John Isner can't win this epic marathon match at Wimbledon

Isner had already featured in the longest men's tennis match in history, when he beat French player Nicolas Mahut in the 2010 Wimbledon championship, taking the final set on a scarcely believable scoreline of 70-68. There were thrilling moments, to be sure.

It's his second showpiece appearance in four major tournaments after his runner-up finish in last year's US Open.

With the match tied 13-13, fans howled after a spectator shouted out, "Come on guys, we want to see Rafa!" Isner and Anderson have played each other before professionally and they were rivals in college (Isner, 33, played at the University of Georgia, and Anderson, 32, at University of Illinois).

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Isner then shrugged off needing treatment on a blistered serving hand, found time to usher a ladybird to safety before levelling the match in another tiebreak off his 19th ace.

Stunned, Isner hit the net and eventually lost the game. It's among the trickier shots in men's tennis to handle, not just because of its speed but because it strikes the court from such an extreme height. That game is commemorated with a plaque on Court 18. That translated to higher bounces, which accentuated the punch of big serves and proved a welcome assist to players who don't like to bend.

While one might think that such a closely fought match was an enthralling display of athleticism, as the game teetered back and forth in the fifth set, the opposite was true.

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"There's hopefully two more matches still to be played".

The 50-game final set took about three hours alone. Each had a chance to close it; Isner ultimately did.

It was the second-longest match in Wimbledon history and longest one-day match in Wimbledon history.

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Spare a thought for Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, whose wait to play their own semifinal finally ended around 8 p.m. local time.

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