Thursday 19 October 2017

Tennis: Marathon man Isner thrashed in sprint

John Isner's record-breaking first-round match took its toll today as he crashed out of Wimbledon in ignominious fashion.

The 25-year-old American looked completely drained of energy from his marathon triumph over Nicolas Mahut as he lost 6-0 6-3 6-2 to Dutchman Thiemo De Bakker, a player 30 places below him in the world rankings.

Less than 24 hours after playing his part in the longest match in tennis history - comprising 183 games - Isner's clash with De Bakker was all over after just 25 games, the shortest of the men's singles at Wimbledon so far this year.

And, after being on court for a record 11 hours and five minutes spread over three days against Mahut, the 23rd seed was beaten in just an hour and 14 minutes today.

It was a major anti-climax for the crowd packed onto Court Five who gave Isner a standing ovation on his arrival but were left with little to cheer once the match got under way.

The 6ft 9in American produced a mammoth 112 aces against his French opponent but today could not summon the energy to find even one.

His demeanour from the start did nothing to encourage his new army of fans.

With his head bowed and shoulders hunched at every missed shot, he resembled the figure that struggled to combat fatigue on Court 18 on Wednesday, only this time there was no adrenaline to draw on.

De Bakker, on the other hand, opened with an ace and, with a full day to recover from his own epic first-round match against Santiago Giraldo, was bouncing around the court.

Isner won only eight points in the first set, which was all over in just 16 minutes, and he responded to the crisis by calling for a medical time-out to have his neck and shoulders massaged at court-side.

The running repairs clearly had little effect, although he managed to hold serve three times in the second set to give himself an outside hope.

But De Bakker produced consecutive love service games to slam the door shut and Isner could not force a single break point in the match.

Isner did save two match points, but the end came as a merciful relief as he trooped off court for much-needed rest and recuperation.

Press Association

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