Sfar is proud to be flying the flag for Arab women at Wimbledon as she contests the Invitation Doubles tournament for a fifth consecutive year.
Sfar, who is the first Arab woman to crack the top-100 and retired from professional tennis in 2011, was invited to play the Legends event for the first time in 2014. She partnered nine-time Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova on three occasions, lifting the title together in 2016, and played alongside four-time major champion Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario in 2017.
This year, Sfar has teamed up with Croatian 1997 Roland Garros winner Iva Majoli at the All England Club, and they beat Tracy Austin and Anne Keothavong in their second match on Thursday, after losing their opener to Kim Clijsters and Rennae Stubbs on Tuesday.
Sfar is one of three Tunisians to compete at Wimbledon this year, with Ons Jabeur making the second round in women’s singles, after earning a wildcard by winning the $100k Manchester title in the build-up, and Malek Jaziri falling in the first round in men’s singles.
The 41-year-old Sfar paid tribute to Wimbledon organisers for inviting her to take part in the Invitation Doubles tournament each year and is grateful to be representing Arab women at SW19.
“I have my greatest memories in this tournament, my birthday is always here, and the fact that they were the first Grand Slam who accepted me here and kept inviting me and being very nice and I think it’s very important that they thought of inviting an Arab, representing this part of the world, this region this culture. They opened the door to that and it’s amazing. For me it was very important,” Sfar told Sport360.
“They welcomed me in the Legends draw and they still do every year. The way they offered a wildcard to Ons who won a Challenger also. They say whoever wins the Challenger gets a wildcard, how many Grand Slams do that? Because when you say that you open the wildcard for anyone, any nationality, from any country and that’s also a sign of being very open-minded.”
During her professional career, Sfar, who is now a commentator for beIN Sports, played in the Wimbledon main draw four times, reaching the second round in 2001, 2002 and 2005. She made the doubles quarter-finals alongside Ekaterina Makarova in 2008, eventually losing to Lisa Raymond and Sam Stosur.
“I love this event. I know everybody says that, most of the players say that Wimbledon is magical because of the tradition, because of how beautiful it is, the way they take care of players, everything is just magical there, we are so spoilt,” said Sfar.