59-59 In The Fifth

2010 Wimbledon Championships
By Hiland Doolittle, June 23rd, 2010
John Isner and Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon 2010

John Isner and Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon 2010

American John Isner and France’s Nicolas Mahut began play before the start of the World Cup Soccer games involving the U.S. and Algeria and Britain against Slovenia and ended play due to darkness at 59-59 in the fifth set in a match that was previously halted due to darkness on Tuesday.  In a match that mesmerized the entire world, the two players fired winning serve after winning serve and showed remarkable sportsmanship and conditioning in a match that has now exceeded eight hours!

Virtually every statistical category has been surpassed by the two competitors who have torn the turf on Court Nineteen to shreds.  At 58-58, the combatants took a five-minute bathroom break.  Other than that, they played on and gained the respect of ever tennis fan across the globe.

Both players had opportunities to win the match but the chances were few and far between.  With Isner serving first, Mahut had the pressure of having to hold 59 times to stay in the match.

The match overshadowed some pretty spectacular play on other courts but each time the cameras moved away, there was an air of disappointment.  Never has such a match been played or seen before.

Federer Escapes Again

For the second time in as many rounds, Roger Federer escaped a serious challenge from a pretender to the throne.  Serbia’s fourth ranked player unleashed devastating two-handed backhand after backhand to push the six- time champion to the brink.  Federer escaped from Ilija Bozolzac 6-3, 6-7(4), 64, 7-6(5).

7th seed Nikolay Davydenko was not as fortunate against German Daniel Brands.  The German took the wind out of Daydenko by winning the first two sets in tiebreakers and then cruising in the third set 7-6 (5), 7-6 (8), 6-1.  Davydenko has been slow to recover form the wrist injury that kept him out of play for two months.

Last year’s runnerup, Andy Roddick showed his mettle with a come from behind win over Frenchman Michael Llorda, who won last week’s event at Eastbourne.  Roddick relied on his forehand as well as his big serve to claim a 4-6, 6-4, 6-1, 7-6 (2) triumph.

3rd seed Novak Djokovic was also impressive, registering a 7-6 (5), 6-1, 6-4 trouncing of American qualified Taylor Dent.  Djokovic seemed more comfortable on the grass than in his five set opening round win.

Dangerous Tomas Berdych looks to be headed for a clash with the top seed.  Berdych allowed German Benjamin Becker no quarter in a hard fought 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 win.  Berdych is learning to close out matches and looks poised to present a formidable challenge to Federer.

Jurgen Melzer came from two sets down against Serb Viktor Troicki 6-7(5), 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(6), 6-3.  The left-hander got his ground game in line and closed the match after 3 hours and 21 minutes


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