John Isner pulled it out at Wimbledon, but this one at the French Open was beyond him.
At 9:12 p.m. Paris time Thursday, in the gathering gloom of the Philippe Chatrier Center Court, Isner hit a forehand fractionally wide on the sixth match point he was being asked to save. The victory, after 5 hours, 41 minutes, went to wild card Paul-Henri Mathieu, a Frenchman who knows all about the pain of losing marathons.
Isner, who took 11 hours, 5 minutes, to beat another Frenchman, Nicolas Mahut, in a record-smashing match two years ago at Wimbledon, went down 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 18-16 in a second-round duel that broke the French Open record for most games played in a fifth set.
"I can't believe I won that match," Mathieu said. "I was just fighting, and I am so happy to win on this court in front of these fans."
It has been a long 10 years since Mathieu suffered the humiliation of losing a two-set lead in the fifth rubber of a Davis Cup final against Russia a...