Not since 1926 had only one American made it to the third round of the men’s singles at Wimbledon so when Bobby Reynolds stepped out on court against Spaniard Feliciano Lopez he was making history - or at least trying to prevent the present day getting any worse for his homeland. But his bid to make it to the fourth round was dashed by the number 31 seed, who produced breathtaking textbook tennis to seal a 6-4, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 victory.
The match was always going to be a challenge for Reynolds, ranked 102 in the world. Lopez reached the quarter-finals here just two years ago, before bowing out to Lleyton Hewitt, and today he displayed flashes of the outstanding form that helped him put together that surprising run..
During the first set, the 26-year-old Spaniard convincingly won his service games and always threatened Reynolds'. The breakthrough came at 4-4 when Lopez took his third break point opportunity to nose ahead, much to the delight of a noisy pro-Spanish Court 18 crowd.
As the light started to deteriorate, the gloom also crept into Reynolds' mood and the following game saw him question the umpire over a Lopez groundstroke that landed plum inside the line. He promptly lost the game and the first set in 30 minutes.
At 5-5 in the second Lopez produced beautiful grass court tennis to race to a 40-0 lead on his opponent's serve. A blistering left-handed crosscourt winner enabled the Spaniard to edge ahead again and eventually claim the second set 7-5.
However, the spirits of the American fans were lifted, albeit briefly, when the American 25-year-old scooped the third. But after 24 aces and 57 winners, it was Lopez who emerged the victor, moving comfortably into the fourth round.
Speaking after the match, Reynolds rubbished the claim that US tennis was in dire straits but added that out of nine or ten American men in in the main draw, he didn't expect to be the last one in the third round.
And with Patrick McEnroe now leading US player development, he believes the future is bright. "He's only been in there two months or so, so obviously he's very well established. I think good things will happen from him being at the top and filtering on down."