Mahut wins first match since Wimbledon epic
July 08, 2010, Thursday/ 20:53:00
Nicolas Mahut's first match since his record-setting exploits at Wimbledon saw the Frenchman beat Colombia's Alejandro Falla 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 at the Hall of Fame Championships on Tuesday. The loser of a marathon three-day contest against John Isner at the All England Club, Mahut returned to the court for a first-round match on grass in Newport which lasted 83 minutes -- a fraction of his record 11-hour, 5-minute loss at Wimbledon. Along with a tough opponent in Falla, Mahut also had to cope with temperatures reaching the mid-90s to seal his victory. But he told reporters: “Nothing is worse than what I did in Wimbledon. Every match, I pray it will be easier. I can't complain any more.” The Wimbledon match was twice suspended because of darkness before Isner won 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3), 70-68; the 138-game fifth set would itself have been the longest match in tennis history. But there was no danger of another marathon in Newport: The tournament plays three sets, with a tiebreaker. Once again battling the sun -- this time it was blazing, not setting -- Mahut saw off a Colombian who came within three points of eliminating Roger Federer from Wimbledon in the first round. Also advancing were top-seeded Sam Querrey, defending champion Rajeev Ram and fellow Americans Mardy Fish and Denis Kudla.