With the eradication of Marin Cilic from the draw earlier in the day, the prospects for the big serving Americans John Isner and Sam Querrey, seeded 10 and 17 respectively, finally winning the US Open on behalf of their nation for the first time since Andy Roddick in 2003, looked a likely bet.
They were scheduled to meet in the next round only for Isner to blot his copy-book by losing after two-hours and 3-minutes to the German seeded 23, Mischa Zverev, 6-4 6-3 6-7(5)
The shadows were really tough the first 90 minutes. That made things a little tricky to see the ball and really settle in. Once I broke him in the first game of the fourth, I played a lot better from there. Sam Querrey
For the 30-year-old Mischa Zverev, the elder of the two brothers, it was his second appearance in a grand slam fourth round having reached the same stage in Melbourne last January.
Isner was unfortunately plagued by neck and shoulder problems which restricted his serving (he only hit 11 on the night and delivered 7 double faults) but that shouldn’t detract from the German’s performance who served well, saving all 3 break points he faced to keep the pressure on his American and higher ranked rival throughout breaking him 3 times.
Speaking after his disappointing loss, Isner commented: “I felt like at times I was close. I really just couldn’t pass him is what it comes down to, plain and simple. I had looks. I had little looks here and there. I didn’t do what I needed to do. I don’t know what it is but I struggle playing at night at this tournament. I don’t think I’ve ever won a match at night here. Haven’t lost many matches in the day, so… I don’t know. It sucks. You want to play better out there. I just didn’t.”
He was certainly never comfortable with the attacking Zverev game and his continual approaches to the net.”It’s what he does. He makes it tough. I’m not Djokovic or Murray hitting passing shots or something,” the 32-year-old went on to explain. “So it’s tough. Very frustrating, for sure.”
Jis loss leaves his compatriot Querrey as last American standing in the men’s draw and when asked whether he would be following and supporting his countryman’s progress, he responded rather
Querrey is now the last American in the men’s draw and Isner said he would not be following his compatriot’s progress, responding brusquely to the enquiry: “I’d rather watch football!”
Querrey reached the round of 16 with a solid 4-6 6-2 6-4 6-4 win over Radu Albot by using his powerful serve to good purpose highlighted by 19 aces, the final one sealing the actual victory.
He also hit 49 winners in the two-hour seven-minute third round match, and ensure he starts in the second week of his home grand slam for the first time since 2010, notching hos second victroy from a set down for a second time at Flushing Meadows.
“The shadows were really tough the first 90 minutes,” Querrey said later. “That made things a little tricky to see the ball and really settle in. Once I broke him in the first game of the fourth, I played a lot better from there. It was a fun four-setter. I think it was good to face a little adversity there. Had to battle in a couple service games in the fourth set. Overall I felt pretty good.
“I feel like I always had this level, but it’s just better now,” Querrey added. “All around, I’m recognizing the opportunities to move forward. My backhand is definitely better. I feel like my return is a lot better. I feel like my intangibles are a little better. I just feel like every part of my game is a little more complete now.”
The 29-year-old Californian is certainly playing the best tennis of his career and hopes to continue doing so with his 50th win at grand slam level when he faces Zverev.