Haas through as Isner breaks another record
John Isner – wherever he goes, records of longevity lie broken in his wake. He of course won that match at Wimbledon in 2010 against Nicolas Mahut, which set benchmarks in terms of the longest match, set, games (in a set, in a match, won by the winner, won by the loser), aces (individual and total), service games held and points won. But not content with that, he decided to save the bagatelle of 12 match points on Saturday. Alas, it was not enough to defeat Tommy Haas, who finished the match off at the 13th time of asking by the score of 7-5, 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-7(10), 10-8.
Initially, Isner seemed to be feeling the effects of his second-round match which culminated on Friday in a five-set win over fellow American Ryan Harrison. 35-year-old Haas rolled back the years and justified his No.12 seeding and looked to be cruising into the second week, particularly when he got a read on Isner’s service from the deuce court in the 12th game of the fourth set with the giant American serving to stay in the match.
Nine times Haas carved out a match point, and nine times Isner saved it once he was back serving from the Ad court. That was already enough to equal the Grand Slam record of match points saved, but Isner then went on to add another three in the tie-break, including one at 8-7 where Haas agonizingly double-faulted for the ninth time in the match.
Big bad John took the breaker 12-10 and raced into a 3-0 lead in the final set, but the spirit of Mahut was obviously present on No.1 court and we were not about to let this match tail off into a “normal” conclusion. Back Haas came to level matters at 4-4, and after Isner missed a match point of his own at 4-5, 30-40, we went into extra time. At deuce in the 17th game, the American’s arm began to tremble, and seven points later Haas was into the fourth round, as relieved as he was tired, while Isner took the defeat with his customary good grace.
After a day’s rest, the veteran German will take on Mikhail Youzhny, who made it through to the quarter-finals here three years ago en route to his sole foray into the top 10 rankings, is one step away from emulating that last eight appearance after upsetting No.8 seed Janko Tipsarevic. The Russian was solid on both his first and second services, so much so that the Serb did not create a single break point until the third set. Youzhny duly saved them, all three, and rounded out the match with aplomb, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 in four minutes over the two-hour mark.
"At 1-4 down in the fifth, I thought it wasn't looking good," said Haas. "It was crazy - a big rollercoaster with not many thoughts in between. This is a great match to have been a part of, especially against someone who is very used to these kind of matches. Unfortunately someone has to lose, and I think it would have been more upsetting for me having had so many chances to win in the fourth set."