Wimbledon: Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic resume the game's fiercest rivalry

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Anderson will now have to recover quickly in order to overcome a giant of a different kind in the men's finals on Sunday: either the top-seeded Rafael Nadal of Spain, a two-time victor at Wimbledon, or three-time champion Djokovic, who posted a picture on social media of himself playing marbles.

The show being put on by Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal was so good it could have been an instant classic had they been able to finish their semifinal before the tournament's 11 p.m. curfew.

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.

John Isner of the USA leaves the court after being defeated by Kevin Anderson of South Africa in the men's semifinal match at Wimbledon on Friday.

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.

Play was halted Friday after 2 hours, 54 minutes, with Djokovic leading two sets to one, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (9).

The two players were well matched throughout and the lack of a tiebreak in the final set prolonged the match until Anderson finally broke through at 7-6 (8-6) 6-7 (5-7) 6-7 (9-11) 6-4 26-24.

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After beating eight-time champion Roger Federer, also over five sets in the quarter-finals, 2017 US Open runner-up Anderson claimed his 300th career win. One break of serve was enough to see them through the second set against their unseeded opponents.

Quotable: "We've known each other forever", Isner said of his rivalry with Anderson. After a testing five-set match, Anderson eventually won 7-6 6-7 6-7 6-4 26-24.

All the 32-year-old had left in him was to give Isner a sympathetic hug after he came out on top in the second-longest match ever contested at the All England Club.

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Both players were strong on serve, though it was a tiring Isner, plagued with a blister on his finger, who was under threat, routinely needing to draw on his reserves to close service games out.

Only seven of the previous 51 meetings between Nadal and Djokovic had been won by the player who lost the opening set, so it was a major boost to the Serb's hopes when he took the opener.

"I'm really not thinking about being an underdog or being a favourite", he said.