Isner v Mahut 59-59 Marathon Goes On Thursday at Wimbledon
by Staff | June 23rd, 2010, 8:15 pm

A Top 10 seed was ousted on Wednesday at Wimbledon, but the big story was the match that never ends — reverberating around the world as the longest match ever in tennis — still not finished, as American John Isner and Frenchman Nicolas Mahut were suspended due to darkness for the second straight night, tied at 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(7), 6-7(3)…and this is no typo…59-59 in the fifth set.
The match has lasted 10 hours, with the fifth set lasting 7 hours and 6 minutes thus far, which alone is longer than any entire tennis match in history. Isner has 98 aces in the match, eclipsing the previous record of 78, and Mahut has 95 aces.

“He’s serving fantastic. I’m serving fantastic,” Isner said. “That’s really all there is to it.”

The match will go on for a third day on Thursday morning.

No. 7 seed Nikolay Davydenko was the lone seeded loser Wednesday, beaten by unheralded German Daniel Brands.

World No. 1 Roger Federer struggled yet again, this time against another player stepping out of the dark, Serb Ilia Bozoljac, who stretched the Swiss who eventually prevailed 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-6(5).

“It’s a good match for me to come out,” said Federer, taking it in stride. “I thought Bozoljac played great. He served amazing. It’s hard to get a read on his serve. He served clutch when he needed to. He was able to really play very dangerously also on the returns, even though I was never broken, which is a good thing for me. This easily could have gone five sets. Also could have gone straight sets, so obviously I’ll take the four sets any day.”

In other seeded play of note No. 3 Novak Djokovic fended off Taylor Dent in straights; No. 5 Andy Roddick did likewise against another net-rushing opponent, Michael Llodra in four sets; No. 28 Al Montanes survived a meeting with American Brendan Evans in five sets; and No. 29 Philipp Kohlschreiber outlasted Russian Teimuraz Gabashvili 9-7 in the fifth.

“I think 151 was one serve that he didn’t put in and 148 was the fastest,” said Djokovic of the big-serving Dent. “Yeah, it’s incredible. He had so many first serves over 140 miles. That’s gonna stay the dream for me to make it in my life ever.”

Among the few matches of note on Thursday at Wimbledon include (4) Andy Murray vs. Jarkko Nieminen, (2) Rafael Nadal vs. Dutchman Robin Haase, Fabio Fognini vs. “Iron” Mike Russell, and of course out on Court 18, Nicolas Mahut vs. John Isner to finish.

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13 Comments for Isner v Mahut 59-59 Marathon Goes On Thursday at Wimbledon

WTF Says:

This happens when you have two big servers but terrible returners. I thought it was a typo at first, because 59 all didn’t sound likely. Still, these guys did the unthinkable. Both of them have no shot at winning the title now having spent 10 hours on court already. I expect the game to be over quickly the next day. Karlovic just needs an opportunity to play against someone else like him and he’ll top this.

If they were scrappers like Nadal and Murray, both would have exhausted themselves out long ago.

Congratulations to them both for breaking a bunch of records.

Hypnos Says:

I wouldn’t say that Isner and Mahut are horrible returners; rather, each is serving too well for the other’s returns so far in this match.

Also the fresh, 1st round Wimbledon grass has something to do with that.

Anyway, a ridonculous course of events.

Dan Martin Says:

Crazy stuff – no words

Clay Says:

I’m thinking somewhere around the 8-9 hour mark my returning skills would take just a slight dip … a couple weeks ago I played for about 4 hours and I nearly died.

Cheers to these guys for refusing to give up, and reducing this to a battle of wills. I was ready to pass out just watching it, especially with Isner trotting around like a zombie there for the last hour or so. Here’s hoping he pulls it together and finishes off Mahut.

Ben Pronin Says:

“especially with Isner trotting around like a zombie there for the last hour or so.”

Haha, you must’ve felt like time was flying by because I’m almost certain that he was trotting around for at least 5 of the 7 hours played today. Seriously, the guy was practically crawling to his chair after 30-30.

zola Says:

isn’t there already another post by “staff” on the same subject?
do you guys check this website before uploading a new post? :)

margot Says:

zola: yes, I’m confused too, just posted on similar?

John H BUSSEY Says:

Scrap the second serve – most players win more than 50% of points on 2nd serve, so 2 chances gives server too big an advantage

guy Says:

this could go on for many more hours potentially. they’ve rested up again so fatigue won’t be much of a factor.
they should have put them under lights last night and made them play until somebody passed out.

grendel Says:

other stuff goes on…

The Chinese have a saying:”gueide bugui, zhiande buzhian” – meaning “what is expensive isn’t really expensive, what is cheap isn’t really cheap – in the long run”.

Adapting this saying to the tennis, you could say (vis a vis Roddick): getting knocked out of Queens early by a relative unknown isn’t really bad, getting to the final (Fish) isn’t really so hot.

Taking it further, having a shockingly difficult draw for first round (Llodra) isn’t really a handicap. Having the difficult draw is actually just the stuff to give the troops – looked at wisely and with a little perspective.

For after all, Roddick has a nice long recuperation period after early Queens demise, mentally and emotionally especially. A lot to prove against Llodra, who is playing out of his socks.

He is given a good stern test, and comes through flying. Roddick has every reason now to feel really good about things, and is more than ever looking an excellent tip for the final.

And then there is Federer, with his “cupcake draw”. This is slightly more complicated, since Federer is not playing very well with any consistency, but even so the players he had to face, in their very different ways, proved redoubtable opponents, hot on the day. And that can happen. I didn’t catch much of the Bozolijac match (what a crazy serve – this is a lad to watch!), but Federer’s serve is looking more of a liabilty these days. Looking at Mahut, never mind Isner, crashing in tremendous serves to the lines over and over, Federer’s serve just seems to lack bite. Not a dependable weapon at the moment, and that says almost everything.

Then Nadal’s “difficult” draw – Gulbis injured, Blake a shadow, Isner a fatally wounded warrior. What next?

Nothing is what it seems. Well, that keeps interest alive…..

zola Says:


the draw is the draw. Isner and Gulbis are better players than Falla and Bozoljac. The fact that one is injured and the other one had a long match does not change their rankings. I do not understand your logic here.

grendel Says:

“Better” players” are often beaten by “worse” players. All sorts of things can happen to upset the applecart, some foreseen, some unforseeable. That is why it is not sensible to get in a lather about the draw (although I have done so myself – that just shows I am inconsistent). If you do, it is very possible you will make a fool of yourself. Wait and see what happens. You just don’t know. There is no simple mathematical equation.

I see where uyou are coming from, though. It’s like this business of not being able to accept that Davydenko is quite good enough to beat Nadal at his best on hard courts – sometimes, maybe not often. I don’t see the world in black and white, Zola – you do. Difficult to bridge that gap.

Reaniel Says:

grendel, just so you know, that’s not really a Chinese saying (its usage is pretty limited… I mean google search yield less than 100 results), and it doesn’t really mean what you think it means.

The phrase is usually referring to cutting corners being bad.

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