ISNER BOOKS PLACE IN THIRD ROUND
ON FRENCH OPEN DAY 5
Ashley Marshall | June 1, 2017
Big-serving John Isner carried the U.S. flag in Paris on Day 5 of the French Open, where he remains on a fourth-round collision course with world No. 1 Andy Murray.
Isner defeated Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi, 6-3, 7-6, 7-6, in a little over two hours to advance to the third round.
The North Carolina native hit 21 aces, won 85 percent of the points on his first serve and saved the only two break points he faced. His victory ensures there are seven Americans in the third round – two on the men’s side in addition to the five women who progressed Wednesday.
Opportunities for either Isner or Lorenzi to take a stranglehold on the match were few and far between. In fact, there was only one break of serve in the entire match, with Isner converting his third break point of the eighth game to help propel him to a 32-minute opening set.
A dozen consecutive holds forced a second-set tiebreak, which Isner won, 7-3, while 12 more holds in the third set led to a second breaker, which Isner claimed, 7-2.
The win moves Isner into the third round in Paris for the fourth time in five years and for the fifth time in his career. He has reached the fourth round twice, in 2014 and 2016, but he has never gone that deep at the same major in consecutive years.
Isner’s best Grand Slam performance came at the 2011 US Open, where he reached the quarterfinals.
The 32-year-old has a good chance to continue his run at Roland Garros in the next round where he’ll face up-and-coming Russian world No. 53 Karen Khachanov, who upset 13th-seeded Tomas Berdych in straight sets. The winner of that matchup would meet either top seed Murray or No. 29 seed Juan Martin del Potro in the round of 16.
While Isner is not considered a clay-courter, he’s no stranger to big wins on the surface. He defeated Nicolas Almagro in 2013 to win his only clay-court title, in Houston, a tournament at which he has also reached the final (2012), the semifinals (2016) and the quarterfinals (2009, 2011 and 2017).
Adding to his resume on clay, Isner has also recorded victories on dirt over the likes of Stan Wawrinka and Roger Federer, and he famously came within two games of defeating ‘King of Clay’ Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros in 2011, a tournament Nadal went on to win.
Elsewhere on Day 5 in Paris, No. 12 seed Madison Keys fell to Petra Martic of Croatia, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1; Varvara Lepchenko lost to No. 14 seed Elena Vesnina of Russia, 4-6, 6-3, 6-0; and Taylor Townsend was defeated by Su-Wei Hsieh of Taiwan, 6-0, 2-6, 6-3.
Friday’s play sees top American seed Venus Williams take on Elise Mertens, Shelby Rogers face No. 13 seed Kristina Mladenovic, CiCi Bellis tackle 11th-seeded Caroline Wozniacki, and qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands versus No. 23 seed Sam Stosur. On the men’s side, No. 25 seed Steve Johnson squares up against sixth-ranked Dominic Thiem for a place in the fourth round.