Isner tops Mahut in quick match

July 11, 2012

NEWPORT, R.I. — When John Isner and Nicolas Mahut step on court to play each other, it’s natural for fans to wonder how long they will be watching. However, in Newport today, the match time was just 1 hour and 18 minutes- a far cry from the 11 hour and 5 minute battle the two competed in at Wimbledon in 2010. Isner took the first set quickly, 6-2 and after a quick tiebreak, he won the second as well 7-6 (2), to advance to the quarterfinals of the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships. This will be defending champion Isner’s sixth quarterfinal appearance this season.

“From the moment I warmed up today, I knew I was going to play better,” said Isner. “I just felt more comfortable. Getting that first match underneath my belt helped a lot, even though it wasn’t the prettiest of matches. I just felt more comfortable today from the first ball hit on the practice court and I think that translated over to the match score.

Also on Wednesday, Newport’s 2009 champion Rajeev Ram defeated fellow American Michael Russell, while Sam Querrey, 2009 Runner Up, fell to Israel’s Dudi Sela in three sets. Former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt earned a quarterfinal spot as well, defeating qualifier Tim Smyczek.

Kei Nishikori earned a spot in the quarterfinals, defeating Newport’s two-time finalist Olivier Rochus in three sets, as well as a semifinal berth in the doubles. Nishikori, the No. 1 ranked Japanese player, will play doubles with his countryman and Olympic teammate, Go Soeda, the country’s No. 2 player. They will face Great Britain’s Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins, who will also play doubles in the upcoming Olympic games.

On Thursday, the first two matches on Center Court will decide the final quarterfinalists. First up will pit two Americans against each other- past Newport quarterfinalist Ryan Harrison versus Jesse Levine. The final quarterfinal spot will be determined by a match between No. 3 seed Milos Raonic and qualifier Benjamin Becker. In attempts to earn semifinal spots, Lleyton Hewitt will play Dudi Sela, and Rajeev Ram will play No. 2 seed Kei Nishikori.