Wednesday, June 23, 2010

In-Game Alert: Isner vs. Mahut

If you're able, go find some Wimbledon coverage. Jon Isner is all knotted up at 43-43 against Nicolas Mahut in the fifth.

You read that right.

Match time approaching 8 hours. Isner has 85 aces and is 73 of 112 net points. Serving at 73 percent.


Update: The decision to suspend play was exactly right. You don't want a match--particularly a historical epic like this one--to be decided by low-light. (Which is a problem not just for the players, but for the linesmen.) Mahut shouldn't have had to ask for it, though. I would have hoped that the tournament referee would have been thinking through the decision since about 50-50.

The stats on the match are really impressive. Isner served at 74 percent for the affair so far. Both players are something like +170 on winners/unforced errors. Only 2 breaks of serve total (none since the second set) and only 16 total break chances. That's pretty clean tennis for a couple of guys who must be about to drop for exhaustion.

My default setting is to root for Isner. But after watching Mahut give up his body on those two ridiculous dives--who dives on the baseline?--his fighting spirit and reckless disregard for injury were mighty impressive. Isner was clearly trying to manage his service games and coast where he could. Mahut was fighting for every point. God bless the both of them.

It will be terrible to see someone lose tomorrow. I'm reminded of something the great Dikembe Mutombo said during Game 7 of the 1994 Finals. During half-time, Mutombo was asked about Ewing and Olajuwon and Deke said (I'm quoting from memory, so this may not be quite right), "It it like seeing two great men in the desert who come upon a glass of water and you wish so badly that they both could drink."

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