After six hours and 36 minutes, Kevin Anderson beat John Isner in the Wimbledon semi-final on a frankly ridiculous scoreline of 7-6 (6), 6-7 (5), 6-7 (9), 6-4, 26-24. The result prompted widespread calls for a rule change.
The tie was the second-longest match in the history of Grand Slam tennis and means Anderson will advance to play the winner of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. However, with that final set for Sunday several prominent tennis figures emerged afterward to call for a tie-breaker and avoid a repeat of this scenario.
Kevin Anderson delighted to win but calls for change of the no-tiebreak 5th set rules at Wimbledon and elsewhere. "I really hope we can look at this and address this because in the end you don't even feel that great out there."
— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) July 13, 2018
Time for the players to take a stand and insist there be a final-set tiebreak at @Wimbledon. Because whoever wins this match is going to be absolutely dead come the final, which is unfair (and makes for bad TV/entertainment for fans etc).
— Simon Cambers (@scambers73) July 13, 2018
Patrick McEnroe pulling no punches on ESPN's broadcast of Isner vs. Anderson, at 15-15: "There needs to be a tiebreak at some point in the final set. For the crowd, for the players, for you watching at home, for the other players. For the good of the game, is the bottom line."
— Ed McGrogan (@EdMcGrogan) July 13, 2018
‘Isner 70-68 Mahut was a great day for our sport, it got everyone talking about tennis. But the day after was when we should have changed the rules to ensure it never happened again.’
John McEnroe - 7 years ago. #Wimbledon #BBCTennis
— David Law (@DavidLawTennis) July 13, 2018
Yes, John Inverdale and John McEnroe, we *have* entered the realm of the absurd. How on earth is the winner of this match meant to play again on Sunday, and surely it’s unfair to the winner of the other semi to have back-to-back matches? #wimbledon
— Jen (@fidgety_jen) July 13, 2018
By the time the game finished, the roof had closed and the floodlights were on. It reminded many of Isner's win over Nicolas Mahut in 2010, the longest ever game. That finished 70-68 in the fifth set after an epic 11 hours, 5 minutes.
Immediately after today's match, Anderson urged authorities to introduce a tie-breaker to ensure this wouldn't happen again. It also meant that Nadal and Djokovic's semi-final was pushed back into the evening, although the Serb kept himself busy in his changing room.
Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic awaits his turn ... pic.twitter.com/Px0nQIGiRn
— ESPN (@espn) July 13, 2018