Andy Murray was able to overcome the big serves of John Isner as he became one of the final eight at the 2016 French Open. It was a rocky match at the beginning as, multiple times in the first set, Isner pushed Murray to the brink. The match was another elongated affair for the second seed. He has gone the distance in two of his matches so far and had to play three consecutive days to begin the tournament. Today, rain delayed his match for a time before the Brit was able to pick up a 7-6(9), 6-4, 6-3 victory.
Murray rocked early by Isner
Isner, the top-ranked American man, had three chances to clinch the first set. Yet, the Briton Murray was able to stave off each point and eventually claim the set in a tie-break
The match began with patented play by the 6'10'' American. After playing the game to 30-all, the big server would go on to dent the red clay with a powerful ace to start 1-0. The back and forth affair would head to a tie-break.
Isner had set point on his own serve in the break. It was a vital point he needed if he planned on toppling the second-seeded Murray. In a long rally from the baseline, the Brit swept in towards the net. However, his shot sailed long. Isner then forced set-point by dumping a forehand at the feet of his opponent.
Then, Murray proved he was undaunted by the big serve of the right-hander. After Isner failed to land his first attempt in the final point, Murray was ready for the second serve and pounced. In a lively first set, Murray claimed the tiebreak 11-9 for a 7-6 set win.
The second set was a bit of an easier affair for Murray. Isner committed what seemed to be error after error as he struggled against the pure form of his opponent.
Murray used his great speed to dig out the deep shots by Isner. Such agility was also helpful in getting to the difficult drop shots that the American would play on occasion to surprise the United Kingdom's highest ranked player.
Murray, given a break point in game 10 of the second set, played another back and forth rally. The speedster then drew Isner in with a drop. Isner, for his part, tried to scoop the ball back on a late reaction. To his surprise, Murray was waiting to fire back with a cross-court dump that sailed past a flummoxed Isner. The point clinched both the break and the set for the world number two.
Isner just began to unravel from there. He had 55 errors by the third set. The American had to think quickly and dump a winner at deuce to stay alive in his first service game of the third set. Luckily, his opponent misplayed the shot and gave Isner a short lived reprieve.
The fourth game of that set would put the nail in the coffin of Isner's comeback chances. The two went toe-to-toe before Murray crunched a forehand shot. Isner tried his best at a drop shot, but it withered into the net; it gave his opponent the tiebreak he needed.
The American actually managed a break opportunity in Murray's final service game. The Scot rose to the challenge, however. He beat his opponent at his own game- with an ace. It clinched Murray's fifth quarterfinal appearance at Roland Garros.