Tenaciously Tennis

Fish Tops Isner; Ball Rolls Over Levine

Posted in Carsten Ball,Jesse Levine,John Isner,Mardy Fish,Sam Querrey by Ben on July 26, 2010

The first week of the US Open series is over. The winners: Mardy Fish and Carsten Ball. The wins, however, couldn’t be more different. While Fish needed three sets, including a tie-break in the third, to defeat John Isner, Ball ousted Jesse Levine in two (albeit tight) sets.

Fish’s win over the second-seeded Isner means the veteran American, who shed 30 pounds to increase fitness, takes home his second straight title — the first being at the season’s final grass court tournament at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships. Fish won his tenth straight match in the 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4) battle.

With Fish at an all-time high for confidence, look for him to continue doing well on the US Open Series. As long as that ankle doesn’t continue bothering him, Fish looks ready to take more titles. Can he keep it up at the US Open? That’s another story entirely. As long as he keeps improving on his current ranking of 35, which he earned after the Atlanta win, he should get a decent seeding at the major. Then, it’s all up to the draw. Regardless, I see Fish getting to at least the fourth round. He deserves it after typically streaky play at the majors has plagued his career.

Battling against the sweltering Atlanta heat and himself, Isner ran out of gas towards the end. It was an excellent effort by the 6’9 American. At the same time, it’s sad that such an immense talent failed to win. Already in his fourth final of the year, Isner is 1 – 3 for the year (the win coming at the season’s start in Auckland). Since then, Isner has lost twice to compatriot Sam Querrey. Hopefully he proceeds to do well at the rest of his US Open Series. Isner needs to show the world he’s more than just the winner of the longest match in history. He needs to go one step further and add a second ATP title to his name.

At the Lexington tournament, Ball beat Levine 6-4, 7-6 (2). It’s great to see the American making it to his first final on the ATP tour. He should break into the top 100, where he certainly belongs if he can keep up the form.


Fish Fries Roddick; Isner Edges Anderson

Mardy Fish snapped a nine match losing streak against Andy Roddick after taking out the top seed in the semifinals of the Atlanta tournament. Fish beat Roddick 7-6 (5), 6-3 to make his third final of the year. So far, he’s won a title at Newport — the fourth of the his career. Fish also got to the finals of Queen’s, where he lost to Sam Querrey.

It’s nice to see Fish doing this well. The next step is converting the success to the majors. This year, he hasn’t made it past the second round. The last time Fish got to the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam event was at the 2008 US Open. Depending on his results the rest of the US Open Series, Fish might just shock some top seeds at the US Open in September.

If Fish can keep up the confidence tomorrow, he has a strong shot at taking out a weary John Isner in the final.

Isner, who took out South Africa’s Kevin Anderson, looked strong in the first set, which he cruised to win 6-3. The heat, which apparently got to over 120 degrees on court, took its toll on the 6’9 giant. He lost the second set in a tiebreak 7-6 (9) after holding match points. In the third, he won 6-3. If it’s another scorcher tomorrow, I see Fish winning. Regardless, I’m guessing the match goes to a third set. Both are big servers, so it’ll be decided with only a few points. Look for at least one tiebreak.

As for Roddick, it’s another disappointing loss. He’ll need to re-evaluate his commitment to the game and try to figure out what’s going wrong with his game before the US Open.

In other news, Jesse Levine defeated Alex Bogomolov, Jr. to get to the finals at Lexington. He won in two close sets. Next up for the American, the tournament’s top seed Carsten Ball of Australia.

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