Tennis-Mathieu sets record as he edges out Isner in epic

Reuters

Thu, 31 May 20:46:00 2012

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Local favourite Paul-Henri Mathieu came out on top in a record 76-game marathon when he beat American 10th seed John Isner 6-7 6-4 6-4 3-6 18-16 in their second-round match on Thursday.

The duo set a French Open record for most games played, surpassing the mark shared by four matches, since tiebreaks were introduced in 1973.

The all time record at Roland Garros was set in 1957 with 83 games played between Australian Robert Mark and Hungary's Antal Jancso.

At five hours 41 minutes, it was also the second longest match played at the claycourt grand slam behind Fabrice Santoro's six hours 33 minute epic win against fellow Frenchman Arnaud Clement.

"I find it hard to realise that I won that match," Mathieu, who came back from a 15-month injury layoff in January and needed a wildcard to play in Paris after his ranking nosedived to 261, told a courtside interviewer.

"Thanks to all those who supported me through hard times," the tearful Frenchman, who reached a career-high rank of 12th in the world in 2008, added. "Of course, I'm tired. I dug into my innermost depths."

Mathieu, who underwent reconstructive knee surgery, is now just one match away from equalling his best performance at Roland Garros.

Isner holds the overall all time record of games played (183) when he beat France's Nicolas Mahut 6-4 3-6 6-7 7-6 70-68 at Wimbledon in 2010 in 11 hours and five minutes in the longest professional tennis match played.

 

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