London, England (CNN) — You can only imagine what they felt like when the woke up the next morning.
The epic final set between American John Isner and France’s Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon — which finished 70 games to 68 Thursday — has ripped up the game’s record books. The set alone is longer than any match in Wimbledon’s history.
But Isner and Mahut will have to go some way to match CNN’s 10 epic sporting battles. They aren’t playing with broken hands, after all…
Chess: Anatoly Karpov vs. Garry Kasparov (1984)
When the reigning world champion Anatoly Karpov sat down at the 1984 World Chess Championships to play the young, brash Garry Kasparov it was much more than a simple game of chess.
For many this epic, Cold War match-up defined the struggles between reformists and hardliners at the heart of the Soviet Union; the regime represented by Karpov, the reformists by the boy from Baku. Little did they know that the match would last for months. Karpov quickly took a 3-0 lead before Kasparov decided on a different approach: grinding down his opponent.
Kasparov ground out 40 draws in a bid to tire his opponent until the match was abandoned at 5-3.
Table tennis: Alex Ehrlich vs. Paneth Farcas (1936)
Polish table tennis legend Alex Ehrlich and his Romanian counterpart Paneth Farcas played out arguably one of the most astonishing points in any racket sport: the opening rally of their World Championship match lasted for two hours and twelve minutes, the ball crossing the net over 12,000 times.
With both players staunchly refusing to press for a winner, the International Table Tennis Federation held an emergency meeting whilst the point was being played. They returned to the match to find that Ehrlich had started a game of chess with his trainer whilst still playing the point.
The Pole won the point but the match was abandoned after the referee’s neck locked. “But I have rook for knight and a winning position,” Ehrlich drolly replied.
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