Davis Cup: John Isner Fends Off Bernard Tomic, Clinches Victory For USA

John Isner of the USA fought off the challenge of Aussie number one Bernard Tomic 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 to seal the deal for the U.S. in the first round of Davis Cup action. The USA defeated Australia 3-1, sending the Americans to the Davis Cup World Group quarterfinals in July.

Isner Edges Tomic In Close First Set

Both players began the set holding serve twice each to bring the score to 2-2. In the fifth game of the match, Isner played a terrific return game to break the Aussie number one to go up 3-2. Isner and Tomic again held their next two service games each, putting the American in a position to serve for the opening set. Isner played a booming service game to close out the opening set, taking it 6-4 with a hold at love. 

John Isner rips a forehand (Photo: Getty Images)
John Isner smacks a forehand (Photo: Getty Images)

Second Set A Carbon Copy Of First

Isner and Tomic began the set holding three times each to bring the set to 3-3. In the seventh game of the set, Isner played another booming return game to break the Australian for a 4-3 lead. The big serving American consolidated the break with a love hold, before Tomic held to stay in the set, forcing Isner to serve it out. The six foot ten American blasted down some big serves to take the second set 6-4, putting America a set away from a spot in the World Group quarterfinals.

Tomic Fights Back In Third

The third set was an extremely close affair, with neither player willing to give an inch, giving their best effort for their respective countries. Neither player faced a break point for the first 11 games of the set, with Isner and Tomic holding serve each to 6-5 in favor of Tomic. In the crucial 12th game of the set, the Australian number one created his first break point chances of the match, which also resulted in set points. Tomic broke on his fifth set point, sending the rubber to a fourth set.

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Bernard Tomic extends to try to get a racquet on a shot from Isner (Photo: Getty Images)

Isner Seals The Deal For The US

Much like the third set, the fourth was an even closer affair. Neither Isner or Tomic would face a break point for 12 games. The two players held serve six times each, to bring the fourth set to a tiebreak, one that could guarantee victory for the U.S. Tomic started out the tiebreak holding serve, before playing a brilliant return point to gain a huge mini-break on Isner. The American held serve to keep the margin at one mini-break, before Isner played a great return point to level it up. Tomic then held for 3-2 to put the tiebreak on serve. The big serving American held for 3-3, before the Aussie again broke the Isner serve to go up 4-3. Tomic then collapsed at the worst possible time, getting broken on both service points. That put the tiebreak and the entire tie on the racquet of the big serving American. Isner made no mistake, blasting two aces in a row to win the match and claim victory for the U.S. with a 3-1 win over Australia.

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Isner celebrates the win (Photo: Getty Images)

Isner Discusses The Win 

“I knew he was going to make a push and he did,” Isner said of the mercurial Tomic. “Not much about his game is standard. I don’t want to say [but] maybe he was playing possum a little there. At the same time I was still serving extremely well.” 

Jim Courier On The Win

“Breathtaking to watch John serve the way he did,” said US captain Jim Courier. “After the last couple of years [first-round losses to Great Britain], this is massive for us. It was a tough match-up on paper and in reality. You can’t take any of these for granted.” 

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Jim Courier gives Isner some in-match advice (Photo: Getty Images)

Tomic Discusses The Loss

“I was fighting, [but] he was serving ridiculous,” said a disappointed Tomic. “Not much you can do, just try guess the right side.”

The Aussie number one discussed how much Davis Cup means to him and how it kept him going through pain. “I had so much pain in my wrist but I kept thinking about Davis Cup,” said the world number twenty. “No pain would stop me playing today. But I couldn’t really serve fast - [beyond] 170km. It’s a shame.”

Lleyton Hewitt On The Defeat To The US

“In the end, Bernard was a little unlucky,” said Australian Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt. “He was holding his serve easier in the fourth set and had a mini-break in the tiebreaker as well. But John stepped up.” 

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Lleyton Hewitt tries to get Tomic focused (Photo: Getty Images)

Isner Behind The Numbers

The big serving American put on a brilliant serving performance, cracking a 49 aces and making 76 percent of first serves. Isner won an outstanding 81 percent of first serve points and 68 percent of second serve points. Aided by the fast grass court surface and a record 49 aces, Isner's incredible serving performance was a major key in his victory today over Tomic. 

Up Next For The USA

Up next for the USA is Croatia. The Americans will be guaranteed a home tie, a nice bonus to their win today. Their last home tie came two years ago in San Diego against Great Britain. The Davis Cup World Group quarterfinals will be played from the July 15th-17th.