By Martyn Herman
LONDON (Reuters) - American John Isner reached his first Grand Slam semi-final as he beat Canadian Milos Raonic 6-7(5) 7-6(7) 6-4 6-3 in a clash of the giants at Wimbledon on Wednesday.
The 33-year-old saved two set points in the second set tiebreak to avoid going two sets down and then took control of the match to continue his dream run at the All England Club.
Isner has taken 41 Grand Slams to reach his first semi-final -- one less than compatriot Sam Querrey who reached the milestone a year ago at Wimbledon.
He had never gone beyond the third round at Wimbledon in nine previous attempts but has been in sparkling form this time and will harbour genuine hopes of going at least a stage further with South African Kevin Anderson, rather than eight-time champion Roger Federer, waiting in the semis.
Once he levelled the match against 2016 runner-up Raonic, ninth seed Isner began to dominate and he gained the first service break of the match at 2-2 in the third set when he crunched a deep return that the Canadian could not handle.
Isner wobbled when serving at 5-4, a double-fault giving Raonic a rare break point, but he salvaged the situation with a booming ace before moving a set from victory.
In a slightly surreal atmosphere, with hundreds of empty seats on Court One due to England's soccer World Cup semi-final with Croatia having kicked off, Isner dominated the fourth.
He moved 5-3 ahead with another break and spared himself any nerves as he broke Raonic again to seal the win.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editign by Ken Ferris)