SO LONG TO ADVANTAGE FINAL SETS


This month the quartet of Grand Slam bodies agreed to a universal deciding set format where the Australian Open’s format of a match tiebreak at six-all in the third and fifth sets of men’s and women’s singles matches.

This means that with the change to Roland Garros’ deciding set rules, the advantage final set is now officially a thing of the past.

While this is a welcome change for many tennis fans, players and officials across the world, there is a hefty portion of tennis lovers that will miss the complete and utter drama from an advantage final set.

Let’s have a look back some of the finest examples of five setters that went unbelievably long.

2010 Wimbledon R128 – John Isner def. Nicolas Mahut 6-4 3-6 6-7 7-6 70-68

This match transcended tennis and will never be forgotten.

11 hours, five minutes, three days and one brutal record that will now never be broken.

It just kept going, and going, and going, with both players barely able to move towards the end, but it was Isner who would secure the decisive break at 69-68 in the fifth set.

980 points were played and 216 aces were hit, it was just a war of attrition that has forever etched itself into Grand Slam and tennis history.

2018 Wimbledon SF – Kevin Anderson def. John Isner 7-6 6-7 6-7 6-4 26-24

Eight years after his win over Mahut, Isner was locked in a battle for a place in a Grand Slam final against big hitting South African, Kevin Anderson.

This one went for six hours and 36 minutes, but it wasn’t the quality of the match that made it historic, yes it was good, but the sheer length of the match caused the subsequent semi between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal to be delayed and played over two days.

That one went 10-8 in the fifth to Djokovic, and due to the length of both semifinals, the All England Club made the decision to play a tiebreak at 12-all in all final sets at Wimbledon, people coined the ruling, ‘The John Isner Rule’.

2017 Australian Open R128 – Ivo Karlovic def. Horacio Zeballos 6-7 3-6 7-5 6-2 22-20

This one hits close to home as the longest Australian Open match in terms of games played following the introduction of tiebreakers, and when there is a big server like Ivo Karlovic involved they are bound to happen occasionally.

Losing the first two sets, the Croatian found his serve and forced a decider that would turn into a marathon.

The epic took place on one of the old show courts where Kia Arena now stands, and it will never be forgotten as one of those early round classics that we will never see again.

2021 Roland Garros R64 – Cristian Garin def. Mackenzie McDonald 4-6 4-6 7-6 6-3 8-6

This match is the final men’s advantage fifth set played, and fittingly it was a two set comeback by Chilean Cristian Garin, who would go on to lose in the fourth round to Daniil Medvedev.