Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Epic at Wimbledon: Match will go into third day - San Jose Mercury News

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John Isner of the US, left, and Nicolas Mahut of France as a... (Sang Tan, Associated Press)

A Wimbledon contest locked in an epic fifth-set battle has become the longest match in tennis history — and it's not over yet.

The first-round match between American John Isner and France's Nicolas Mahut, approaching 10 hours total and almost seven for the day, was suspended for the evening at 9 p.m. The fifth set stood at 59-59. A third day of play will begin tomorrow.

The match began Tuesday night and was suspended after four sets because of darkness. Wimbledon has no fifth-set tiebreakers.

"Let it end, let it end," moaned Guardian tennis blogger Xan Brooks in blow-by-blow coverage. "It was funny when it was 16-all and it was creepy when it was 26-all. ... Will nobody run onto the court and steal their rackets? Are they all too scared of the zombies' clutching claws and gore-stained teeth?"

The previous record was 6 hours and 33 minutes, set by Fabrice Santoro and Arnaud Clement at the French Open in 2004.

The winner will play the Netherlands' Thiemo de Bakker, who didn't advance easily himself: His final set this afternoon against Santiago Giraldo went to 16-14.

Before this match, Isner, 25, was perhaps most notable for his height: 6-foot-9. He holds the No. 19 ranking in men's singles; at Wimbledon, he is seeded 24th.

He was scheduled to play doubles today. That match was canceled.


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