US Open

Isner holds off rising star Tiafoe

2016-08-30 06:48
John Isner (AFP)

New York - US teenager Frances Tiafoe came tantalizingly close to a stunning US Open upset on Monday, only to be denied by compatriot and five-set master John Isner.

Tiafoe, an 18-year-old who received a wild card into the draw of the final Grand Slam of the year, won the first two sets and served for the match in the fifth before the 31-year-old Isner sealed a 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2, 7-6 (7/3) victory.

The match enthralled the crowd at the brand new Grandstand court, part of the $600 million remodel of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows.

"Serving for it I thought I definitely had it," said a disappointed Tiafoe, the son of immigrants from Sierra Leone.

"I definitely thought the match was over, but he played a good return game. Didn't make that many first serves that game. Probably should have played a higher percentage, but it's tough, toughest loss of my career so far for sure."

Tiafoe, ranked 125th in the world, was playing in just his third Grand Slam main draw match.

He broke the big-serving Isner in the veteran's first service game and broke him twice more en route to a two-set lead over his 31-year-old opponent.

But after Tiafoe broke for 5-3 in the fifth, Isner's experience paid off.

"If I could replay that, probably wouldn't have gotten as hyped up when I broke," Tiafoe said. "Maybe would have taken a little bit out of it. I think (experience) played a little part in it."

Isner, who was playing the 22nd five-setter of his career, had a long hug at the net for his young rival, who was playing his first.

"He's a hell of a player and a class act," Isner said.

Added Tiafoe: "The last thing I heard him say is 'Don't let this get you down.'"

Tiafoe is among the young prospects tipped to end the decline in US men's tennis. The last American man to win a Grand Slam title was Andy Roddick at the 2003 US Open.

This year's field included 13 American men, led by 19th-seeded Steve Johnson, 26, and 20th seed Isner.

Experienced Sam Querrey, who shocked Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon, is seeded 29th while Jack Sock, the 23-year-old seeded 26th, stopped 18-year-old fellow American Taylor Fritz 7-6 (7/3) 7-5, 3-6, 1-6, 6-4.

Although he and Fritz came up empty, Tiafoe said he believed the youngest US pros now challenging on the ATP Tour are capable of establishing themselves on the world stage.

Ryan Harrison, the 24-year-old who came through qualifying along with his 22-year-old brother Christian, reached the second round with a 6-4, 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 victory over France's Adrian Mannarino.

"For American tennis, I think it's looking really good," Tiafoe said.

"I think we have a lot of guys that are going to be very good. I think American tennis is definitely on the right path. We just got to keep our heads down and keep doing the work and I think we're going to have good careers."

Results from the first day of the 2016 US Open tennis championships at Flushing Meadows on Monday (x denotes seeded player):

Men

First round

Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) bt Jerzy Janowicz (POL) 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1

Jiri Vesely (CZE) bt Saketh Myneni (IND) 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 2-6, 6-2, 7-5

Guido Pella (ARG) bt Bjorn Fratangelo (USA) 6-3, 6-4, 6-4

Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) bt Martin Klizan (SVK x28) 6-2, 6-1, 6-1

John Isner (USA) bt Francis Tiafoe (USA) 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2, 7-6 (7/3)

Steve Darcis (BEL) bt Jordan Thompson (AUS) 5-7, 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 7-5, 7-5

Ernesto Escobedo (USA) bt Lukas Lacko (SVK) 6-4, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, retired

Kyle Edmund (GBR) bt Richard Gasquet (FRA x13) 6-2, 6-2, 6-3

James Duckworth (AUS) bt Robin Haase (NED) 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3

Vasek Pospisil (CAN) bt Jozef Kovalk (SVK) 6-1, 6-3, 6-3

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA x9) bt Guido Andreozzi (ARG) 6-3, 6-4, 6-4

Kevin Anderson (RSA x23) bt Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) 6-3, 7-5, 6-4

Jack Sock (USA x26) bt Taylor Fritz (USA) 7-6 (7/3), 7-5, 3-6, 1-6, 6-4

Mischa Zverev (GER) bt Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) 6-4, 7-6 (8/6), 4-6, 6-0

Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) bt Gastao Elias (POR) 6-1, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4)

