Most Aces In a Tennis Match (Top 10 Rankings)

Serving is a critical component of any strong tennis game, and the ability to score off of a serve can be an intense advantage for tennis players at any level. Of course, the pros can really capitalize off of their aces, and here are the top ten matches with the most matches. 

Let’s start by answering the question: 

What is an ace? An ace in tennis is when a player hits a legal serve that isn’t returned, thus scoring the point immediately for the player who is serving. It’s important to note that aces have only been recorded as part of professional statistics since 1991, so all of the matches below are from that time onward. 

However, as tennis has evolved, many old records fall. None of the top ten spots occurred before 2009, and if we discount the top two since it was an incredibly unusual circumstance, seven of the eight top-ten match-ups took place in the late 20-teens.

Here are the 10 players with the most aces in a match:

  1. John Isner – 113 Aces
  2. Nicolas Mahut – 103 Aces
  3. Ivo Karlovic – 78 Aces
  4. Ivo Karlovic – 75 Aces
  5. Reilly Opelka – 67 Aces
  6. John Isner – 64 Aces
  7. Ivo Karlovic – 61 Aces
  8. Ivo Karlovic – 61 Aces
  9. Ivo Karlovic – 59 Aces
  10. Albano Olivetti – 56 Aces

1. John Isner, 113 Aces

  • Match: John Isner vs Nicolas Mahut, Wimbledon 2010

When American John Isner faced off against Frenchman Nicolas Mahut in 2010, the two of them would spend three days breaking all sorts of tennis and Wimbledon records.

One of those records was most aces in a single game, which Isner secured on his way to victory. Mahut also served over 100 aces over the course of their odyssey together on the famed lawns.

2. Nicolas Mahut, 103 Aces

  • Match: John Isner vs Nicolas Mahut, Wimbledon 2010

In fact, the two contenders in that unprecedented 2010 face-off hold the number one and number two records for most aces in a game.

This mammoth tennis encounter led to a rule change in Wimbledon, so this game will likely go down in the annals of history as the longest game ever at Wimbledon.

3. Ivo Karlović, 78 Aces

  • Match: Ivo Karlovic vs Radek Štěpánek, Davis Cup 2009

The gap between first and third place on this list is 35 aces in a match, and the gap between second and third is 25 aces. It’s clear that Mahut and Isner did something incredible in that match, but they’re not the only two who can post super high numbers of aces in a match.

In 2009, Croatian Ivo Karlovic posted an impressive 78 aces against Czech player Radek Štěpánek in the semi-final round of the Davis cup, and he would go on to ultimately lose the match.

4. Ivo Karlović, 75 Aces

  • Match: Ivo Karlovic vs Horacio Zeballos, Australian Open 2017

In fact, Karlović has the impressive feat of holding FIVE spots on the top ten list of most aces in a match.

In 2017, he posted 75 aces on his way to defeat Argentinian Horacio Zeballos in the 2017 Australian Open.

5. Reilly Opelka, 67 Aces

  • Match: Reilly Opelka vs Thomas Fabbiano, Australian Open 2019

Two years later, in the 2019 Australian Open, American Reilly Opelka and Italian Thomas Fabbiano had a second-round match that landed Opelka on this top 10 list, even though he would lose the match. 

6. John Isner, 64 Aces

  • Match: John Isner vs Ruben Bemelmans, Wimbledon 2018

John Isner has perfected the ace. Once again at Wimbledon, he defeated Belgian Ruben Bemelmans in the second round of the 2018 Wimbledon tournament.

No doubt he was glad for the rule change that meant that even with all of those aces, he wouldn’t be stuck in another three-day slugfest.

7. And 8. Ivo Karlovic, 61 Aces

  • Match 1: Ivo Karlovic vs Lu Yen-Hsun, US Open 2016
  • Match 2: Ivo Karlovic vs Jan-Lennard Struff, Wimbledon 2018

Yes, Karlovic has tied himself in spots number 7 and 8. In 2016, he beat the Taiwanese player Lu Yen-Hsun in the first round of the US Open with 61 aces.

The second time was in 2018, he lost in his Wimbledon second round to German Jan-Lennard Struff despite once again scoring 61 aces in a single match. 

9. Ivo Karlovic, 59 Aces

  • Match: Ivo Karlovic vs Kei Nishikori, Australian Open 2019

In the 2019 Australian Open, Karlovic faced off against Kei Nishikori of Japan and landed 59 aces. Even though Karlovic lost the match, it’s clear that none of the spots on this top ten list are safe. 

While it’s unlikely that Karlovic would find himself locked in a head-to-head match that went on long enough to allow him to break the number one and number two spots, since the French Open doesn’t have a tiebreaking procedure in place, it could happen.

10. Albano Olivetti, 56 Aces

  • Match: Albano Olivetti vs Matthew Barton, Wimbledon 2016

Australian Matthew Barton defeated the French player Albano Olivetti in the first round of Wimbledon in 2016, but Olivetti would score 56 aces in their matchup, securing (as of the time of this writing) the tenth-most aces served in a single match.

Just as a note, the difference between the number one and the number ten aces in a single match is more than double. And half of the spots on this list are filled by a single 6’11” Croatian player. 

Honorable Mentions

  • Roger Federer, 50 aces in a Grand Slam final match. 

In 2009, Federer defeated Andy Roddick on the grass courts of Wimbledon, and in that final match, he scored 50 aces, which is an average of ten aces per set. This match featured 77 games, which means that it set another record of being the longest men’s singles final in a major tournament. 

  • Sam Querrey, most consecutive aces (10)

In the quarterfinals of the 2007 Indianapolis tournament, Sam Querrey defeated fellow American James Blake and scored a total of 34 aces in that match.

  • Kristyna Pliskova, 31 Aces In one Match

In 2016, Czech player Kristyna Pliskova lost to Monica Puig, from Puerto Rico, in the second round of the Australian Open despite breaking the women’s record for most aces in a match. Remember, the women played over three sets instead of the men’s five, so while the number is lower, it is still an average of 10 aces per set. 

  • John Isner, seven seasons with 1,000 or more aces

While his number one spot on the top ten list may be a bit inflated due to the strangeness of one Wimbledon match, there is no denying that Isner is one of the ace greats, and he definitely deserves recognition for his immense skill in this part of the game. 

Any player who can serve well enough that their opponent is unable to return it stands to have a considerable advantage in their game. However, as noted in the list above, frequently the player with the most aces in a match can go on to ultimately lose the match.

A tennis match cannot be won or lost on aces alone, but working to score as many aces as possible is certainly an asset to any tennis player’s game.

Also Read: 10 Greatest Tennis Servers of All Time

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