U.S. men persevere at Wimbledon as John Isner goes to fifth set

At the end of a long and eventful day at Wimbledon Friday, the U.S. men had one and a half men still contending in the singles draw. Not that bad, considering only seven had made it in the first place.

Leading the way, so far, was unheralded wild-card entry Denis Kudla, who made his way into the round of 16 of a major for the first time.

The Fairfax, Va., player beat Santiago Giraldo of Colombia, 6-2, 6-7 (3), 2-6, 6-1, 6-3.

Kudla left the Wimbledon grounds not knowing who his next opponent would be. So did everybody else.

Kudla will next face the winner of the Marin Cilic-John Isner match, and that's where the half player comes into play.

Cilic, last year's U.S. Open champion, seeded ninth here, and a big server at 6 feet 6, and Isner, seeded 17th and 6-10, played for 4 hours 16 minutes and were tied at 10-10 in the fifth set when daylight ran out.

Wimbledon plays no fifth-set tiebreakers, so the players will carry on Saturday. Isner was involved in the longest match played here, or anywhere, with an 11-hour 5-minute victory, over three days, against Nicholas Mahut in 2010. Isner won that fifth set, 70-68.

Isner-Cilic was a typical Wimbledon big-server match, one of those that always seems to be in search of a break point. There were few in this one, with three of the first four sets going to a tiebreaker and Cilic winning the other set, the third, 6-4.

Cruising along, and probably oblivious to all this, was top-seeded Novak Djokovic, who beat Bernard Tomic of Australia, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.

Also in cruise control was women's No. 4 Maria Sharapova of Russia, a former champion here, who finished off Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania, 6-4, 6-3.

The U.S. women's prospects had a mixed day.

San Diego's CoCo Vandeweghe pulled a stunner on former U.S. Open champion Samantha Stosur. Vandeweghe, of the well-known basketball Vandeweghe family, won, 6-2, 6-0.

Sloane Stephens, more fading of late than up-and-coming, started fast against Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic, but faltered, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.

The Bryan brothers, Bob and Mike of Camarillo, the top-seeded men's doubles team, got past two other U.S. players, defeating Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey, 6-1, 5-7, 7-6 (3), 6-3.

Top contenders Milos Raonic of Canada and Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria were ousted. Raonic lost to young Australian Nick Kyrgios and Dimitrov to French veteran Richard Gasquet.

Last year, Kyrgios eliminated Rafael Nadal in the fourth round.

bill.dwyre@LATimes.com

Twitter: @DwyreLATimes

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