John Isner was one win away from his first career Grand Slam title.
Although the All England Club has a retractable roof with lights, in the past it has stopped play for the day at 11 p.m. local time in order not to disturb its residential neighbors in southwest London.
While Nadal hasn't really been off the scene at all, Djokovic is ending a string of five straight majors in which he didn't play a semifinal match - his longest such stretch since 2006.
Because the match started Friday with the roof closed, it remained closed when Nadal and Djokovic took the court Saturday.
He had also gone five sets to beat eight-time champion Roger Federer in the quarter-finals, winning the decider 13-11.
I hope in a year's time to have the microphone as we watch him strut his stuff on Centre Court.
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Nadal saved two break points and when he finally held, the owner 17 major championships, two at Wimbledon, punched the air and yelled as if he'd won the match, not a solitary game.
The clash surpassed the previous longest Wimbledon semi-final, between Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro in 2013, which lasted four hours and 44 minutes. Nowadays he is the prickly so-and-so who I work with and one of the best sports commentators I have had the joy of listening to.
Play is set to resume at 1pm BST in this second men's semi-final between Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal. "I think I can keep doing damage here", the No. 9 seed was quoted as saying afterward on the ATP World Tour's Web site.
"He played the US Open finals a year ago".
Anderson survived Friday's incredible endurance test, beating Isner 7-6 (8/6), 6-7 (5/7), 6-7 (9/11), 6-4, 26-24 in six hours and 36 minutes.
And he made it clear Grand Slam tournament organisers should consider a rule change - perhaps introducing a tie-break at 6-6 - to make the deciding set of five-set matches less gruelling. They combined for 102 aces - 53 by Isner, 49 by Anderson.
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Anderson, 32, will vie for the title on Sunday against the victor of the match between Nadal, the world No. 1, and three-time champion Novak Djokovic.
Anderson had a break point at 7-7 and at 10-10, but he missed the first one as Isner hit an ace and the second one as he mishit a backhand. You feel like this is a draw between the two of us, but somebody has to win.
In the ensuing game, Anderson held serve one last time and clinched the victory when an Isner mishit drifted wide.
With Isner serving at 24-24, 0-15, the right-handed Anderson fell down, dropped his racket, got up and played the point left-handed.
Undaunted by losing his lead and being forced to an extra set, Djokovic saved break points at 4-all and 7-all in the fifth, before breaking Nadal at love to end things.
Occasionally there were outbreaks of tennis amid the thudding serves, with one 23-shot rally won by Anderson at 6-5 in the first set.
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The match was the second longest ever at a Slam, and so to was the 50-game fifth set, both coming up short to the Isner-Mahut epic.