John Isner wins in straight sets
WIMBLEDON, England -- John Isner beat Nicolas Mahut 7-6 (4), 6-2, 7-6 (6) in just over two hours -- a far cry from their 11-hour, 5-minute marathon over three days last year that Isner finally won 70-68 in the fifth set -- to reach the second round at Wimbledon on Tuesday.
After Mahut sailed a forehand long on the second match point in front of a half-empty crowd on Court 3 at 8:30 p.m. local time, the two men -- who became close friends after last year's epic -- shared a warm embrace at the net. Isner dominated this match, breaking three times and finishing with 41 winners to only 10 unforced errors.
"It wasn't easy, but obviously it was considerably quicker than the last time we played," Isner said. "I definitely wanted to finish it here and really glad I am because we were running out of daylight."
Garber: No Marathon
John Isner and Nicolas Mahut needed only nine more hours to equal last year's marathon. But, alas, they fell a tad short, writes Greg Garber. Story
Last year's match was twice suspended by darkness while it was being played on Court 18, which now has a plaque commemorating the occasion.
"I'm actually glad they put us out here on this court," Isner said. "I don't know if they want to tarnish the legacy of Court 18 by playing a second time. Chances are our match today wasn't going to live up to last year's match."
Djokovic, seeded second, didn't play any grass-court warm-up tournaments but showed no sign of rust against the No. 54-ranked Frenchman.
The Serb dropped just two points on serve in the first set and 11 in the entire match. He saved the only break point he faced.
Djokovic could meet Federer in the semifinals. Federer, a six-time Wimbledon champion, is seeking to equal Pete Sampras' seven titles at the All England Club.
"Obviously tying Pete in any stats means you're right up there with maybe the greatest, one of the greatest players of all times, and that's always a nice thing," said Federer, who equaled Sampras' then-record of 14 Grand Slam titles when he won the French Open in 2009. "Winning Wimbledon alone without any records is amazing."
The 16-time Grand Slam champion won five straight titles from 2003 to 2007 but lost in the final to Nadal in 2008. Federer won his sixth Wimbledon title in 2009.
Federer never lost serve, saving all three break points, and won 29 of 31 of his points on serve in the first set. The third-seeded Swiss piled up 53 winners -- 37 more than Kukushkin, who was making his Wimbledon debut.
"The first match at Wimbledon is never easy really because we don't get any practice time on Centre Court," Federer said. "I thought I struggled putting enough returns into play in the first set but I thought he played well. For a set and a half he made it hard for me. I also served really well so I was very pleased with the match."
Federer is playing in his 47th straight major championship, and he has reached the quarterfinals at every one since the 2004 Wimbledon tournament.
In all that time, which includes a record streak of 23 straight semifinal appearances, the Swiss great has rarely been bothered by physical problems.
"I think it has helped me with injuries, yes, that my game is somewhat casual, but in a good way, because I had to work on my casualness," Federer said. "I was very quickly pointed out that if I'm losing I'm not trying, and if I'm winning it's an amazing situation.
"So I had to really tie my game together, make it solid casual, really. I think I was able to do that," he said.
The fifth-seeded Swede lost to eventual champion Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals last year. He won Tuesday despite 44 unforced errors, 11 more than his opponent.
In 2009, Soderling beat Nadal in the fourth round of the French Open and lost to Federer in the final. He again reached the final at Roland Garros in 2010 but lost to Nadal.
The 2009 U.S. Open champion led Cipolla 6-1, 1-3 when rain suspended play Monday. But the 24th-seeded Argentine won 11 of the 15 games played when play resumed Tuesday.
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Roddick didn't have it all his own way on Court 1 against the left-handed Beck, but his serve kept him in control. The three-time runner-up at Wimbledon had 30 aces -- including four in a row to win a game in the first set.
"I feel healthy," Roddick said. "I know what it takes to go deep at this tennis tournament."
Beck had a chance in the second-set tiebreak when he led 5-4 with two serves to come but overhit a backhand and Roddick took advantage.
The eighth-seeded American went on to seal his 11th straight first-round win at Wimbledon. The match was also held over from Monday because of rain.
Other winners included No. 7 David Ferrer, No. 12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, No. 13 Viktor Troicki, No. 15 Gilles Simon, No. 16 Nicolas Almagro, No. 18 Mikhail Youzhny, No. 19 Michael Llodra, No. 21 Fernando Verdasco, No. 22 Alexandr Dolgopolov, No. 23 Janko Tipsarevic, No. 25 Juan Ignacio Chela, No. 26 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, No. 27 Marin Cilic, No. 28 David Nalbandian, No. 29 Nikolay Davydenko, No. 32 Marcos Baghdatis and 2002 Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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