Australians win marathon match: Tennis

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The Independent Online
Australian Open history was made in Melbourne yesterday when the final set of a men's doubles match lasted 56 games in a match that, including rain breaks, took more than seven hours to complete. One of the breaks came with the score at 25-25.

The Australians Jon Ireland and Wayne Arthurs beat the Italian pair of Cristian Brandi and Filippo Messori, 6-3, 3-6, 29-27, with the last set the longest in the event's history, eclipsing a 23-21 deciding set in 1990 won by Pieter Aldrich and Danie Visser who went on to win the title.

An exhausted Ireland said: "That was the most exciting match I have ever played in my life."

The first-round match, played on an obscure outside court, was still a long way from rivalling a quarter-final in the US Indoor Championship in 1968 between Britain's Mark Cox and Bobby Wilson and the Americans Ron Holmberg and Charlie Pasarell, which totalled 144 games. That in turn fell short of the world record of 147 games - 3-6, 49-47, 22-20 - at a 1967 invitational at Newport, Rhode Island.

The longest set in tennis' open era, 39-37, came in the 1973 Davis Cup American zone final between America and Chile. The longest set in a Grand Slam tournament, 32-20, was at Wimbledon in 1968.

Aggressive Henman, page 26

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