On Thursday, July 12, Greensboro’s John Isner battled on the green grass of Wimbledon for 6 ½ hours. It was the longest semi-final in the tournament’s storied history. Wimbledon is considered tennis’ most prestigious event, featuring 128 of the worlds best players. Isner blasted his way into the semifinals beating several top players along the way including Greece’s very best up and comer, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Canada’s top player, Milos Raonic.
Isner met South African Kevin Anderson in the semifinals for a chance to play in for the ultimate championship in tennis. Isner, a former Page High basketball and tennis star, stands 6’10” tall and was on his way for setting the record for the most aces in Wimbledon history. Anderson was almost as tall at 6’8” and backed up his booming serve with a crushing forehand. Anderson was fresh off a massive upset of the number one seed and arguably the greatest tennis player the world has ever seen in Roger Federer. Both men play power tennis, and on slick grass, that power is often rewarded with aces and groundstroke winners.
With both players being incredible servers, breaking serve would prove extremely difficult. The match predictably started with both players blasting several aces and unreturnable serves. On serve, both men were making contact over 10 feet off the ground and were hitting up to 140mph serves. The first set would see no service breaks as it went to a tie-break. Anderson got the better of Isner winning that tie-break 8 to 6. The first set was desperately close with very little separating the two foes. The tightness of the first set would set foreshadow a long close match.