Nadal, Murray advance; Isner ousted at French Open

Rafael Nadal, of Spain, reacts during his match against Denis Istomin, of Uzbekistan, during the...

Rafael Nadal, of Spain, reacts during his match against Denis Istomin, of Uzbekistan, during the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris May 31, 2012. (REUTERS)

SPORTS NETWORK

, Last Updated: 7:40 PM ET

PARIS - Six-time champion Rafael Nadal and three- time Grand Slam runner-up Andy Murray were a pair of winners, while 6-foot-9 American John Isner lost in an epic second-round affair Thursday at the French Open.

The 10th-seeded Isner succumbed to oft-injured Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-7 (2-7), 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 18-16 in a more-than-five hour war of attrition on Court Chatrier.

Mathieu needed seven match points to finally stop Isner, who misfired wide on one final forehand after a grueling 5 hours, 41 minutes of tennis. The fifth set was a French Open-record 2 hours, 28 minutes.

Isner and Mathieu also set a record for the longest one-day match in the history of the French Open. It was also the second-longest ever in the tournament, and not since 1957 had their been a match at Roland Garros with more games played.

The gutsy Isner crushed 41 aces, but also piled up 98 unforced errors (98-40) in a match that had only six service breaks, including four and a match-ending one by the French winner.

The 30-year-old Mathieu had to rally from two sets down in his first-round match here against German Bjorn Phau.

The towering Isner, of course, is best known for beating France's Nicolas Mahut in the longest-ever tennis match two years ago at Wimbledon. Isner needed more than 11 hours over three days to outlast Mahut in an opening-round bout at the All England Club in 2010. A 70-68 fifth set against Mahut lasted more than eight hours.

Isner was the last American man standing in Paris this week.

Meanwhile, the second-seeded former world No. 1 Nadal dropped only four games in a 6-2, 6-2, 6-0 pasting of Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin on Court Lenglen. Nadal dropped only five games in his opening-round win here on Tuesday.

Nadal rolled in 1 hour, 50 minutes and was not broken by the overmatched Istomin.

The amazing Nadal is now 47-1 lifetime on the red clay at Roland Garros, including his Open-Era-record-tying six titles. He's currently the reigning two-time champ, including a victory over Roger Federer in last year's finale.

The 10-time major titlist Nadal lost to Novak Djokovic in the last three Grand Slam finals.

Nadal's third-round opponent here will be Argentine Eduardo Schwank.

The fourth-seeded Murray, meanwhile, received treatments for a bad back and almost retired before recording a 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 come-from-behind victory over Finnish veteran Jarkko Nieminen on Chatrier. The Scot needed 2 hours, 27 minutes to move on.

"I was few points probably from stopping," Murray said. "I just didn't really want to stop the match. Then at the end of the second set I started standing up at the change of ends, and my back started to loosen up a little bit."

Murray, who lost to the great Nadal in his first-ever French Open semifinal here a year ago, has now reached the third round in Paris five straight years.

Up next for the British star will be Colombian Santiago Giraldo, who took out 25th-seeded promising Aussie Bernard Tomic 6-4, 6-1, 6-3.

Fifth-seeded French favorite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga completed a 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory over German Cedrik-Marcel Stebe after their match was suspended because of rain on Wednesday, while sixth-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer whipped Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 to secure a spot in the round of 32 for an eighth consecutive year.

Eighth-seeded Serb Janko Tipsarevic got past France's Jeremy Chardy 7-6 (7-4), 6-1, 7-5, while 12th-seeded Spanish clay-court specialist Nicolas Almagro took care of former Aussie Open runner-up Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus 6-4, 6-3, 7-5, and 13th-seeded gritty Argentine Juan Monaco moved on by handling Czech Lukas Rosol 7-6 (7-4), 6-0, 7-6 (7-5).

Another French victor on Day 5 was nifty 17th seed Richard Gasquet, who overcame talented Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 5-7, 7-5, 6-2, 6-3.

In other second-round action involving seeds, No. 19 Canadian slugger Milos Raonic fired 16 aces in dismissing American Jesse Levine 6-4, 7-5, 6-2; Argentine Leonardo Mayer derailed No. 24 German Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-4), 7-5; No. 27 Russian Mikhail Youzhny topped Dutchman Robin Haase 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4; Italian Fabio Fognini saved two match points before knocking out No. 28 Serb Viktor Troicki 6-2, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 8-6; No. 29 Frenchman Julien Benneteau cruised past Russian Dmitry Tursunov 6-4, 6-4, 6-4; and the aforementioned Schwank drove out No. 32 German Florian Mayer 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 (7-4), 7-6 (7-4). Raonic will meet Monaco in his next outing, while Youzhny will face Ferrer in the round of 32.

Veteran French crowd favorite Arnaud Clement lost to Belgian David Goffin 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 0-6, 6-2, 6-1 in a match that was suspended because of rain Wednesday with Goffin leading 5-1 in the fifth set, while oft-injured former world No. 2 German Tommy Haas moved on with a 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 blitzing of Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky.

The third round will begin on Friday, including matches for the No. 1 Djokovic and third-seeded Federer. The reigning Aussie Open, U.S. Open and Wimbledon champion Djokovic will face France's Nicolas Devilder, while the former No. 1 2009 French Open titlist and four-time Roland Garros runner-up Federer will battle the aforementioned Mahut.

Federer is the all-time men's leader with 16 major titles.

Also on the Day-6 schedule will be the former Aussie Open runner-up Tsonga, seventh-seeded former Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych, and ninth-seeded former U.S. Open champ Juan Martin del Potro.


Videos

Photos