Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal to finish their Wimbledon semifinal Saturday

Milos Raonica

With the clock slipping past 11pm - the official curfew time for action at the All England Club to end for the day - Djokovic survived three set points in a gripping tiebreak before outlasting Nadal in a 17-stroke rally to edge ahead in the match.

The next serve of the match will be at 1pm on Saturday, which will likely delay the start of the women's final between Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber.

It was the longest semi-final ever played at Wimbledon, surpassing the four hours 44 minutes it took Djokovic to beat Juan Martin del Potro in 2013.

His ultramarathon loss to Kevin Anderson, by that score and over all those hours, in the Wimbledon semifinals on Friday amounted to the longest Grand Slam singles semifinal in tennis history.

"We don't want it to be 70-68, John", someone shouted from the crowd at 8-8 in reference to Isner's 2010 epic win over Mahut, as both men kept slamming down huge serves.

Experience will play a big part here for Anderson - he has been in this position before and alas he capitulated completely to Rafael Nadal in the US Open final past year, but it is a series of matches that will have served him in good stead.

Quotable: "We've known each other forever", Isner said of his rivalry with Anderson.

The ridiculous length of the Anderson-Isner clash left Nadal and Djokovic waiting until 8pm local time before stepping on court for their box office semi-final.

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The last set alone lasted five minutes shy of three hours and Anderson said it was unfair on both players.

And another all-time great awaits him on Sunday in either Nadal or Djokovic.

This one seems rather tidy by comparison: Anderson won 7-6 (6), 6-7 (5), 6-7 (9), 6-4, 26-24.

Anderson finished with 49 aces and 118 winners; Isner had 53 aces and 129 winners.

Almost three punishing hours later they both left Centre Court with their title hopes still intact.

It wasn't so much the shot that the fans particularly loved though, it was Isner's actions following the victor.

He added: "It's a bit of a sign for the Grand Slams to change this five-set format". After losing the second set, he turned into Vintage Djoker and won 12 of the next 16 games to return to the Wimbledon semis for the seventh time.

"I don't really know what to say right now".

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