PERTH, Australia – No marathon tennis match this time. John Isner defeated Nicolas Mahut 6-3, 7-6 (5) Monday at the Hopman Cup in the first rematch since their 11-hour epic at Wimbledon.
Isner overcame Mahut in 90 minutes to give the U.S. an insurmountable 2-0 lead over France. The match lasted 9½ hours and 161 games less than their previous record-breaking encounter.
The Wimbledon match, the longest in professional tennis history, stretched over three days and finished at 70-68 in the fifth set.
The 19th-ranked Isner started strong, breaking Mahut immediately and holding firm to take the first set.
Mahut, who replaced the injured Gael Monfils, improved in the second, hitting just four unforced errors to the American's 20. But he could not make any inroads on Isner's serve. In the tiebreaker, Isner converted his opportunity.
"Had I lost that second set it might have gone four hours, so I was lucky to finish it in two," Isner said. "For the first match of the year, I was pretty pleased with how I played.
"I got on top of him early in the first set, he picked up his game in the second, but I stayed the course with mine. I didn't get to break, but fortunately for me I came up with my best serves. It's always an honor to share the court with him."
Later, Isner teamed up with Bethanie Mattek-Sands to secure a 3-0 victory for the United States, beating Mahut and Kristina Mladenovic 2-6, 6-3, 10-8 in the mixed doubles.
Mattek-Sands had given the Americans a 1-0 lead by defeating former top-ranked junior Mladenovic 3-6, 6-3, 6-1. The 56th-ranked Mattek-Sands, dressed in black knee-high socks and basketball shoes, recovered from dropping the opening set against the 301st-ranked opponent.
In the third set, Mladenovic received treatment for a knee injury. Mattek-Sands, who replaced the injured Serena Williams, then cruised to the win.
"She came out crushing the ball," Mattek-Sands said. "She wasn't afraid to come in and take balls on the rise, which is normally my game. Toward the end of the second set and the third, I switched that around and started coming in more."
The U.S. and France are in Group B along with Britain and Italy.
Italy's Potito Starace and Francesca Schiavone defeated Britain's Andy Murray and Laura Robson in the deciding mixed doubles match 6-7 (1), 7-6 (6), 7-6 (2) to advance with a 2-1 win.
Schiavone beat the 16-year-old Robson 7-5, 6-3 in singles to give Italy the early lead before Murray opened with a 7-5, 6-1 win over Starace.