• Isner battles Melzer for Memphis semifinal spot

    2/24/12 6:10 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Isner battles Melzer for Memphis semifinal spot John Isner's Memphis quest continues on Friday. He will go up against Jurgen Melzer for a spot in the semifinals.

    John Isner and Jurgen Melzer will be going head-to-head for the second time in their careers when they do battle during quarterfinal action at the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships on Friday afternoon.

    Their only previous encounter came at this very same Memphis event in 2008. A first-round meeting went Melzer's way in a third-set tiebreaker, 6-7(8), 6-3, 7-6(4).

    Speaking of third-set tiebreakers, both of Melzer's matches this week have gone the distance. The 30-year-old Austrian beat Denis Istomin 6-7(2), 6-3, 7-6(4) then outlasted Ivan Dodig 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(5) on Thursday. Prior to this week, Melzer had been in disappointing form ever since peaking in the Top 10 in 2010 and early 2011 and he currently sits at No. 38 in the world.

    Isner, on the other hand, has been playing stellar tennis dating back to the start of the 2011 U.S. Open Series. The 6'9'' American is up to a career-high ranking of No. 13 in the world. He has sustained momentum from a Davis Cup upset of Roger Federer by taking out both Gilles Muller and Donald Young in straight sets so far in Memphis.

    Melzer can never be discounted because he owns a big lefty serve and it is clear from his last two results that he can handle the pressure of competitive matches. Isner did not play particularly well against Young, but his serve is working and that should be the difference in a tough two-set victory for the top seed.

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