But the enormity of his achievement eventually started to sink in, as he emulated his feat at last year's US Open, where he made it to the championship match - only to lose to Nadal. The Serbian 12th seed fired five aces and 14 winners.
The momentum was with Nadal but Djokovic's serve kept him just about out of danger.
"At the same time, I'm through to the finals - wow, what can I say about that!" If I was on the opposite side I don't know how you can take that playing for so long and coming out short. getting through something like that is quite different.
Djokovic came close to beating Nadal for the first time on clay, only to see the Spaniard save three match points before winning one of the greatest and - at four hours and two minutes - longest three-set matches in history.
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. He plays Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic in Sunday's title clash.
He then converted his first match point when Isner sent a shot wide - after 6 hours, 36 minutes. Nadal won the match 5-7, 7-6, 6-4, 4-6, 4-6 in 4hr 47min.
Everyone knew the Wimbledon semifinal between John Isner and Kevin Anderson was going to be a slog, and it well and truly lived up to the billing. And then followed this up with a 140mph ace and another service victor to win the game and level the set 5-5. It was the South African who played the much better game this set, returning serve extremely well and making very few unforced errors. Isner has won all 95 of his service games so far. However, the American broke right back before forcing a tiebreak.
Anderson took the first, with Isner edging the next two to carry a 2-1 lead into the fourth set.