They came from all corners — at least in the elbow-room-only press seats — to witness not so much a match between the world No. 47 and world No. 94 as a sui generis sporting oddity.
John Isner versus Nicolas Mahut, or Isner-Mahut II: The Much Quicker Sequel was, if not the match of the day at Wimbledon, then certainly the most notable of happenings, perhaps even the most eagerly awaited meeting between two journeyman middle-rankers.
In the event Isner ran out an almost bathetically straightforward 7-6, 6-2, 7-6 winner, 149 games and a full nine hours shorter than last time around.
There were only flickering echoes of last year's epic around Court Three. Albeit, it was in keeping with the slow-burn drama of that famous meeting between these two men on Court 18 last year - a three-day event settled 70-68 in Isner's favour in the final set - that this rematch began not with a crackle of expectation but with the most low-key of welcomes.
Isner took control of the match by winning the first-set and Mahut never looked like fighting back in a subdued atmosphere on a windy Court Three. The Guardian