In Friday's opening set, Djokovic's serve proved crucial after not faced any break points and earning the crucial break on Nadal's serve in the seventh game with a forehand victor to claim the set 6-4.
Novak Djokovic defeats Rafael Nadal in five sets to reach his first Wimbledon final since 2015.
Novak Djokovic clawed his way to a two sets to one lead over great rival Rafael Nadal under the Centre Court roof before their scintillating Wimbledon semifinal was paused with the contest balanced on a knife-edge on Friday.
The match time beat the previous Wimbledon semifinal record of four hours, 44 minutes set by Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro in 2013.
The surprise presence of Anderson and Isner means this year's Wimbledon semi-finals will feature players all over the age of 30 for the first time in the Open era.
Kevin Anderson and John Isner were exhausted and, understandably, a bit cranky after playing a 6-hour, 36-minute men's singles semifinal match at Wimbledon on Friday. "Playing like that in those conditions is really tough on both of us", he said.
Nadal battled back in the second, taking leads of 3-1 and 5-2 while breaking Djokovic twice.
Nadal, meanwhile, is appearing in his first Wimbledon semifinal since 2011.
Repeatedly, the answer was, of course, "No", even when Anderson held break points at 7-all, 10-all and 17-all. After more than a year of trouble, Djokovic finally had surgery in February, then took a while to find his groove.
Neither player had a single break point through two sets, but the American took control down the stretch by earning one service break in the third set and two more in the fourth en route to the victory. "I'm trying to digest that first, enjoy it, and we'll think about the next one". At the end, you feel like this is a draw between the two of us, but somebody has to win.
"It's one of the longest matches I played over the two days, I'm overwhelmed".
A showdown between two tennis skyscrapers - with Isner topping the 6 foot 8 Anderson by two inches - predictably featured three tiebreaks and 102 thunderbolt aces but it was the 32-year-old South African who delivered the knockout blow.
"I've known John for such a long time, he is a great guy. I'm going to have to recover as much as I can and to try to be as ready, as fresh as possible". "I´ve felt better before", said Isner who had also been hoping to be the first American man in a Slam final since Andy Roddick at Wimbledon in 2009.
In a match between two of the game's biggest servers, Anderson started the match with a double-fault.
The eagerly-awaited confrontation between world number one Nadal, the champion in 2008 and 2010, and Djokovic, the victor in 2011, 2014 and 2015, only started after 8pm (1900GMT) on Friday. For all the talk of the Federer/Nadal rivalry, the Djokovic/Nadal pairing may have produced the most fiery tennis ever. Next door to us was Sloane Stephens, the US Open champion and one of many seeded women to exit the tournament early.