Wimbledon 2010 Live Blog: Longest-Ever Tennis Match Ends at 70-68 After 11 Hours

Ash MarshallSenior Analyst IJune 24, 2010

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 23:  Nicolas Mahut of France and John Isner of USA prepare to leave as light stops play at 59-59 in the last set with the tournament director on Day Three of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 23, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images)
Hamish Blair/Getty Images

4:50 p.m. The umpire and both players are being recognised for the part they played in this historic 11:05 match by Ann Jones and Tim Henman. A fitting way to wrap up this most remarkable match.

4:47 p.m. Mahut, serving at 15-15, dumps a drop shot into the net when Isner had slipped behind the baseline. Mahut comes up big with a serve-volley the very next point, but Isner gets a break point—a match point—with a gorgeous passing shot. Isner returns well and wins the most epic battle of all time with a winner down the line.

Isner falls to the ground in shock and awe and the players embrace at the net, Mahut clearly distraught. The Frenchman buries his head in his towel, but he has no0thing to be ashamed of. 70-68 is your final score.

4:41 p.m. Isner falls 0-30 down, but comes up with a 135 MPH ace and three big unreturnable serves—two out wide and one at the body. From 0-30 Isner wins four straight points to go up 69-68. That is 11 hours now!

4:38 p.m. Isner hits a passing shot right at Mahut and gets some luck when it catches the top of the net and goes over Mahut's racket. At 30-15, the Frenchman gets the same luck when his forehand from midcourt trickles over. 68-68.

4:34 p.m. Isner holds to love, including a glorious pick-up at 30-0. His serve out wide was crushed back to the Isner forehand and the American hit a clean winner almost on the half-volley from the baseline. 68-67.

4:32 p.m. "Sixty-seven all" is the announcement from the chair umpire. We're approaching 11 hours of game here.

4:30 p.m. Still no break point opportunities today. Those match points that Isner had seem like an eternity ago. Isner keeps up the pressure with a booming forehand. 67-66.

4:28 p.m. We are now 45 minutes into today's action here and Mahut holds to love.

4:24 p.m. A Mahut backhand goes wayward down the line and what would you know...everything still locked up. The superlatives left me long ago.

4:19 p.m. Mahut mixes things up well—serve-volley, body serve, backhand winner, forehand smash. 65 each.

4:16 p.m. Isner gets a little help from the net cord on the first point of the game on a forehand that just trickles over, and he throws in a deep second serve and inch-perfect forehand to go up 30-15. An ace gives him 107 for the match and an unreturnable out wide moves him ahead 65-64.

4:13 p.m. Mahut goes up 30-0 when the line judge corrects himself on an ace up the middle, and a big serve out wide ties things at 64.

4:10 p.m. Isner's 106th ace gives him a 64-63 lead. He had fallen behind 0-15, but a great volley at the net and a big forehand worked him back into the game. Elsewhere, Jo-Wilifried Tsonga is through to the third round.

4:08 p.m. Mahut holds for the 83rd straight time, this time to love. He wins the game with a clean inside out forehand winner.

4:05 p.m. Mahut continues to deny giving Isner any angle to work with, but the American holds serve.

4:00 p.m. Mahut hits his 100th ace of the game to go ahead 40-0 and he hits No. 101 with a slice serve down the T. "0 minutes in today and we're knotted at 62-62.

3:56 p.m. Isner wins the 123rd game of the set with an ace down the middle. He shanked a return at 15-0, but the rest was almost a formality. Nobody looks like dropping their serve and the unreturnable serves continue to pile up.

3:54 p.m. Three straight aces from Mahut gives the pair a combined 200, and a backhand down the line ties the set at 61-61.

3:51 p.m. Isner holds to love with another big ace after Mahut narrowly misses a backhand lob. Mahut will be serving to stay in it again. I think that's the 49th time or so that I've said that in this set.

3:49 p.m. Mahut rips a clean backhand winner down the line to forge ahead 40-0 and he finishes off the game with an ace down the middle. That means we've got at least two more games to come.

3:45 p.m. Isner starts witrh a double fault, but fires in aces number 99 and 100 on way to winning the first game of the day. Isner leads 60-59.

3:42 p.m. We are underway for the third day.

3:35 p.m. The scoreboard has also now been fixed, and it correctly shows 59-59. It had shut down yesterday at 47 each.

3:33 p.m. The players arrive to a standing ovation. Isner looks pretty fresh and excited. They are warming up with new tennis balls and then they will play with the same balls that they concluded with last night.

3:28 p.m. The umpire has checked the height of the net and is back in his chair, and the coaches for both men are taking their seats in the stand.

3:25 p.m. The media has been let onto Court 18 and the crowd is packed into Court 18. Players will be making their way from the dressing room within the next five minutes.

When John Isner and Nicolas Mahut finally called it a night for the second straight night, tennis fans—sports fans— were left in awe of just how epic their Court 18 battle had become.

Now entering its third day, the pair will resume play at the All England Club at around 3:30 p.m. local time. I'll be blogging what is left of the first-round encounter...unless they're still deadlocked in six hours when I have dinner reservations.

Pick any statistic you want, and you'll be blown away by the lofty numbers. A 426-minute fifth set that is yet to end. 193 total aces. 434 winners to just 109 errors. 877 points played. Oh, and the small matter of 59-59...for now.

Records have been smashed left and right and we're still not done. At 4:57 p.m. yesterday the 49 games in the fifth set passed the record for the most games in a set, and at 5:44 p.m it officially became the longest match in tennis history. Mahut saved a pair of match points at 5:51 p.m—which seemed like an age ago—and eight minutes later they set the record of 113 games in a match. Isner set a single-game aces record with 79 at 6:24 p.m. local time, but it still wasn't even close to finishing.

It's hard to put this epic into perspective, but the previous longest match in Grand Slam history was just 6:33 long. Just. I'm not sure what the score was when Mahut and Isner passed that mark, but it's safe to say that it was long, long ago.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.