Isner wins record breaker, Nadal avoids early exit at Wimbledon

13:52, June 25, 2010      

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John Isner of the U.S. celebrates defeating France's Nicolas Mahut at the 2010 Wimbledon tennis championships in London, June 24, 2010. (Xinhua Photo)

After more than 11 hours over three days, American John Isner finally defeated Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in a recod-shattering fifth set in the first round of Wimbiedon Open.

The longest tennis match in history finally ended at late Thursday afternoon with John Isner outclassing Frenchman Nicolas Mahut 6-4, 3-6, 6-7(9-7), 7-6 (7-3), 70-68 in their first-round encounter. After Isner threaded a backhand passing shot down the line for a winner, the two men hugged at the net.

"We played the greatest match ever in the greatest place to play tennis," Mahut said. "John deserved to win. He just served unbelievable."

"It stinks that someone has to lose," Isner said. "To share this day with him is a real honor. I can only wish him the very best and that hope that we'll meet down the road sometime. But hopefully it won't go to 70-68."

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal rallied in the second round to beat Robin Haase 5-7, 6-2, 3-6, 6-0, 6-3.

Nadal dropped sets at a Grand Slam for the first time in nine matches, but the French Open champion battled back from the brink to earn a meeting with Phillip Petzschner or Lukasz Kubot.

Besides, Britain's Andy Murray crushed Jarkko Nieminen 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 to reach the third round.


Rafael Nadal of Spain serves the ball during his second round match of men's singles against Robin Haase of Netherlands at the 2010 Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Britain, June 24, 2010. Nadal won 3-2. (Xinhua/Zeng Yi)

On the women's side, defending champion Serena Williams took just 49 minutes to breeze into a third round meeting with Dominika Cibulkova after routing Russia's Anna Chakvetadze 6-0, 6-1.

2004 Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova cruised into the third round with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Romania's Ioana Raluca Olaru.

Sharapova was joined in the last 32 by Polish seventh seed Agnieszka Radwanska and Italian 10th seed Flavia Pennetta.

There was a surprise defeat for Zheng Jie, a former semifinalist here, as the Chinese 23rd seed went down to Petra Kvitova 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.

Former French and U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova also bowed out, beaten 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 by Australia's Anastasia Rodionova.


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