John Isner makes quick work of Nicolas Mahut (LEON NEAL / GETTY IMAGES)

This time, the Wimbledon match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut — two men forever linked by a historic meeting last year — was mercifully and relatively brief.

Isner, the University of Georgia graduate, beat Mahut 7-6 (7-4), 6-2, 7-6 (8-6) in a little over two hours. “Obviously, it wasn’t easy, but it was considerably quicker than last year,” Isner said.

Last year, their match spanned more than 11 hours over three days and Isner won 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3), 70-68. This time, darkness threatened to push completion of the match, which took a little over two hours, to Wednesday. Isner was only too happy to avoid that.

“I was down a break and I was telling myself, if I lose this set, chances are we’re not going to finish this match [today] and everybody was going to start talking about going into the second day and maybe into another third day,” Isner said. “So I definitely wanted to finish it here ... we were running out of daylight. ...

“I’m happy to put this one behind me and obviously I’m a lot fresher for my next match. I was a little fortunate out there. I think his knee [Mahut was wearing a wrap] was bugging him at the end. It’s really, really cold here.”


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