Rematch: Isner needs just 3 sets to beat Mahut

WIMBLEDON, England — The rematch of the longest match in tennis history certainly was a lot shorter.

A year after needing 11 hours, 5 minutes spread over three days to finish a match that ended 70-68 in the fifth set, John Isner required only about two hours and a mere three sets to beat Nicolas Mahut in the first round at Wimbledon this time.

Isner won 7-6 (4), 6-2, 7-6 (6) Tuesday.

"It wasn't easy," he said, "but obviously it was considerably quicker than the last time we played."

Isner, of Tampa, Fla., also won their first-round marathon at the All England Club in 2010, when play twice was suspended by darkness and the match shattered all sorts of records, including for most time on court, most total games, longest set and most aces.

"Nothing's going to live up to that match," Isner said.

Last year, they played 183 games. This year, 34.

Last year, the fifth set alone lasted more than eight hours. This year, the total match time was 2:03.

Last year, Isner hit 113 aces, and Mahut 103. This year, each man finished with eight.

Last year, the match featured twists and turns and required all manner of physical and emotional stamina. Not so Tuesday.

Asked about the original, Isner said: "I don't know if those are good memories. Long, long memories."

Understandably, that match sapped Isner of all his energy and left him barely able to move. He lost his 2010 second-round match in straight sets.

"It's a huge relief. I'm happy to put this one behind me," Isner said Tuesday. "Obviously I'm a lot fresher for my next match."

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