• Isner takes on Malisse, Haas battles Johnson

    2/15/13 5:27 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Isner takes on Malisse, Haas battles Johnson John Isner and Tommy Haas will continue their San Jose campaigns on Friday. They are set for respective quarterfinal meetings with Xavier Malisse and Steve Johnson.

    (8) Xavier Malisse vs. (2) John Isner

    Isner and Malisse will be going head-to-head for the fifth time in their careers when they go at it once again in the quarterfinals of the SAP Open on Friday. Malisse won their first two encounters--both in third-set tiebreakers--but Isner leveled the series with a pair of victories in 2012. The 6'9'' American most recently prevailed 6-3, 7-6(5), 5-7, 7-6(9) in the first round of last summer's U.S. Open. Of 12 sets between the two, eight have resulted in tiebreakers. All four meetings have ended with a tiebreaker.

    Neither man is playing the kind of tennis to suggest that he will be able to pull away and make this one any different from the prior engagements. Isner has won a mere four matches since the U.S. Open, but he looked decent in a 7-6(3), 2-6, 6-3 win over Vasek Pospisil on Wednesday. Although Malisse is a mediocre 53rd in the world, he improved has improved to 5-2 for the season thanks to wins this week over Go Soeda and Matthew Ebden. Isner has the edge if he serves well and his knee is 100 percent, but this could go either way.

    (WC) Steve Johnson vs. (4) Tommy Haas

    Haas cooled off a bit last fall after a tepid first half of his 2012 campaign and he has not yet reached top gear in 2013, but the 34-year-old is still doing some commendable work on the tennis court. He registers at 22nd in the world, good for a No. 4 seeding and a first-round bye in San Jose. Haas opened on Wednesday with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Jesse Levine, evening his record for the year at 2-2.

    This is his first-ever meeting with Johnson, who is beginning his first full season as a professional. The 23-year-old American, up to No. 154 in the world, has done well in Challengers and also qualified for the main draw of the Australian Open. He is now through to his first career ATP quarterfinal following wins over Ivo Karlovic and Tim Smyczek. Look for Haas to hold off the wild card after two competitive sets.

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