LONDON – Marathon man John Isner is at it again at Wimbledon.
The winner of the longest match in tennis history found himself involved in another never-ending one at the All England Club, tied with reigning U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic at 10-all in the fifth set when their third-round contest was suspended because of darkness Friday night.
They were scheduled to resume Saturday.
In the first round at Wimbledon in 2010, Isner edged Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in the fifth set of a match that lasted 11 hours, 5 minutes, spread over three days. The fifth set alone went more than 8 hours.
That match was interrupted by rain and by darkness — there are no artificial lights on the courts at the All England Club — at Court 18, where a plaque has been placed marking the historic occasion.
By comparison, Isner, an American seeded 17th, and Cilic, a Croatian seeded ninth, have not been out on Court 1 for very much time: 4 hours, 16 minutes.
Cilic had a chance to end it Friday while leading 5-4, holding a match point when Isner served at 30-40. But Cilic put a backhand into the net to extend the proceedings — and neither man managed another break point the rest of the way on Friday.
Both are good servers: Cilic, a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon last year, has accumulated 34 aces so far, Isner 33.
The 6-foot-10 Isner, who led Georgia to an NCAA team championship and now is based in Florida, is trying to reach the fourth round at the grass-court Grand Slam tournament for the first time.
Awaiting the Cilic-Isner winner is Denis Kudla, a wild-card entry from Virginia, who will make his round-of-16 debut at a major after beating Santiago Giraldo of Colombia 6-2, 6-7 (3), 2-6, 6-1, 6-3 on Friday.
If Isner manages to get past Cilic, the matchup against Kudla would be the first between American men in the fourth round at Wimbledon since 1994, when Todd Martin beat Andre Agassi in five sets.
Assuming Cilic and Isner finish things off Saturday, at least the winner would get a chance to rest before facing Kudla on Monday. That's thanks to the traditional day off on the tournament's middle Sunday.
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