July 5, 2013 / 4:58 PM / 6 years ago

Djokovic and Del Potro play out longest-ever semi

Novak Djokovic of Serbia (L) embraces Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina after defeating him in their men's semi-final tennis match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London July 5, 2013. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

LONDON (Reuters) - Top seed Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin Del Potro set a record for the longest semi-final ever played at Wimbledon on Friday as the Serb favorite eventually triumphed in the fifth set after four hours 43 minutes of scintillating action.

Djokovic took the first set 7-5, lost the next 4-6 and won the third on a tiebreak before eighth-seeded Argentine Del Potro saved two match points en route to claiming the fourth set tiebreak.

Neither man had previously dropped a set in this year’s tournament and Djokovic prevailed 6-3 in the decider.

The previous semi-final record of four hours, one minute was set in 1989 when Boris Becker beat Ivan Lendl in five sets.

The new mark is six minutes shy of the longest Wimbledon final, Rafa Nadal’s four hour, 48 minute victory over Roger Federer in 2008, but remains way adrift of the tournament’s longest match.

That was the 11 hour, five minute first-round epic between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut in 2010 which Isner won 70-68 in the fifth set.

Reporting by Mitch Phillips, Editing by Ed Osmond

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