Marin Cilic (CRO x7) bt Rogrio Dutra Silva (BRA) 6-4, 7-5, 6-1

Rafael Nadal (ESP x4) bt Denis Istomin (UZB) 6-1, 6-4, 6-2

Andreas Seppi (ITA) bt Stephane Robert (FRA) 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3

Andrey Kuznetsov (RUS) bt Thomaz Belluci (BRA) 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (8/6)

Albert Ramos (ESP x31) bt Julien Benneteau (FRA) 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 2-6, 6-1

Lucas Pouille (FRA x24) bt Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2

Marco Chiudinelli (SUI) bt Guilherme Clezar (BRA) 2-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-2, 6-4

Federico Del Bonis (ARG) bt Brian Baker (USA) 3-6, 6-7 (6/8), 6-4, 6-2, 6-2

Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP x15) bt Guillermo Garca-Lopez (ESP) 7-5, 6-1, 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/3)

Gael Monfils (FRA x10) bt Gilles Muller (LUX) 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (7/5)

Jan Satral (CZE) bt Mackenzie McDonald (USA) 4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2

Nicolas Almagro (ESP) bt Marton Fucsovics (HUN) 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (9/7)

Pablo Cuevas (URU x18) bt Dudi Sela (ISR) 6-3, 6-2, 0-6, 5-7, 6-3

Benoit Paire (FRA x32) bt Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 6-2, 2-6, 3-6, 7-5, 6-1

Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) bt Facundo Bagnis (ARG) 6-4, 6-2, 1-1 retired

Ryan Harrison (USA) bt Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 6-4, 7-6 (7/5), 6-3

Milos Raonic (CAN x5) bt Dustin Brown (GER) 7-5, 6-3, 6-4

Women

First round

Kayla Day (USA) bt Madison Brengle (USA) 6-2, 4-2 retired

Duan Ying-Ying (CHN) bt Maria Sakkari (GRE) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3

Naomi Osaka (JPN) bt CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) 6-7 (4/7), 6-3, 6-4

Monica Niculescu (ROM) bt Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE x18) 6-3, 6-7 (3/7), 6-1

Ana Bogdan (ROM) bt Sorana Cirstea (ROM) 0-6, 7-5, 6-2

Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) bt Taylor Townsend (USA) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4

Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS x9) bt Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 6-1, 6-2

Johanna Konta (GBR x13) bt Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) 6-3, 6-3

Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) bt Virginie Razzano (FRA) 6-1, 6-2

Andrea Petkovic (GER) bt Kristina Kucova (SVK) 7-6 (7/3), 6-3

Belinda Bencic (SUI x24) bt Samantha Crawford (USA) 6-7 (6/8), 6-3, 6-4

Zheng Saisai (CHN) bt Monica Puig (PUR) 6-4, 6-2

Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) bt Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE) 6-0, 7-5

Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) bt Anna Karolna Schmiedlov (SVK) 6-3, 6-3

Garbine Muguruza (ESP x3) bt Elise Mertens (BEL) 2-6, 6-0, 6-3

Roberta Vinci (ITA x7) bt Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER) 6-2, 6-4

Christina McHale (USA) bt Mona Barthel (GER) 6-2, 6-2

Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) bt Sabine Lisicki (GER) 6-1, 6-2

Carina Witthoeft (GER) bt Misaki Doi (JPN x30) 6-4, 6-1

Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) bt Irina Begu (ROM x21) 6-0, 6-4

Wang Yafan (CHN) bt Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) 6-3, 7-6 (7/4)

Evgeniya Rodina (RUS) bt Danielle Collins (USA) 6-1, 6-2

Dominika Cibulkova (SVK x12) bt Magda Linette (POL) 6-2, 6-3

Petra Kvitova (CZE x14) bt Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) 7-5, 6-3

Cagla Buyukakcay (TUR) bt Irina Falconi (USA) 6-2, 6-1

Lauren Davis (USA) bt Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 6-2, 4-6, 7-5

Elina Svitolina (UKR x22) bt Mandy Minella (LUX) 6-7 (5/7), 6-0, 6-2

Shelby Rogers (USA) bt Sara Errani (ITA x27) 6-4, 7-6 (7/3)

Catherine Bellis (USA) bt Viktorija Golubic (SUI) 6-2, 6-3

Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (CRO) bt Alize Cornet (FRA) 6-4, 6-1

Angelique Kerber (GER x2) bt Polona Hercog (SLO) 6-0, 1-0 retired

Read more on:    us open  |  john isner  |  tennis
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