PARIS, May 31 (Reuters) - American marathon man John Isner soothed the memory of his record-breaking loss at last year's French Open with victory over Ryan Harrison in another five-set epic on Friday.
A year to the day that he lost to local favourite Paul-Henri Mathieu in a 76-game battle, the most ever played in a men's match at Roland Garros, Isner held off young gun Harrison to win 5-7 6-7 (7) 6-3 6-1 8-6 in three hours 50 minutes.
The 19th seed looked to be on the way out after dropping the opening two sets in a second-round match held over from Thursday but struck back to grind down his 21-year-old rival.
After sealing victory, the 28-year-old was bent double after another brutal encounter and clearly relieved after ending a six-match losing sequence in matches going to five sets.
Isner, who faces Tommy Haas next, holds the overall all time record for the longest professional match in history when he beat France's Nicolas Mahut 6-4 3-6 6-7 7-6 70-68 at Wimbledon in 2010. The match lasted 11 hours and five minutes. (Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Mark Meadows)