Kevin Anderson vs John Isner Wimbledon SF tennis Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Maiden Wimbledon final on the line as big-serving duo Isner and Anderson clash on Centre Court

Leye Aduloju in Wimbledon 13 Jul 2018
  • Kevin Anderson vs John Isner is live from Wimbledon on Friday, 13 July from 1:00pm local time/ BST
  • Isner leads Anderson 8-3 on head-to-head
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Wimbledon at bet365 > live streaming > tennis (geo restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)

After his stunning upset of Roger Federer, can Kevin Anderson beat John Isner to reach his first Wimbledon final? Or will Isner outgun his fellow big server in Friday’s semi-final?

The top half of the men’s draw was supposed to be a procession for Roger Federer, particularly after the early exit of Marin Cilic, and the script was still very much intact when Federer held a match point for a straight-sets victory over Kevin Anderson on Wednesday. But Anderson picked up the script; and ripped it apart with a nerveless fightback against the great Federer. 

Anderson had made a nervy start in his first Wimbledon quarter final, dropping his serve twice in the opening set, and making zero impact on Federer’s deliveries, but the South African grew into the contest in the second set, serving a lot better, and getting more aggressive on return. He had an early break in the set- the first time Federer had dropped serve in the tournament- but he couldn’t maintain the advantage, as Federer hit back before taking the set on a tie break.

While Anderson stayed with Federer for most of the third set, it was as though he was delaying the inevitable, and the end seemed near when Federer held a match point in the third set, but Anderson stayed alive, and as Federer got wayward, the South African grew in confidence, and turned the match around spectacularly.

"I've always believed that I have this in me, to constantly get better," said Anderson. "[I am] very motivated to keep improving. I feel like it's very rewarding seeing those improvements take place, week in, week out, especially over the last 52 weeks”.

Anderson has shown remarkable courage and dedication to bounce from an injury-riddled 2016, and a lowly ranking of 80th at the start of 2017 to re-establish himself in the world’s top ten. He is into his second Grand Slam semi-final, adding to his excellent run to the US Open final last season. The South African is in the midst of a fantastic season, which has already yielded three finals. The 32-year-old opened the year with a runner-up finish in Pune, while he picked up his first title of the year in New York. He bagged another second-placed in Acapulco, before making respectable quarter finals at Indian Wells and Miami.

The high points of his clay season were a semi-final in Madrid and a fourth-round run at Roland Garros, and despite losing to Leonardo Mayer in his grass-court opener at Queen’s, Anderson always looked capable of making a strong impression at Wimbledon- and what an impression he has made, coming through a tough field to take his place in the semi-finals for the first time.
He opened with a straight-sets win over Norbert Gombos, then battled past Italian veteran, Andreas Seppi in four sets, before taking down the dangerous Philipp Kohlschreiber in straights. Anderson survived a stern fourth-round examination against Gael Monfils, coming through 7-6 7-6 5-7 7-6 to move into the quarter finals for the first time in his career. That was supposed to be his final stop, with Roger Federer being his next opponent, but the eighth seed produced the performance of his life to create the biggest upset of this year’s Championships.

Standing between him and a second Grand Slam final is the giant figure of John Isner, who is into his first major semi-final.


Isner had previously never gone beyond the third round at Wimbledon- a rather surprising stat given his serving prowess- but he has finally made his move in 2018, and with the way he has been serving, this could get even better. 

He had a gentle beginning to the tournament, opening against back-to-back qualifiers, Yannick Maden and Ruben Bemelmans, although he did encounter some distress against the latter, who came back from two-sets down to force a fifth. Isner squeezed through that contest, before beating Radu Albot in straight sets to move into the fourth round for the first time in his career.

The draw has got progressively more difficult for Isner, but he has raised his game accordingly. He was far too good for Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Round of 16, easing past the talented Greek teen and into the quarter finals, where he out-served Milos Raonic in a big-serving battle to move into the last four.

Isner served ‘only’ 25 aces against Raonic, but he served at 73%, won 90% of his first serve points, and saved the only break point he faced. He is still yet to drop his serve at Wimbledon 2018. Isner lost the opening set on a tie break; and was a point away from slipping into a two-sets-to-love deficit, but the American saved a set point in the second set tie break, before taking the breaker to even the contest. Isner broke once in the third set, and twice in the fourth to secure an ultimately comfortable 6-7 7-6 6-4 6-3 after two hours and 44 minutes.

“Pure elation right now. Very, very happy to be in this position right now in the semi-finals. With how I'm feeling physically and mentally, I'm in a very good spot. I think I can keep doing damage here,” Isner said.

Isner’s Wimbledon run sharply contrasts his poor start to the year, when he lost six of his first seven matches on the ATP World Tour, but like a bolt out of the blue, he burst into life in Miami, claiming his first Masters 1000 title with victory over Alexander Zverev in the final. He was decent through the clay-court season, signing off with a Round of 16 showing at Roland Garros. The 3-year-old has stepped it up on grass with a first Grand Slam semi-final as he continues to blossom late in his career.

Isner has a very good record against Anderson, winning eight of their 11 meetings, including their only encounter on grass back at Queen’s in 2008. He has also won the last five against Anderson, but the most recent of those matches was at Indian Wells in 2015. Anderson, of course, is a much-improved player since then.

As is so often the case in these matches between two big servers, this could come down to a couple of tie breaks. Isner possesses the more potent and more consistent serve, and that shot could be the difference between the two on Friday.

Kevin Anderson vs John Isner is live from Wimbledon on Friday, 13 July from 1:00pm local time/ BST
Watch and bet on the match live from Wimbledon at bet365 > live streaming > Kevin Anderson vs John Isner  (geo restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)


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Kevin Anderson vs John Isner Wimbledon SF tennis Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Maiden Wimbledon final on the line as big-serving duo Isner and Anderson clash on Centre Court

Maiden Wimbledon final on the line as big-serving duo Isner and Anderson clash on Centre Court. Who will advance to a first Wimbledon final? Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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