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It was a case of better late than never as Kevin Anderson reached his first Wimbledon final with a heart-stopping 7-6 (6) 6-7 (5) 6-7 (9) 6-4 26-24 win over the sport's perennial ultra marathon man John Isner on Friday.

The fifth set alone lasted almost 3 hours as the semifinal became a test of endurance more than skill.

Nadal, 32, is back in the semi-finals at Wimbledon for the first time since 2011 when he finished runner-up to Djokovic.

The match will resume on Saturday at 1pm United Kingdom time (12pm SA time), with the score standing at 6-4 3-6 7-6 (11/9) in favour of Djokovic.

The match will finish on Saturday.

Afterwards, the two exhausted players made it clear that there should be a cut-off point in the fifth set deciders, where the match is decided by a tie break. "I was pretty close to making a Grand Slam final, and it didn't happen". "I really hope we can look at this, because at the end you don't feel great", Anderson said.

The No. 8 seed Anderson eliminated eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer in a 13-11 fifth set in the quarterfinals Wednesday.

"I don't really know what to say right now", Anderson told the BBC.

The match could not end due to a quirk of Wimbledon and two of the other Grand Slams - the fifth set cannot end in a tiebreaker.

"I agree with Kevin".

"I feel pretty bad", Isner said in a news conference.

"We haven't played in a few years, which I think is a little bit weird", Isner said of his former American college rival.

With Djokovic hitting the lines with relentless regularity, Nadal saved two more break points at 1-1 then seized the initiative to punish Djokovic for his first lapse. It culminated in a gruelling 50-game final set in which the South African got to love-30 against Isner's serve on several occasions, but just couldn't pull off a service break.

"I feel like she's been playing really well, ".

"We've been lined up against each other for about 14 years now, because he left IL when I left Georgia. I'm sort of more focused on that than getting too excited about the overall picture".

The roller-coaster match saw Dabrowski and Xu fight off three match points before tying it at 5-5 in the third set.

"That's no consolation to me".

"I'm going to expect a very tough match on Friday".

Isner, who famously unleashed 113 aces on Nicolas Mahut in his 11-hour, five-minute Wimbledon victory over the Frenchman in 2010, leads Anderson 8-3 head to head.

A rematch of previous year's finals at Roland Garros, it was a gruelling five-setter match. You feel like this is a draw between the two of us, but somebody has to win.

Sadly for Isner, his 214th ace was his last of the championships.

"John's such a great guy".

Anderson will now attempt overturn a losing record against both Nadal (5-0) and Djokovic (5-1).

Serbian Novak Djokovic and Spaniard Rafael Nadal were forced to wait in the wings for hours as the action unfolded.