Ninth Seed Isner Toppled In Battle Of The Giants

John Isner of the US hits a return against Reilly Opelka of the US during their men’s singles match on day one of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 14, 2019.
Paul Crock / AFP


American number one and ninth seed John Isner was knocked out of the Australian Open Monday in one of the biggest shocks of the first round.

The 6ft 10in (2.08m) Isner was beaten by 6ft 11in (2.11m) fellow American Reilly Opelka 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (8/6), 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/5) in a battle of the giants.

No fewer than 87 aces were powered down between the big-serving pair with just one break apiece being registered in the fourth set of a match that lasted 2hr 58min.

Isner, 33, had not lost a Grand Slam match to a player ranked as low as number 97 Opelka, who is 12 years his junior, since retiring due to a foot injury while trailing 106th-ranked Martin Klizan in the first round at Melbourne in 2014.

Opelka has never before reached the second round of a Slam and will next face Italy’s world number 102 Thomas Fabbiano, who beat Australian wildcard Jason Kubler 6-4, 7-6 (7/1), 2-6, 6-3.


Have Mercy! Anderson And Isner Demand Rule Change After Wimbledon Epic

Have Mercy! Anderson And Isner Demand Rule Change After Wimbledon Epic
South Africa’s Kevin Anderson (L) shakes hands after winning against US player John Isner during the final set tie-break of their men’s singles semi-final match on the eleventh day of the 2018 Wimbledon Championships. Glyn KIRK / POOL / AFP


Kevin Anderson and John Isner called for Grand Slam chiefs to introduce a cut-off point for final set marathons after their Wimbledon semi-final entered the record books as the second longest ever singles match at a major.

Anderson survived Friday’s incredible endurance test, beating Isner 7-6 (8/6), 6-7 (5/7), 6-7 (9/11), 6-4, 26-24 in six hours and 36 minutes.

The final set lasted just five minutes short of three hours.

The 32-year-old Anderson is the first South African man to reach the Wimbledon final for 97 years.

But he has little time to rest his aching body before facing Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal in Sunday’s final.

And he made it clear Grand Slam tournament organisers should consider a rule change — perhaps introducing a tie-break at 6-6 — to make the deciding set of five-set matches less gruelling.

“I hope this is a sign for Grand Slams to change. For us to be out there for that length of time. I really hope we can look at this, because at the end you don’t feel great,” said Anderson who has been on court for over 21 hours at these championships.

He had also gone five sets to beat eight-time champion Roger Federer in the quarter-finals, winning the decider 13-11.

“Just playing like that in those conditions was tough on both of us.

“If I was on the opposite (losing) side I don’t know how you take it.

“I have to recover as much as I can for the final now.”

Isner (L) shakes hands with Anderson after the epic clash. Glyn KIRK / POOL / AFP


Isner previously won the longest ever Grand Slam singles match against Nicolas Mahut, lasting 11 hours and five minutes over three days in the 2010 Wimbledon first round.

The 33-year-old agreed with Anderson that all Slams should introduce a tiebreak in the final set and fall in line with the US Open.

“I agree with Kevin. I personally think a sensible option would be 12-All,” said Isner who was bidding to reach his first Slam final at the 41st attempt.

“If one person can’t finish the other off before 12-All, then do a tiebreaker there. I think it’s long overdue.

“Rafa and Djokovic, I don’t even know, can they finish tonight? They’re getting on the court at 8:15, whatever it is. We’re out there playing for seven hours. You know, it’s tough.

“I’m a proponent of changing that rule, for sure. I think it needs to be done.”

Isner finished the tournament with a record 221 aces.

Until Friday, he had not dropped serve until Anderson halted that run at 110 service games in the third set.

“I feel pretty terrible. My left heel is killing me. I have an awful blister on my right foot. I’ve felt better before,” said Isner who had also been hoping to be the first American man in a Slam final since Andy Roddick at Wimbledon in 2009.

“You know, a few days’ rest, maybe more than that, and I’ll recoup an

Isner said that being part of yet another record-breaking match did not help ease his pain.

“That’s no consolation to me. It’s not. I’m not going to hang my hat on that, for sure,” he said.


Andy Murray To Become World’s Number One

Andy Murray, Olympics, Zika VirusBritain’s Andy Murray will become world’s number one tennis player for the first time after Milos Raonic withdrew from their Paris Masters semi-final.

Murray needed only to reach the final in Paris after current number one Novak Djokovic lost to Marin Cilic in Friday’s quarter-final.

Canadian Raonic, however, announced before Saturday’s match that he was injured.

Murray will be the first British singles player to hold top spot since computerised rankings began in 1973.

On the other hand, John Isner has cruised to a straight-sets victory over Marin Cilic to meet Murray in the finals.

This means that Isner would finish the year as the number one American for the fifth consecutive year.

Djokovic, Murray Through To Shangai Quarter Finals

DjokovicNovak Djokovic has continued his progression through the Shangai Rolex Masters with a third-round win over Feliciano Lopez.

Having won the top prize at the China Open in Beijing last week, the World No 1 is into the quarter-finals in Shanghai, as he aims for consecutive Chinese titles.

He swept aside Lopez 6-2 6-3 and will now play Bernard Tomic in the final eight.

Andy Murray was forced to work hard for a three-set win over John Isner.

The world no 2 dropped the opening set in a tie-break, but gradually mastered the American’s huge serve to close out a 6-7 6-4 6-4 victory in China.

Murray will face Tomas Berdych after the Czech defeated Gilles Simon 6-3 6-3.