Novak Djokovic had no difficulties overcoming Kevin Anderson in the 2018 Men’s Singles Final at Wimbledon on Sunday afternoon to make it his fourth title at this prestigious Grand Slam.
Anderson survived the second-longest match in Wimbledon history, beating John Isner by 26 games to 24 in the fifth set in a match that lasted 6 hours and 35 minutes, with the fifth set alone almost three hours long.
That match, in fact, went on so long, in fact, that it pushed back the second semi-final between Djokovic and Rafael Nadal so late that it could not be concluded on Friday night, and play had to be suspended at 11 pm at night with Djokovic leading by two sets to one.
Resuming on Saturday, the pair went head-to-head for nearly two hours, and Nadal fought his way back to level the match and force a fifth set in an epic battle. When the Serb did eventually triumph 10–8 in the fifth set, their own match had lasted 5 hours and 16 minutes.
The length of that match, and the fact that it had to be played over two days will even the odds a little in Anderson’s favour, coupled with the fact that he has had an extra day to recover from his marathon efforts.
Also in the South African’s favour is that he is the higher seeded of the pair, 8 as opposed to 12, although, as has been evident in this tournament, that counts for little.
However, all the other factors point to the Serb as the likely winner. He is a multiple Grand Slam winner with twelve titles to his name, including three Wimbledon titles. By contrast, his opponent will only be appearing in his second Grand Slam final, albeit both have come within the space of 10 months.
In terms of head-to-head record again Djokovic has the edge. The pair have met six times previously, and, although Anderson won their first encounter, the Serb has won all their subsequent matches, including two victories on grass at Wimbledon.
It is likely that Djokovic will be celebrating his 13th Grand Slam title on Sunday evening, but, in what has been a very unpredictable Championship, Anderson’s chances should not totally be discounted.