- Associated Press - Thursday, June 23, 2011

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND (AP) - A year ago, John Isner could blame _ with good reason _ his second-round loss at Wimbledon on being wiped out after playing the longest match in tennis history in the first round.

No such excuse this time.

Isner exited in the second round at the All England Club for the second year in a row, losing to 16th-seeded Nicolas Almagro of Spain 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5), 6-7 (5), 6-3 on Thursday.

The unseeded American lost despite hitting 28 aces on Court 18. That was the site of Isner’s record-breaking, 11-hour, 5-minute victory over Nicolas Mahut in 2010, a match that ended 70-68 in the fifth set.

“It’s the same as any other court, but it was a bit weird out there,” Isner said. “I felt I had a lot of support out there, but I just couldn’t pull it out for them.”

In this year’s first round, Isner beat Mahut again, only this time it only took three sets and about two hours.

Against Almagro, Isner never earned a single break point all match. Almagro earned the only service break to go ahead 2-0 in the fourth set.

Almagro had 63 winners and only 14 unforced errors. He finished with 25 aces.

“It felt like he matched me, serve for serve,” Isner said. “I knew going into the match that he had a really good serve and was going to get a lot of free points. But I didn’t really expect that, to be honest.”

Isner fell to 11-14 in 2011, and the best he’s done at any tournament is reaching the quarterfinals at Auckland and Houston.

His ranking has fallen from 19th at the start of the year to 47th currently, his worst spot since September 2009.

“It’s disappointing, to be honest,” Isner said. “It hasn’t been a great year. It’s tough, and I wish I knew exactly where and what went wrong. But I’ll be fine. I’ll find my way.”

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