Blake rewarded with Isner test
Originally published on: 03/08/11 10:16
James Blake reached the third round of an ATP event for just the second time this season after ousting defending champion David Nalbandian at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic.
The 31-year-old American produced his best tournament performance since reaching the third round of the Sony Ericsson Open this March, sweeping past the Argentine 6-2 6-4 to set up a clash with doubles partner and close pal John Isner.
“We’re practically neighbours,” said Blake of his fellow Tampa resident. “Last time I was home, I was eating breakfast at his house just about every morning. And he’s taken so much food out of my fridge, I think he owes me a few thousand dollars.”
Blake fell to Isner in their only previous meeting on the ATP Tour in Atlanta a few weeks ago when his opponent struck 30 aces during a three-set triumph, and the former world No.4 is well aware of 6’9” right-hander’s biggest weapon. “We practice together so often that I’ve seen his serve a million times – and it doesn’t get any easier,” he added.
Blake won the Washington event in 2002 and finished runner up in 2005, producing a career-best quarter-final Grand Slam performance at the US Open soon after. While his best days are undoubtedly behind him, the world No.90 vowed to continue making the most of his time on tour.
“If I’m 170 in the world, I’m having fun. If I’m 4 in the world, I’m having fun. Even when I retire, I’ll be having fun,” said Blake.