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  • Isner opens Memphis campaign against Istomin

    2/19/13 5:20 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Isner opens Memphis campaign against Istomin John Isner my be starting to find his way after a semifinal showing last week in San Jose. Up first for him in Memphis on Tuesday is Denis Istomin.

    John Isner and Denis Istomin will be going head-to-head for the second time in their careers when they meet in round one of the U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships on Tuesday night. Their only previous encounter came four years ago on the hard courts of Indianapolis, where Isner prevailed 6-4, 6-4.

    The 6'9'' American is a considerable favorite on paper, but he has been struggling ever since last summer's U.S. Open. He slumped in the fall and a knee injury has kept him well below 100 percent in 2013. Isner, still a decent 16th in the world, earned his first two ATP tournament wins of the season last week in San Jose before falling to Tommy Haas in the semifinals.

    Istomin finished runner-up to Milos Raonic last year at the SAP Open, but this time around he had to face Raonic in the quarterfinals and he went down in straight sets. The 63rd-ranked Uzbek is a solid 8-4 for his 2013 campaign, with three quarterfinal finishes (also in Brisbane and Sydney).

    Isner always plays his best on American hard courts, so he should win this if he is close to 100 percent or armed with at least some semblance of confidence following his performance in San Jose. It remains to be seen, however, if health or confidence has materialized.

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