• Isner back in action against Lopez

    1/19/12 4:49 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Isner back in action against Lopez John Isner will resume his Australian Open campaign against Feliciano Lopez on Friday. Tomas Berdych and Kevin Anderson are also taking the court.

    (16) John Isner vs. (18) Feliciano Lopez

    Isner will be back on the court for third-round Australian Open action two days after outlasting David Nalbandian in an epic but controversial five-setter. The 17th-ranked American prevailed 4-6, 6-3, 2-6, 7-6(5), 10-8 after for hours and 41 minutes. Isner, who is showing signs of bouncing back from a surprise Sydney loss to Bobby Reynolds, opened in Melbourne with a straight-set win over Aussie wild card Benjamin Mitchell.

    Up next for the No. 16 seed is a second career meeting with Lopez. Their only previous encounter came just a few months ago in Paris, where Isner dominated 6-4, 6-2. Lopez also lost his first match of the season (to Julien Benneteau in Sydney), but he has straight-set victories over Leonardo Mayer and Flavio Cipolla so far this week. The good news for Isner is that this will be a serve-fest with very short points. Assuming the big man recovers close to 100 percent, he should advance in four sets.

    (7) Tomas Berdych vs. (30) Kevin Anderson

    More monster serving and huge hitting will be on display when Berdych goes up against Anderson for the first time in his career. Berdych did not play any tuneup events, but he is already showing the form that led him to a stellar 2011 campaign (culminating in a semifinal appearance at the World Tour Finals). The seventh-ranked Czech began with a four-set win over Albert Ramos then thrashed Olivier Rochus on Wednesday.

    Anderson dealt with a knee issue at the start of 2012 and he lost his Auckland opener to Adrian Mannarino in easy straight sets. However, the 6'8'' South African is back on track with a blowout of Frederick Nielsen followed by a four-set victory at the expense of Sergiy Stakhovsky. Anderson is dangerous every time on the court when healthy, but Berdych has the edge in Grand Slam experience and current form. Look for the favorite to get the job done in four.

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Vamos Lopez

nadline , 1/20/12 4:41 AM

Just watched Mr Eye Candy totally fall apart in a crucial tie break. Oh me, oh my..
PS Could he get ANY better looking......;)

deuce , 1/20/12 7:34 AM

so deuce I presume you are a lady? I always thought you were a guy

2 people making way into your heart now at same time - Lopez and Tomic? :-)

sanju , 1/20/12 7:39 AM

If Isner wins this he would have played 2 back to back 5 sets..

sanju , 1/20/12 7:41 AM

What is Feli doing? A tired Isner can still take him to five sets? Shame on Feli! Please not another Ivo/Fed type of match in Rafa's fourth round match. Oh please, Feli please do your job to stop that from happening!

luckystar , 1/20/12 7:46 AM

other than a few meltdowns on serve, Lopez was outstanding

Isner was the better player against Nalbandian. Lopez was the better player against Isner. Results were as they should have been.

RickyDimon , 1/20/12 8:11 AM

After that dreadful tiebreak, I didn't know what to expect. Feli delivered big time in that fifth set against a battered and bruised Isner.

I do think Feli should have closed this out sooner. Isner was clearly in pain and having trouble walking. However, he does have the advantage of banging aces while just standing at the baseline.

I will be honest and say that I did not want to see Rafa play Isner. I know he hates playing these tall guys. After watching Fed battle Karlovic for two close sets until he finally got a break in that third set, no way did I want to see Rafa having to go through that!

Nativenewyorker , 1/20/12 8:11 AM

Congrats to Feli for the win! I know he'll be a tough opponent for Rafa in the fourth round if he serves like he did at Shanghai last year. It will be a good test for Rafa and I hope he pass the test.

luckystar , 1/20/12 8:14 AM

Vamos Feli! That Wilson endorsement and new coaching situation really seem to have raised his game. John gave a good fight.

mara002 , 1/20/12 8:45 AM

Phew! More chances to see Mr Eye Candy...faint.....;)
sanju, Tomic for way he plays, Lopez for way he looks and Andy...well just cos he's Andy.

deuce , 1/20/12 8:50 AM

I would love to see Big John and Dr Ivo play each other. It is so painful watching them, I really feel for anyone who has to play them.

nadline , 1/20/12 8:57 AM

I know al of you are saying Rafa shouldn't have gotten Isner. I for one wanted Isner to win the match as I think after the long matches, Rafa would have easily packed him off.

Feli will be far far tougher for him.

sanju , 1/20/12 9:01 AM

I don't agree. Rafa really gets nervous playing the big, tall guys who bang aces all day long. There is a lot of pressure to hold your serve, because a break means most likely losing the set.

Feli is looking good now, but Rafa knows his game very well. No surprises here for him. It's not going to be easy from here on out no matter who you play. So many good players these days.

I think Feli will test Rafa, but that is what he needs.

Nativenewyorker , 1/20/12 9:11 AM

NNY, I agree with you. I was hoping Rafa wouldn't have to play Isner. It's a lottery playing the giants, you can't really compete on a level playing field because it's hard to break them as they can just simply serve themselves out of trouble and if you make the error of losing your serve that's the set practically over.

I think Rafa can do his stuff much more effectively against Lopez.

nadline , 1/20/12 9:33 AM

Rafa needs a good test in the fourth round. If he gets through, then he'll be all ready for Berdych/Almagro, or even Fed/Delpo or whoever in the other quarter of the draw.

luckystar , 1/20/12 9:34 AM

sanju, Rafa was dying on his legs against Nalby and Feli and he was still winning sets just with his serve because he doesn't need shots to the same extent as normal players.

nadline , 1/20/12 9:49 AM

Has anyone here seen Berdych? I only saw a little bit of his match with Anderson, but he seemed to be playing extremely well. Anderson can be dangerous, a tall guy with a big serve. Even though he is a lower ranked player, I thought he would give Berdy more trouble.

I know that it's all about taking it one match at a time. Rafa needs to deal with Feli first. I will worry about the quarterfinals once he gets there. I am okay with Feli giving Rafa a real match. Now that we are in the fourth round, he needs it so that he can go up another gear. Rafa usually rises to a challenge.

Nativenewyorker , 1/20/12 9:52 AM

sanju 9:01 AM : Feli will be far tougher for him


RickyDimon , 1/20/12 12:34 PM

NNY, Anderson has a big serve but can't move well, so I'm not surprised that Berdych beats him. I've mentioned before that Tsonga, Berdych and Delpo are the ones to look out for other than the top four guys, this AO. I was surprised that each of those three had lost a set during their earlier matches.

Fedal have not lost a set so far, Nole too. Let's see how Nole and Murray fare tmr.

luckystar , 1/20/12 1:50 PM

Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
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