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Fields of Glory (IV): Wimbledon Day 4 Preview

Trudging to the locker room after a 16-14 fifth set against Santiago Giraldo, Thiemo De Bakker must have feared that this protracted encounter would leave him at a physical disadvantage against his next opponent, either Isner or Mahut. As all tennis fans know well, such thoughts proved unfounded as the Frenchman and the American shattered virtually every record in every single-match category. In fact, their seven-hour, 118-game final set-in-progress stretched so far beyond the boundaries of credulity that one expects its statistical superlatives to endure forever. Ten hours and 193 aces later, though, what difference does it really make? This first-round battle between two non-contenders stalled the first-week schedule and virtually eliminated both of its participants from sheer exhaustion. Once an advocate of the no-tiebreak format in Slam deciding sets, this match compelled us to reverse our opinion and call for a merciful ending to these inhumane endurance tests well before 50-50, as Kuznetsova whimsically suggested. Surely this fast-paced sport doesn’t deserve such a mind-numbing, kidney-challenging stalemate, which provided a gluttonous serving of generally monotonous tennis. In order to compensate for the difference between the best-of-five and best-of-three formats, perhaps the doubles super tiebreak (first to 10, win by two) could be implemented instead of the conventional first-to-7 structure. At least, Slams could employ such a deadlock-denying tactic in the first week before the marquee stars intersect. A marathon final set between Federer and Roddick in the championship match is a classic, but a marathon final set between Isner and Mahut in the first round is a human rain delay. Here are a handful of Day 4 matches to note while Wimbledon’s Believe It Or Not winds into its eleventh hour of futility.

Click here to read about some of the most scintillating matches on Thursday at Wimbledon!

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