3/1/13 4:14 AM | Ricky Dimon
John Isner takes care of Go Soeda in straight sets on Thursday in Delray Beach. Ernests Gulbis also makes it to the quarterfinals after storming back from 4-0 down in the third set against Sam Querrey.
(1) John Isner d. Go Soeda 7-6(2), 6-2
Isner delivered what was arguably his best performance of an otherwise forgettable season by defeating Soeda in one hour and 15 minutes during second-round action at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships on Thursday night. The top-seeded American struck 15 aces and saved both of the break points he faced to hold all 10 of his service games.
Soeda stayed competitive for a while, but it went downhill for Japan's No. 2 player when Isner struck a backhand pass for a mini-break at 1-1 in the first-set tiebreaker. The world No. 15 raced through it seven points to two then raised his level to break twice in the second. Isner served out the proceedings at love at 5-2, clinching his first match point when Soeda sent a forehand long. Friday's marquee quarterfinal will pit Isner against fellow big man and familiar foe Kevin Anderson.
(Q) Ernests Gulbis d. (3) Sam Querrey 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(4)
Gulbis won a wild, back-and-forth thriller against Querrey after two hours and 14 minutes on Thursday afternoon. The first two sets were entirely straightforward, with a single break deciding each one. Gulbis fought off one break point with an ace at 4-4 in the opener before Querrey cracked under pressure at 4-5 with a shanked forehand on his opponent's set point. The 23rd-ranked American reversed momentum by breaking right away in the second and he maintained his lead from start to finish.
For a while it looked like Querrey's surge would see him through to the finish line. This week's No. 3 seed raced to a 4-0 advantage in the third only to implode out of nowhere. He dropped serve at 4-1 and again while serving for the match at 5-4, this time with a double-fault on break point. That energized a previously dispirited Gulbis, who had broken a racket and incurred a point penalty for swearing earlier in the set. The 109th-ranked Latvian never trailed in the ensuing tiebreaker. Although he gave back a mini-break at 5-3, Querrey capitulated with two straight double-faults to end it. Next up for Gulbis is fellow qualifier Daniel Munoz-De La Nava.
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