Isner completes miserable year in the slams
Originally published on: 03/09/12 00:00
What a difference a week makes.
Two weekends ago, John Isner was celebrating his fifth ATP World Tour title after defending his crown in Winston Salem. On Tuesday morning in New York, the American will have woken up sheepish and groggy after losing both his temper and his third round bout at the US Open in a match that finally finished at 2:26am.
Isner’s 6-4 3-6 4-6 6-3 6-4 defeat – during which he smashed a racket and berated the umpire after being called for a footfault – equals Mats Wilander’s 1993 victory over Mikael Pernfors for the latest ever finish at the US Open and completes a disappointing year in the Grand Slams for the American.
The 27-year-old hasn’t been beyond the third round in any of the four major tournaments this year – a below-par result for last year’s quarter-finalist, who had found good form in the run up to Flushing Meadows. The world No.10 had won two of his previous five tournaments coming into the New York showpiece, beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Tomas Berdych in back-to-back matches to claim his second title of the year in Winston Salem, adding to his triumph over Lleyton Hewitt in Newport the week after Wimbledon.
His fortunes at the slams have been dramatically different and Isner has struggled to build on a promising early season that saw him reach his first Masters 1000 final in Indian Wells, crack the top 10, and pull off heroic Davis Cup victories over Roger Federer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
The Tampa resident fell to Feliciano Lopez in the third round in Melbourne and despite those stunning Davis Cup efforts on clay, proved unable to go deep at Roland Garros, losing an epic five-hour-41-minute encounter to Paul-Henri Mathieu in the second round after going down 18-16 in the final set.
He lost another lengthy five-setter at Wimbledon, slumping to 73rd-ranked Alejandro Falla of Colombia.
After Isner's New York exit, it's been left up to veterans Mardy Fish and Andy Roddick to fly the flag as the only American men through to the last 16, where they will face Roger Federer and Juan Martin del Potro respectively.