Tennis

Isner wins Mahut rematch in just 2 hours

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Richard Evans

Richard Evans has covered tennis since the 1960s, reporting on more than 150 Grand Slams. He is author of 15 books, including the official history of the Davis Cup and the unofficial history of the modern game in "Open Tennis." Follow him on Twitter.

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LONDON

There was a difference of 9 hours and one minute, but the result was the same — John Isner beat Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon.

A historic marathon that had stretched over three days and had taken 183 games to settle 12 months ago was over in just two hours and four minutes (7-6, 6-2, 7-6).

Nicholas Mahut John Isner

ISNER-MAHUT RIVALRY

It was the match that wouldn't end in 2010, and the rematch ended in a hurry in 2011. Check out the sights from the Isner-Mahut clashes.

Mahut may have been hampered to some extent by a knee problem, but after a tense first set, Isner served too well even though the ace count — like every other stat — looked puny in comparison with last year. Sixteen this time; 113 before.

"I am really thrilled to have won that third set," said Isner, coming into press conference at 9:30 p.m. local time. "I was worried we were going to have to come back tomorrow! Now I have a whole day just to practice before playing Nicolas Almagro. Last year I was just relieved to get it over, but the worse thing was that I knew I would have no shot in my next match. My body just couldn't take it. Now I feel fine."

Isner admitted that Mahut, who has become a good friend after their names were entwined in the history books, was the last person he wanted to play this year. "It stinks that one of us had to go home," he said. "It's tough for him, but he has nothing to hang his head about. He fought just as hard today as he did last year."

Nicholas Mahut

MAHUT'S RATE GOES UP

He may have lost the rematch against John Isner at Wimbledon on Tuesday, but there is a bright side for Nicolas Mahut. Check out this amusing tweet from CNBC's Darren Rovell:

"Isner beats Mahut in 3. Mahut earns $152.99 per minute. Last year he earned $25.24 per minute."

The 2010 duel still looks like a misprint when you see it written down. 70-68 in the fifth set. Ridiculous. How could that be? But it happened and today, despite the absurd odds of them having to play each other again, there was absolutely no chance of a repeat.

Maria Sharapova enhanced the growing feeling that she is one of the favorites to take the title here this year with a 6-2, 6-1 obliteration of her countrywoman Anna Chakvetadze.

Ever since winning Rome last month, Sharapova has started to look like the player she was before shoulder surgery. The success at the Foro Italico came as something of a surprise because clay has not been considered her best surface. Now, on the grass courts that brought her the Wimbledon crown at the age of 17, the wiser and more powerful Russian is looking even more commanding, and someone is going to have to play exceptionally well to stop her.

Obviously, winning another Slam is her main ambition, but after so long out of the game, Sharapova is putting everything in perspective: "If you want something so bad that you can't sleep over it, then where is that going to get you?"

2011 US Open

2011 US Open

Check out all the action from New York.

Unhappily for Melanie Oudin, Ana Ivanovic was another Grand Slam winner who was able to blast her way into the second round. The Serb who won the French Open before her career went into decline hit Oudin off the court 6-0, 6-1. Coco Vandeweghe was another American casualty. She lost 6-4, 6-4 to the experienced Greek wild card Eleni Daniilidou.

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