In sports, everyone is a winner—some people just win better than others. Like unseeded Thiemo De Bakker, who was granted a rare Wimbledon bye by being matched up with the injured, exhausted Isner.
The Dutchman dispatched Isner in the straightest of sets — 6-0, 6-3, 6-2 — and did it in just 74 minutes. Somebody check my math, but I think this match was shorter than Isner's 665-minute war of attrition with Nicolas Mahut the day before (and the day before that, and the day before that).
Isner also had exactly 112 less aces than the 112 he had in his previous match, managed to lose his first four service games after not being broken since the second set on Tuesday.
Hero, or freakshow? Court five was filled to capacity with fans looking to catch a glimpse of Isner, who didn't have a shot in hell of winning this one. Sure enough, his neck locked up and he received treatment after the first set, and consulted with a trainer after each game. He reportedly was advised to retire (from the match, not the sport), but soldiered on.
Hope you're proud of yourself, Thiemo De Bakker.
Yeah [I was sympathetic], for sure. I mean, it's tough because, you know, he's struggling. But, yeah, when you're a break down against a guy like him, you never know what's going to happen. You have to be sharp every moment.
Luckily I could take a break in each set pretty fast, so that makes it a lot easier. Yeah, it's hard. I mean, it's tough to retire for him, as well. I mean, he had a great run in the first round, but it's tough to continue when you play 11 hours in a row."
De Bakker could totally have played the "what's the big deal, my last match went 5 sets as well" card. And he totally would have been laughed out of the building. His fifth set "only" went 16-14, and it happened on Tuesday, so he got a couple days off afterward. So this one was like beating a man in the 200m right after he's completed the marathon.
Isner got rousing applause after he bowed out, and is on his way home to sit in a tub of ice until the U.S. Open.