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Norrie and Clarke split over Wimbledon record near-miss

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LONDON (AP) After being knocked out in the second round of the men’s doubles on Friday, Cameron Norrie and Jay Clarke had contrasting emotions over how close they had come to a Wimbledon record.

The British duo came up short in a three-day, 87-game, 5-hour, 2-minute first-round marathon against Hans Podlipnik-Castillo of Chile and his Argentine partner Marcelo Arevalo.

The 6-4, 6-7 (5), 5-7, 6-4, 22-20 scoreline left the match tied for the fifth-most games in men’s doubles at Wimbledon, 15 short of the 102 played when Marcelo Melo and Andre Sa defeated Kevin Ullyett and Paul Hanley 28-26 in the fifth set of their second-round encounter in 2007.

Norrie, ranked 75 in singles, doesn’t take doubles “too seriously”, but was down after being told how close they had come to topping the long-match list.

“It’s tough we just missed the record,” he said.

Clarke, who spoke later after returning to the court to win a first-round mixed doubles match alongside fellow British player Harriet Dart, held a different view.

“We will happily settle for this loss rather than 27-29 or something,” Clarke said. “I wouldn’t have enjoyed going that long. This match was long enough.”

Having started on Wednesday evening, the encounter resumed late on Thursday and was suspended once more with Norrie and Clarke leading 4-3 in the fourth set.

The British pair saved eight match points, before the fifth set finally came to an end after 2 hours and 24 minutes.

“I thought it was pretty poor scheduling,” said Norrie, who felt the match should have resumed earlier on Thursday.

Melo was also in men’s doubles action on Friday, as he and Lukasz Kubot made a second-round exit.

The Brazilian was happy to have held on to his record.

“Only at Wimbledon can this happen,” said Melo, referencing the fact the other three Grand Slams have made men’s doubles best of three sets. “That’s why I love to play here.”

Those doubles tussles pale in comparison to Wimbledon’s longest-ever match.

It took John Isner 183 games to defeat Nicolas Mahut in a 2010 first-round men’s singles clash. The American player prevailed 70-68 in the fifth set after 11 hours and five minutes.

Norrie said he was thinking about Isner and Mahut as his match went on, and also the possibility of a plaque like the one on Court 18 that commemorates their encounter.

“That would have been nice,” Norrie said

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Benedetti wins 12th stage; Polanc takes Giro lead

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PINEROLO, Italy (AP) Cesare Benedetti won the 12th stage of the Giro d’Italia on Thursday for his first victory as a professional while Jan Polanc took the overall leader’s pink jersey from UAE Emirates teammate Valerio Conti.

Benedetti, an Italian with the Bora team who has been a support rider for his entire career, was part of an early breakaway then accelerated from a select group of riders in a sprint finish.

“I’ve worked a lot for the others in the past but today I got my opportunity,” Benedetti said. “I’m not (usually) a winner.”

Benedetti required 3 hours, 41 minutes to complete the 158-kilometer (98-mile) leg from Cuneo to Pinerolo, which featured one major climb and another shorter but steeper ascent just before the finish.

Damiano Caruso crossed second and Eddie Dunbar came third, each with the same time as Benedetti. Polanc, a Slovenian who was also in the breakaway, finished 25 seconds behind.

In the overall standings, Polanc leads Primoz Roglic by 4 minutes, 7 seconds. Vincenzo Nibali, one of the pre-race favorites, is fifth overall, 5:51 behind.

“It was a team tactic that I would go in the breakaway so we could have a better control over the race,” Polanc said. “It was also a way to keep the pink jersey in the team.”

Mikel Landa and Miguel Angel Lopez attacked on the first-category climb to Montoso and gained about 30 seconds on the other overall favorites.

Before the stage began, sprinters Caleb Ewan and Elia Viviani withdrew from the race. Ewan won two stages, including the 11th leg a day earlier, while Viviani posted three second-place finishes.

Stage 13 on Friday is one of the race’s toughest, with two category one climbs and one category ascent, along with an uphill finish at the end of the 196-kilometer leg from Pinerolo to Ceresole Reale.

The Giro ends June 2 in Verona.

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Tsonga rallies past qualifier to reach quarterfinals in Lyon

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LYON, France (AP) Former champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga rallied past Canadian qualifier Steven Diez on Wednesday to reach the quarterfinals and extend his perfect record at the Lyon Open.

Tsonga, the 2017 champion, came within two points of losing but finally prevailed 3-6, 7-6 (2), 6-3 on his sixth match point after 2 hours, 42 minutes.

The clay-court event serves as a warmup for the French Open, which starts Sunday in Paris.

“It was good for me to play a long match like this,” Tsonga said. “I haven’t played a match this long for a while. I am not playing my best level, but I am giving everything mentally and that gives me confidence.”

Tsonga will next take on top-seeded Nikoloz Basilashvili, who beat lucky loser Tristan Lamasine 7-5, 7-5.

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