JUNE 23 2010 20:57h

Longest match record smashed at Wimbledon

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Tennis history was made at Wimbledon on Wednesday as France's Nicolas Mahut and John Isner of the United States shattered the record for the longest-ever match. They surpassed the previous time of six hours and 33 minutes set at the 2004 French Open, when Fabrice Santoro beat fellow Frenchman Arnaud Clement 6-4, 6-3, 6-7, 3-6, 16-14.

- It is reasonable to say that it is the longest official tennis match in history- International Tennis Federation spokesman Nick Imison told AFP, adding that it was certainly the longest in the Open Era records.

The pair had gone past the eight-hour mark as they tussled at 45-45 in the final set of a match carried over-.--.- from Tuesday, when they managed to complete the first four sets before sunset stopped them. Isner won the first set 6-4, Mahut won the second 6-3 and the third 7-6 (9/7), before Isner won the fourth set 7-6 (7/3). Tennis fans packed out the 782-capacity Court 18, with people lining the roof of the Wimbledon broadcasting centre several deep and fans outside peering through gaps to catch a glimpse of the epic match.

Other records also tumbled in the duel

Grasscourt specialist Mahut and 23rd seed Isner beat the record for the most games in a match, which stood at 112 in singles and 122 in doubles. The singles record was here at Wimbledon in the first round in 1969. Pancho Gonzales beat his fellow American Charlie Pasarell 22-24, 1-6, 16-14, 6-3, 11-9. That match lasted five hours and 12 minutes -- now the third-longest ever singles match at Wimbledon.

The previous longest singles match at the All England Club in terms of time was five hours and 28 minutes, set in 1989 in a second-round contest between Greg Holmes and Todd Witsken of the United States. And the former record for the longest match of any kind at Wimbledon was six hours and nine minutes, set in the 2006 men's doubles quarter-finals.

The record number of aces served by one player in a match AFP-.--.-

Croatian Ivo Karlovic held the previous mark, having hit 78 aces in a Davis Cup match in 2009. The previous record longest set at Wimbledon was 62 games, set in a men's doubles match in 1968. The winner will face Dutchman Thiemo de Bakker in the second round. De Bakker beat Colombia's Santiago Giraldo 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 6-3, 5-7, 16-14 in another marathon match carried over from Tuesday.

Mahut is no stranger to epic encounters, having gone through one just to qualify for Wimbledon. In the second round of the three qualifying rounds last week, Mahut beat British number two Alex Bogdanovic 3-6, 6-3, 24-22. Isner was scheduled to play later in the doubles too.