WIMBLEDON, England - A virtually endless day of tennis outdoors and eventually indoors ended with history, controversy and the top two men's seeds of Wimbledon 2013 making it to the final.
The longest semifinal in the 127 years of the All England Championships -- 4 hours, 43 minutes -- was the match that enabled No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic to get past Juan Martin del Potro, 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-7 (6), 6-3, on Friday.
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Then, a little after 6 p.m. British summer time, No. 2 Andy Murray finally got on Centre Court against Jerzy Janowicz. After a rally -- and an argument against closing the $130-million roof when darkness approached -- Murray won, 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-4, 6-3. That one took a mere 2:52.
Djokovic, 26, who has dominated the sport most of the past two years, was Wimbledon champion in 2011. Murray, also 26, the Scot carrying the hopes of a nation desperate for its first men's winner since 1936, was Wimbledon runner-up last year.
Murray beat Djokovic in the semifinals of the 2012 London Olympics, held here on the lawns of Wimbledon -- he beat Roger Federer in the final -- and a few weeks later in the final of the U.S. Open for his first major singles title.
After yet another of Djokovic's marathons -- his five-set win over Rafael Nadal in the 2012 Australian Open final lasted 5:53 -- he was understandably emotional.
"I've had some epic matches in my career," he said, "but I have the experience of playing long matches. Today, I was pushed to the limit in one of the most thrilling matches I have ever played. There was high-quality tennis from first point to the last."
Djokovic and del Potro spent the entire sun-drenched afternoon exchanging huge groundstrokes, long rallies and even a few laughs during their marathon, which covered five sets, 55 games, two tiebreakers and 368 points.
"I think this match is going to be memory for a few years," del Potro said. "We play for four hours and a half on a very high level. We didn't make too many errors. I don't know if the rest of the players can play like us today."
With most of the crowd of 14,000 wearing British paraphernalia and hooting on his every point, Murray had an advantage over Janowicz, 22. After a slow start, and down 4-1 in the third set, Murray won five straight games to take the third and gain significant momentum.
It was 8:41 p.m. The tournament referee, despite Murray's loud protest and the fans' boos, halted play so the roof could be closed. That took 25 minutes, but it didn't slow down Murray.
"I had just won five games in a row," Murray said. "The guy [Janowicz] is very unpredictable. I didn't want to stop. I took a shower, regained my focus and went out and won."
LIer out in boys doubles. Noah Rubin of Rockville Centre and his partner, Clement Geens of Belgium, were beaten by top-seeded Kyle Edmund of England and Frederico Ferreira Silva of Portugal, 7-6 (3), 6-3, in the boys doubles quarterfinals.
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