Marathon man Isner out as Belgians set up clash

London: Marathon man John Isner was knocked out of Wimbledon in straight sets on Friday, after playing the longest ever match, as comeback queens Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin set up a fourth-round clash.

Isner dragged his battered body back to the All England Club for his second round match after his epic, record-shattering encounter with French qualifier Nicolas Mahut, and was given a standing ovation on Court Five.

The American 23rd seed eventually won 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7/9), 7-6 (7/3), 70-68 on Thursday after 11 hours and five minutes and an incredible 183 games, comfortably breaking the longest match records for games and duration.

However, less than 20 hours after the extraordinary duel finished, Isner was clearly feeling the strain, losing 6-0, 6-3, 6-2 to Thiemo de Bakker of the Netherlands.

Isner had rained down a world record 112 aces against Mahut but could not even produce one against De Bakker.

"It`s tough because you know he`s struggling," the Dutch number one said.

"In the second set, he was trying a little bit better, in the third also."

Meanwhile Belgian duo Clijsters and Henin set up a fourth-round encounter after they both saw off Russian seeds in straight sets.

The former world number ones have unfinished business at the All England Club, where they are both seeking to add the Wimbledon crown to their already impressive list of titles after coming out of retirement.

On Clijsters` last appearance at Wimbledon in 2006, she was beaten by Henin in the semi-finals.

"We`ve had some really tough matches so far this year and some really good and fun matches," Clijsters said on the prospect of facing Henin again.

"Against someone like Justine... you have to bring your best if you want to have a chance to win."

Clijsters, the eighth seed, was the first person through to round four after brushing aside 27th seed Maria Kirilenko 6-3, 6-3 on Court Two.

Kirilenko broke in the second set but Clijsters broke straight back and marched on to complete the match.

Henin, the 17th seed, made her first appearance back on Centre Court since coming out of retirement. She last contested Wimbledon in 2007.

The seven-times Grand Slam winner defeated 12th seed Nadia Petrova 6-1, 6-4.

In the men`s draw, Serbian third seed Novak Djokovic downed Spain`s Albert Montanes, the 28th seed, in straight sets, winning 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.

"I was a little bit frustrated with my return, which is usually one of my weapons in the game," said the 2008 Australian Open winner, who made the 2007 semi-finals here.

"It hasn`t been the best four or five months for me but I`m still holding on."

He next faces the winner out of Australia`s 2002 Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt and Gael Monfils of France, the 2004 junior champion here.

Djokovic`s compatriot and women`s fourth seed Jelena Jankovic beat Ukraine`s 28th-seeded Alona Bondarenko 6-0, 6-3. She has reached the Wimbledon fourth round three times before but has never made the quarter-finals.

French 11th seed Marion Bartoli, the beaten finalist in 2007, put out Hungarian qualifier Greta Arn 6-3, 6-4 to move into the fourth round.

Later, men`s defending champion Roger Federer, who had lunch with Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday when she visited the All England Club, was up against Frenchman Arnaud Clement.

Five-times Wimbledon champion Venus Williams, who also ate strawberries and cream with Her Majesty, was to face Russian seed Alisa Kleybanova.

In the men`s draw, fifth seed Andy Roddick, three times a beaten Wimbledon finalist, was to take on Germany`s Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Bureau Report

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