Isner v Mahut rematch ends in damp squib

Updated: 2011-06-22 10:04


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Isner v Mahut rematch ends in damp squib
John Isner of the US (L) embraces Nicolas Mahut of France after defeating him at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London June 21, 2011. In 2010 the two players played a match that lasted more than 11 hours, at Wimbledon.  [Photo/Agencies]

LONDON - The John Isner against Nicolas Mahut rematch inevitably failed to live up to last year's historic clash when American Isner needed only just over two hours to book his place in the Wimbledon second round on Tuesday.

Isner won 7-6 6-2 7-6 against Frenchman Mahut in a contest every bit as low-key as their 11-hour epic last year was dramatic.

The first game of the match lasted less than a minute and although there were two tiebreaks the clash never threatened to live up to last year's three-day marathon, by far the longest match in tennis history.

Isner took control by winning the first-set tiebreak and Frenchman Mahut never looked like fighting back in a subdued atmosphere on a windy Court Three.

"The phenomenon that was created around last year's match has been difficult for the two of us to tackle," 94th-ranked Mahut told a news conference.

"He played better than me today. The atmosphere was not as huge as I was waiting for," added the Frenchman, who despite his dejected demeanour still found room for humour.

"I'm sure you're all disappointed about today," he joked.

Inseparable through a fifth set which ended 70-68 and lasted over eight hours 12 months ago, the only thing the friends had in common a year later was a pair of identical shoes as the giant 47th-ranked Isner took control of the match.

The pair embraced warmly at the net and exchanged kind words after the match.

"'Hey, buddy. I want to see you in the second week of this event,' he told me," Isner said.

"Thank you I replied," added the American, who lost his second-round encounter in 74 minutes last year due to the inevitable onset of fatigue.

"I'm just really thrilled to have won that third set, because if I lose that third set, then chances are we don't finish and our match goes to another second day."

After Mahut trudged away, Isner had to battle through hoards of autograph hunters though he lifted his head briefly when he heard a cry from one familiar voice.

"Where were you?," Isner asked Mohamed Lahyani, the chair umpire at last year's match who had come to congratulate the American.


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