John Isner Andrey Rublev

‘Rublev was the better player. My serve kept me in it’, admits John Isner after Madrid upset

John Isner reached the quarter-finals of the Madrid Open after edging Andrey Rublev in what he described as “perfect serving conditions”.

The 36-year-old prevailed 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 7-6 (7-4) in just over two hours in the third round of the ATP Masters 1000 tournament on Thursday.

The opening set went to a tiebreak after neither player faced a break point, and Isner sealed it after storming to a 4-0 lead. The world No. 7 hit back by breaking the American twice en route to taking the second set.

The final set was also decided by a tiebreak after Isner saved the only break point at 1-2. The world No. 39 clinched a huge win with consecutive aces, after claiming the only mini-break with a searing forehand return winner for 5-3.

“I’m very happy. I wasn’t the better player out there today; I did win the match. My serve kept me in it. There’s a reason he’s won so many matches this year,” Isner said in a post-match interview.

“It’s perfect serving conditions out here, especially on this court. It’s got a nice sound, kind of like an indoor court. I can’t ask for anything better.”

Isner will face two-time Madrid Open finalist and world No. 4 Dominic Thiem in the quarter-finals.

Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.