70-68 in 5th set: Isner wins longest tennis match ever

Posted June 24, 2010, at 12:22 p.m.
John Isner of the US, left, bends over and holds his head during his epic singles match against Nicolas Mahut of France at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon, Wednesday, June 23, 2010. Play was suspended for bad light with scores tied at 59 all in the 5th set. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
John Isner of the US, left, bends over and holds his head during his epic singles match against Nicolas Mahut of France at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon, Wednesday, June 23, 2010. Play was suspended for bad light with scores tied at 59 all in the 5th set. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
John Isner of the US reacts as he defeats France's Nicolas Mahut, in their epic men's singles match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon, Thursday, June 24, 2010. (AP Photo/Suzanne Plunkett, pool)
John Isner of the US reacts as he defeats France's Nicolas Mahut, in their epic men's singles match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon, Thursday, June 24, 2010. (AP Photo/Suzanne Plunkett, pool)
John Isner of the US, left, reaches out to embrace France's Nicolas Mahut, at the end of their epic men's singles match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon, Thursday, June 24, 2010. (AP Photo/Suzanne Plunkett, pool)
John Isner of the US, left, reaches out to embrace France's Nicolas Mahut, at the end of their epic men's singles match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon, Thursday, June 24, 2010. (AP Photo/Suzanne Plunkett, pool)

WIMBLEDON, England — John Isner has won the longest match in tennis history, taking the fifth set against Nicolas Mahut 70-68.

The first-round match at Wimbledon took 11 hours, 5 minutes over three days. Isner closed out the victory Thursday with a backhand winner, then collapsed to his back as he tossed his racket in jubilation and relief.

Isner won 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3), 70-68.

The match lasted so long it was suspended because of darkness — two nights in a row. Play resumed Thursday at 59-all and continued for more than an hour before Isner won.

The American finished with 112 aces, and Mahut had 103. There were only three service breaks in the match, the last coming on the final point.

Longest Known Tennis Matches

11 hours, 5 minutes — John Isner def. Nicolas Mahut, 2010 Wimbledon 1R

6:33 — Fabrice Santoro def. Arnaud Clement, 2004 French Open 1R

6:22 — John McEnroe def. Mats Wilander, 1982 Davis Cup, World Group QF

6:21 — Boris Becker def. John McEnroe, 1987 Davis Cup, World Group Playoff

6:04 — Horst Skoff def. Mats Wilander, 1989 Davis Cup, World Group QF

5:59 — Radek Stepanek def. Ivo Karlovic, 2009 Davis Cup, World Group SF

5:46 — Arnaud Clement def. Marc Rosset, 2001 Davis Cup, World Group QF

5:45 — Mehdi Tahiri def. Gilles Muller, 2005 Davis Cup, Europe/Africa Zone 1R Playoff

5:31 — Alex Corretja def. Hernan Gumy, 1998 French Open 3R

5:28 — Greg Holmes def. Todd Witsken, 1989 Wimbledon 2R

Previous longest singles match, games: 112 – Pancho Gonzales def. Charlie Pasarell, 22-24, 1-6, 16-14, 6-3, 11-9 (1969 Wimbledon 1R)

Previous longest doubles match, games: 122 – Stan Smith and Erik Van Dillen def. Patricio Cornejo and Jaime Fillol, 7-9, 37-39, 8-6, 6-1, 6-3 (1973 Davis Cup, United States vs. Chile, American Zone final)

Previous longest fifth set in Grand Slam men’s singles: 21-19 – Andy Roddick def. Younes El Aynaoui, 4-6, 7-6, 4-6, 6-4, 21-19 (2003 Australian Open QF)

Previous longest fifth set in Wimbledon men’s singles: 20-18 – Mark Philippoussis def. Sjeng Schalken, 4-6, 6-3, 6-7, 7-6, 20-18 (2000 Wimbledon 3R)

Previous longest men’s singles set at a Grand Slam: 25-23 – John Newcombe def. Marty Riessen, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 25-23 (1969 US Open R16)

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