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Fans witness history as longest semi-final unfolds on Centre Court

UK News | Published:

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

Aidan Turner

Wimbledon fans witnessed history as the longest semi-final ever at the Championships unfolded on Centre Court.

American John Isner and South African Kevin Anderson battled it out on court for six hours 35 minutes, before Anderson secured a place in the men’s singles final.

After a marathon five-set match, he won 7-6 6-7 6-7 6-4 26-24.

The match was the second longest singles match in the history of Wimbledon – after the 11 hour five minute epic in 2010, in which Isner also played.

The clash surpassed the previous longest Wimbledon semi-final, between Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro in 2013, which lasted four hours and 44 minutes.

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

Djokovic resorted to marbles for entertainment, posting a video of himself playing the game on Instagram.

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They walked out under a closed Centre Court roof at around 8pm, with officials anticipating darkness will fall before their semi-final match is resolved.

Sir David Attenborough, American Vogue editor-in-chief Dame Anna Wintour and Bee Gees co-founder Sir Barry Gibb were among a host of stars who watched the action from the Royal Box.

But there were some empty seats on Centre Court and members of the crowd grew restless as they urged Isner, who is 6ft 10in, or Anderson, who is 6ft 8in, to clinch victory.

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One shouted “come on someone”, while another yelled “come on guys, we want to see Rafa”, as the match rattled on.

Comedian Michael McIntyre was also forced to wait for the Spaniard.

Arriving at the gates on Friday morning, he said: “Rafael Nadal. Love him, love him!”

Astronaut Tim Peake, Poldark star Aidan Turner, actor Damian Lewis and adventurer Bear Grylls were in the Royal Box, while Pippa Matthews and husband James were spotted among the crowd.

Pippa and James Matthews
Pippa and James Matthews were among the crowd (Steven Paston/PA)

The semi-finals follow the shock exit of fan-favourite Roger Federer on Wednesday, after he was knocked out by Anderson.

Djokovic and Nadal will be able to play on Centre Court until the curfew of 11pm.

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