Wimbledon 2018: John Isner survives massive scare against Ruben Bemelman to win 5-setter in second round
Isner led two sets to love and held a match point in the third set but the 105th-ranked Bemelmans stormed back to win two tiebreaks and level the match before rain intervened
London: John Isner almost snatched defeat from the jaws of victory but survived to beat Belgian qualifier Ruben Bemelman in a delayed second-round match at Wimbledon on Thursday.
The American ninth seed eventually won 6-1 6-4 6-7(3) 6-7(6) 7-5 but he came desperately close to another Wimbledon failure.
On Wednesday, he led two sets to love and held a match point in the third set but the 105th-ranked Bemelmans stormed back to win two tiebreaks and level the match before rain intervened.
On the resumption Bemelmans came close to a big shock when Isner served at 4-5 and trailed 15-40 but he saved both match points with booming aces, two of the 64 he sent down — the fourth highest total ever at Wimbledon.
Bemelmans tightened up at 4-5 and double-faulted on the way to being broken and Isner wrapped up victory, despite facing a break point, in the following game as he forced an error.
Isner now has the chance to record his best Wimbledon performance, having never been past the third round.
To achieve that he will have to get past Moldovan Radu Albot who beat Slovenian Aljaz Bedene in five sets.
Last year's French Open was delayed by four months and held in September and October instead of its longstanding May-June slot.
A statement from Tennis Canada said Challenger events in Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Granby, Vancouver, Calgary and Fredericton had all been scrapped due to "repercussions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic."
If the 74 unforced errors were not incriminating enough, Paire's latest post-mortem on tennis in a world of Covid-19 was as explosive as ever.