Isner v Mahut - Part II
Wimbledon - American John Isner and France's Nicolas Mahut were improbably drawn to face each other in Wimbledon's first round on Friday, in a repeat of their marathon 183-game epic at last year's championships.
Isner and Mahut slogged their way into tennis history last year when their first round duel became the longest match in tennis history, a gruelling 11-hour and five-minute game over three days.
When it was over, Isner had clinched a 6-4 3-6 6-7 (7/9) 7-6 (7/3) 70-68 first-round victory.
Twelve months later and the two journeymen are set to do it all over again when Wimbledon gets under way next week.
Isner is adamant that the records set in last year's match will never be broken.
"It won't happen again," he said. "Not even come close."
Meanwhile, since last year's duel Isner and Mahut have become firm friends.
"Honestly, before Wimbledon, we'd never said one word to each other," Isner said of Mahut.
"Now we text each other quite often and I've got to know that he's a really class act and a really good guy."
Fourth-seeded Andy Murray wrote on Twitter that "Isner vs mahut drawing each other in the first round after last year is the most amazing thing I've seen in tennis! Centre court anyone?!"
Murray will face Daniel Gimeno-Traver of Spain in the first round, and could meet Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals. The second-seeded Serb will first face Jeremy Chardy of France.
Top-seeded defending champion Rafael Nadal was drawn to face Michael Russell of the United States. He could meet six-time champion Roger Federer in the semi-finals. Federer will face Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan in the first round.
In the women's draw, seventh-seeded Serena Williams and big sister Venus Williams are in opposite halves, setting up the possibility for a fifth sibling final at the All England Club.
The sisters have won nine of the past 11 Wimbledon finals. Serena, who has won four, is 3-1 against five-time champion Venus in the final match.
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