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American John Isner is at the top of his game for Wimbledon semifinal

John Isner on the practice courts at Wimbledon

John Isner on the practice courts at Wimbledon on July 12, 2018. Credit: AFP/Getty Images / OLI SCARFF

WIMBLEDON — Win or lose in his Wimbledon semifinal Friday against Kevin Anderson, John Isner is changing his narrative here. The 33-year-old American has reached the first Grand Slam semifinal of a long career in which he has been best known as a 6-10 big server who won the longest match in Wimbledon history.

“Of course, everyone is going to remember that match in 2010, and rightfully so,” Isner said. “I like to think that since that match, I’ve done a lot of good stuff on the court performance-wise. But for a lot of people, that’s definitely the lasting image of my career. I think if I can keep going further here, I can maybe squash that.”

This was the final score line of that win over Nicolas Mahut: 6–4, 3–6, 6–7, 7–6, 70–68. It took 11 hours over the course of three days to complete.

Isner is playing the same game here (with maybe a little more volleying), and with 160 tournament aces, he leads the men’s field by a mile.

No. 9 Isner and No. 8 Anderson have played before. Many times. Both played college tennis, not the most conventional path to the ATP. Isner was at Georgia and Anderson at Illinois. On the ATP tour, Isner has an 8-3 advantage and has won the last four meetings.

“There could be a little mental aspect in our match,” Isner said. “I say that because our rivalry, what have you, goes back way before the pro tour. We’ve been lined up against each other for about 14 years now, because he left Illinois when I left Georgia. We’ve been doing it ever since.”

Isner won the first Masters Series event of his career in Miami this year.

“With how I’m feeling physically and mentally, I’m in a very good spot,” Isner said. “I think I can keep doing damage here.’’


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