It was yet another day of wins for the American men at Indian Wells. First and foremost, and we just take a moment to appreciate the fact that John finally won a flippin match!
Yes, it was against a clay court specialist (d. Mello 6-3, 7-6(2)). And yes, it involved yet another completely unnecessary second set tiebreak. But can we focus on the positives, please? First, the poor body language that plagued him in Memphis and Delray was gone. He was positive and focused, and when he made an error he let it go and moved on to the next point. Don’t know what Isner’s problems were before – still hung up on losing to Cilic at the AO – but he seems to have put those woes behind him.
As one would expect, the serve was effective, both in speed and in placement, but the shot that stood out the most was the forehand. That thing was BLAZING. It went a little wonky in the 2nd set, but John kept it together and dominated that tiebreak.
And can we talk about the 3 backhand return winners? Who would have put those three words together to describe Isner’s return game a month ago. Still room for improvement, but he is definitely back on track.
An American was going to win no matter what the outcome between Roddick and Blake, but hopefully this match will help silence the Blake haters. We all know this is probably James’ farewell tour, but the man’s forehand is still one of the most potent in tennis. He was hitting winners off that wing over 100mph.
It really looked like Blake was going to force the match to a 3rd set for a while there. Much more competitve than I would have thought. Against a lesser player, James would have stayed to play another day.
Now Roddick will play Isner. I think we all know my feelings about that match. But John did win at their last meeting in the 5th set at the US Open. If Isner can hold serve and force a tiebreak, he’s got a chance.
Ryan Harrison notched a win for the US as well, taking out GGL 6-3, 7-6(4). This was the second highest seed that Ryan has defeated, the highest being Old Man Ljubs at the US Open.
Harrison moves on to take on Milos Raonic, who beat Fish 7-5, 6-4, in a rumble of the “Next Big Thing in North Ameican Tennis.” Kind of figured Mardy was in trouble when he drew Milos. All I could think of was his press conference in Memphis when he said about Raonic, “His legs are twice the size of mine. He’s full-grown.” Um, yeah…sorry, Mardy!
And I’m totally claiming Raonic’s win for us. He’s NORTH AMERICAN, so it totally counts as an American win. But if he beats Harrison and then loses to Fed, he can be Canadian again…
(Pics via Getty Images)?