John Isner was his usual big-serving self as he won a power battle in the first round of the Aegon Championships with Juan Martin del Potro, as the American ousted the former US Open champion in straight sets. Despite finding his own serve under more pressure, Isner was up to the task, saving all the break points he faced and converting his lone opportunity to seal a 7-6(2), 6-4 victory.
Isner Dominates Tiebreak to Seal Tight Opener
As expected, both men were crushing every ball in sight and rallies were very short. It was rare for a point to go more than ten shots. Both men were dominant on serve, both breaking 80 percent of first serve points one. At 4-3, the rain came and forced the players to briefly leave the court. When they returned, the dominant serving trends continued. There were no break points for either player in the opening set, and it fittingly required a tiebreak to decide.
The breaker was nowhere near as close as the set itself, as Isner grabbed a minibreak almost immediately for a 2-0 lead when del Potro dumped a forehand into the net. Another forehand into the net gave the American another minibreak for a 5-2 lead. Isner had no trouble claiming the next two points on his serve to seal the opening set.
Del Potro can’t convert chances as Isner advances
Looking to turn the tables quickly in the second set, del Potro came out firing in the second and brought up the first break points of the match in the second game when he grabbed a 0-40 lead on the Isner serve. But the American reminded everyone why he is one of the best servers ever, hitting three straight serves that did not come back over the net, including two aces. Del Potro had another break point at 40-AD, but another unreturnable serve kept the set on serve.
In his next service game, Isner threw in a double fault to give del Potro two more break points, but two more aces erased them. As the set progressed, del Potro seemed to be having trouble staying on his feet and a wipe out at 4-4, 30-30 gave Isner his first break point of the match. The American hit a lunging drop shot volley winner to give himself a chance to serve for the match. The American made no mistake, holding to love with three aces to seal the victory.
By the Numbers
Isner smoked 25 aces past del Potro, won 80 percent of his first serve points and saved all six break points he faced. He also more than doubled the Argentinian in winners 42 to 20, although he also had 21 unforced errors to del Potro’s 9. Isner only had one break point in the match, but it was the only one he needed as he would convert it and was unbreakable on serve.
Isner will take on Gilles Muller in the second round.