John Isner is one of the oldest players in the Roland Garros draw. The 38-year-old American showed up in Paris for the 14th and maybe the last time. In his first match since Houston, John embraced a thrilling 6-4, 5-7, 7-6, 4-6, 7-6 loss to Nuno Borges in three hours and 58 minutes!
The veteran gave his everything against the younger rival, blasting 38 aces and overcoming a massive deficit in the decider to force a match tie break. John made one last push from 8-4 down, climbing back to 9-9 and standing two points away from the finish line.
However, Borges claimed the final two points to emerge at the top and send the American home. Borges played better behind the second serve, although he lost serve four times and delivered three breaks from ten opportunities.
John had a slight advantage in the shortest rallies up to four strokes, and Nuno erased it in the mid-range and the most extended ones to prevail. They needed only half an hour to wrap up the opening set.
John Isner fell to Nuno Borges after almost four hours at Roland Garros.
The Portuguese barely lost a point behind the initial shot and kept the pressure on the other side. He broke Isner in the third game and held at love in the next one with a service winner for 3-1. Borges served for the set at 5-4 and held at 30 after Isner's loose backhand to grab the opener and gain a boost.
The American served well in the second set and gave his opponent no break chances. Nuno survived deuces at 4-5 and served to stay in the set for the second time in game 12. The Portuguese hit a double fault to lose serve and hand the set to his rival 7-5.
They played well behind the initial shot in the opening six games before Borges grabbed a break at 3-3 after Isner's volley mistake. Nuno served for the set in game ten and squandered two set points. Isner stayed competitive and seized the third break chance to level the score at 5-5 and increase the drama.
The set went into a tie break, and Borges grabbed it 7-3 after Isner's forehand error to build two sets to one advantage. John delivered a break in the third game and saved a break point in the next one to confirm the advantage.
The American clinched the set with a service winner at 5-4 to introduce a decider after three hours. Borges shifted into a higher gear, producing one good hold after another and delivering a break at love in game four to build the advantage.
Nuno served for the victory at 5-3 and experienced a break at 15 after John's backhand down the line winner. Isner played against three match points in the tenth game and denied them with winners. He held, and they introduced the deciding match tie break after two fine holds.
Borges led 8-4 and 9-7 before Isner climbed back to 9-9, saving five match points and giving his everything. The American hit a costly double fault in the 19th point, and the Portuguese prevailed 11-9 after a forehand down the line winner.
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