John Isner has lengthy been atop the American males’s rankings, however these days could also be nearing a detailed as he turned 36 in April. On Monday one of many younger American upstarts made positive Isner’s keep at this yr’s U.S. Open was quick.
Wild-card Brandon Nakashima upset the Nineteenth-seeded 6-foot-10 Georgia Bulldog in straight units, squeaking out two tiebeakers and profitable 7-6 (9-7), 7-6 (8-6), 6-3 at Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Nakashima, 16 years youthful than Isner, has moved into the highest 100. He introduced himself on the Open final yr when he superior to the second spherical and gave Alexander Zverev a gritty run for his cash, profitable the primary set and profitable throughout a second-set tiebreaker. Zverev went on to victory and the Open finals.
As Nakashima rises, Isner could possibly be nearing the top and didn’t sound completely sure he’d be again at subsequent yr’s Open. He’s nonetheless ranked twenty first — increased than another American male regardless of his failure to get to a Grand Slam ultimate.
“We’ll see how for much longer I wish to play,’’ Isner mentioned. “I’m ranked like twentieth on this planet and I’ve solely performed 9, 10 tournaments this yr. So long as I really feel good, simply possibly hopefully give myself one other shot at this match subsequent yr.’’
Nakashima, who’s from San Diego, was utilizing former tennis nice Pat Money as his coach till just lately after they cut up up. Money had in contrast Nakashima’s two-handed punishing backhand to Jimmy Connors’.
“It was a fantastic expertise working with him,’’ Nakashima mentioned. “We spent a while collectively final yr. I feel it was nice for my sport. He simply sort of gave me his insights on tennis. We labored quite a bit collectively on the observe court docket with coming ahead, transition, internet sport. I feel it positively has helped me again then.
Despite the fact that we ended it, I feel I’m all the time going to be glad about all his assist.’’
Nakashima had confronted Isner twice this yr, splitting the matches. The third time was the best. Isner rallied from a break down within the first set to drive tiebreaker. Then Isner pulled even after falling behind 2-5 within the tiebreaker. However Nakashima was a rock of steadiness.
“It’s all the time powerful towards his serve, regardless of what number of occasions you play towards him,’’ Nakashima mentioned. “However I noticed a few of his tendencies from the previous couple matches, sort of noticed what he did and didn’t love to do on the market.’’
Within the All-American rematch of the 2017 U.S. Open finals and an unlucky first-round pairing, Sloane Stephens edged Madison Keys in a third-set tiebreaker 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (9-7).
Keys’ unforced errors within the tiebreak did her in. Stephens beat Keys in 2017, too, for the crown. Keys saved two match factors within the third-set tiebreaker however couldn’t reverse it.
“I actually sort of felt prefer it was coming, so I wasn’t actually shocked,’’ Keys mentioned of the odd draw. “We have been speculated to observe with one another that [Thursday], so we clearly needed to scramble to alter that observe. For some bizarre motive I used to be sort of anticipating it.’’
Stephens knew this is able to be an ungainly first-rounder.
“We’re mates after which clearly Individuals taking part in on the U.S. Open is rarely simple,’’ Stephens mentioned.
Russian Danil Medvedev appeared each bit the second seed and bonafide contender, grinding down venerable 35-year-old Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-3, 6-1.
“Very humid at this time, fairly sizzling. The rating might sound simple however [it was not],” Medvedev mentioned in an on-court TV interview. “Third set I used to be not that good bodily additionally, however it’s higher when you’re two units up and never two units down.”
Medvedev performs German Dominik Koepfer in Spherical 2.
Frances Tiafoe held off lanky qualifier Christopher Eubanks 7-6 (8), 5-7, 6-3, 6-4. He’ll face Argentine Guido Pella subsequent.
The USTA Basis Gala on Monday night time at Arthur Ashe Stadium was well-attended with Mike Tyson, Lindsey Vonn, CBS’s Gayle King and host Alec Baldwin making appearances. The gala funds the Arthur Ashe Nationwide Junior Tennis and Studying community.
Amid the Mets’ fan controversy, Francisco Lindor attended the day card within the USTA’s presidential suite with Mets publicist Harold Kaufman.
— Further reporting by Brian Lewis