Wednesday, June 23, 2010

John Isner vs. Nicolas Mahut

2:11 PM: These two have already played the longest match in tennis history. After playing four sets and 45 games yesterday over 2 hours and 54 minutes, they picked up the fifth set this afternoon at 2:12 London time, 5 hours and 1 minute ago, and continue to play! They have now played 85 games in the fifth set, with Isner leading Mahut 43-42. Isner has set the record for number of aces in one match, with 83 at this point, hardly surprising when they've essentially played 12 sets thus far.

2:15 PM: They also have records for time of match, currently touching 8 hours, most games in a set, right now at 86, and number of total games in a match, at 131. They have each held their serve, incredibly, for more than 60 consecutive games. Mahut, in fact, has only had one break point in the entire match, back in the second set, which he converted. Isner has had three match points in this fifth set, but obviously has yet to convert one.

2:21 PM: Isner looks stiff as a board, while Mahut looks rather spry considering the circumstances. Isner actually whiffed on an easy swing and has been lumbering since I turned the match on at 27-26 in the fifth set. Somehow, however, he's stayed in the game.

2:23 PM: Keep in mind whoever wins has to play tomorrow. And the old records for match time was 6 hours 33 minutes, for games in a set was 48 (25-23), and for games in a match was 112.

2:26 PM: Well they cut me off on ESPN2 for the World Cup. Hopefully I can get it online or I'll have to stop this.

2:29 PM: ESPN3 is carrying the match so I'll be able to continue. The longest previous match in Wimbledon history was just 5 hours and 28 minutes, which has just about been equaled in this one set.

2:34 PM: Mishits galore as both guys start to tire. Well, start isn't the right word. Continue to move toward exhaustion. And Isner with a great drop shot.

2:37 PM: Mahut moving his way toward the old record of 78 aces with 74 himself. Unfortunately Isner just picked up his 91st, making the record much farther away. There has been no break for the competitors, not for a trainer, not to go to the bathroom, just their regular allotted time between side changes.

2:43 PM: Isner up 30-15 on Mahut's serve... chance for a break and match point!

2:44 PM: Aaaanndddd... an attempted backhand return that barely tips Isner's racket, followed by a backhand return into the net. Back to the pattern, Mahut with game point to tie at 48.

2:46 PM: Now tied at 48 games apiece, each player has himself equaled the record for combined games won in a set. And after Isner botches an easy net shot with the whole court open, he comes back with an ace and a service winner to hold serve for the ~65th time in a row.

2:54 PM: Mahut continues to hustle as if he's in the first set, and not as if he's played a set so long it's longer than the previous record for an entire match at Wimbledon.

3:00 PM: After tying the previous record of 78 aces, Mahut finally got another break point. Two of them in fact, as he led game #101 of set 5, 40-15. Isner responded with an ace, a great serve to set up a winner, and then two more points to hold serve yet again.

3:07 PM: The longest games in MLB history: 26 innings in a 1920 game between Brooklyn and Boston. By time, 8 hours 6 minutes in a 25-inning game in 1984 between Chicago (AL) and Milwaukee.

3:10 PM: "Someone WILL win this," the commentators say. That has to be true... but will it be today? What happens if they play for 7 1/2 hours today until it's dark at 9:30 and haven't finished? They're supposed to play their next round match on Thursday! Just 80 minutes left until that becomes a reality. For that matter, what happens when at least one of them has to come out for a match tomorrow, regardless of when this ends and who they're playing?

3:15 PM: Just heard the announcer say there's an hour and six minutes left until sunset. Will they make it? They might, but I won't. I'm still going to watch, but I have to do things. I can't keep this going. Not that anyone's reading anyways.

3:21 PM: Had to chime in with a few last things, as Mahut goes into an all-out dive on the baseline in an attempt to get a racket on the ball! It is now 53-53, each has held serve 71 consecutive times, Mahut has 84 aces, Isner has 93, and they just continue to play.

3:30 PM: I know I said I was done, but Mahut just went down love-30 and came back with a serve and volley winner before following with 3 straight aces. Wow!

3:33 PM: I just don't know where Isner is getting his energy from. He looks absolutely dead. He doesn't look like he's going to be able to walk for days. Mahut, somehow, continues to have a little life in him, despite 6 1/2 hours of continuous exercise.

3:57 PM: For the first time in almost 7 hours, the players left the court... for a bathroom break. And Isner comes back with his 98th ace, despite the fact that he pulled himself up the stairs leading to the court by the railing, while Mahut sprinted up them. Then Mahut followed with another full-out, full-speed dive across the court!!!

4:07 PM: Isner got his 4th match point on Mahut's double fault, but Mahut responded with his 94th ace and then two Isner mishits on good serves to take the 59th game.

4:14 PM: Well, it's finally over. For today. They'll be back tomorrow with the set tied at 59 games. After 7 hours and 4 minutes of play today, and 9 hours and 58 minutes total, the competitors had outlasted the light once again. Isner seemed to want to continute playing, I guess because he figured it would be even harder to get up and start again tomorrow? Because Mahut looked leagues more fit and energized for the last 40-50 games.

Aces: Isner- 98, Mahut- 95
Winners: Isner- 218, Mahut- 217
Unforced errors: Isner- 44, Mahut- 37

See you tomorrow. I probably won't be blogging, but I will be watching.

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