Americans John Isner and Jack Sock defeated Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau 6-4, 4-6, 14-12 in the first round of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia to progress to the second round. They will now face the third seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares.
Isner/Sock pegged back, regains break and goes one set ahead
Tecau and Isner got the match underway by holding their serve comfortably to get the match underway, 1-1. On the Rojer serve, the Americans claimed the first breakpoints at 15-40 following a double fault. First time of asking, Sock clinched the break with a volley winner at the net for 2-1. However, they were in danger of giving the break straight back to their opponents as triple breakpoints arose with Sock netting.
A good, solid unreturnable first serve did the job temporarily with one breakpoint being saved, 30-40. Once again, Sock netted with Tecau sending the American out wide as he and Rojer broke back before holding and going 2-3 up. The American pair held their next serve for 3-3 then applied more pressure to the Dutch/Romanian pairing.
Up 15-30, Sock played an excellent lob over Rojer to bring up three more break point opportunities. Another poor decision from Rojer gave the break to Isner/Sock, who followed it up by holding serve to 15 to take a 5-3 lead. With momentum firmly on their side, the Americans continued to dominate the match and three set points went their way with Sock's return finding Tecau who netted 15-40.
The 2015 Grand Slam champions were made to dig in and deny Isner/Sock two set points. But with a third still intact, the Americans failed to take advantage with Rojer and Tecau saving a third set point en route to holding for 4-5. The pair of Isner/Sock did manage to grab a fourth set point and this time made no mistake and pressed home their advantage to take a one set lead, 6-4.
Rojer/Tecau fight back to draw level
The start of the set would be dominated by the Dutch/Romanian pair. They began by holding serve at the start then applied a bit of pressure to the Americans. Level at 30-all in the second game, Roje/Tecau forced the error from Sock to bring up two break points early on.
Rojer then sent a forehand wide after a mini exchange at the net with Isner as the game went to a deciding point. The Dutch then played a return to the feet of Isner, who failed to get down in time and skied the return going down a break 0-2. They backed this up with a hold of serve to go 0-3 up on Isner/Sock.
After holding serve in the fourth game to get on the board, the Americans then grabbed three break points in the very next game before breaking by turning defense into attack and forcing the error. They consolidated and drew level at 3-3. The next three games went with the serve, which left Isner/Sock serving to stay in the set 4-5 down.
Down 15-30, Sock got into an exchange with Tecau who ventured towards the net and finished the point with an overhead as he and Tecau grabbed double set points. A Sock attempted backhand down the line could only find the net as the Dutch/Romanian pair clinched the set, 4-6.
Isner/Sock come through epic tiebreaker
Rojer/Tecau began the match breaker by breaking the Americans in the third game with Tecau hitting a volley winner, 1-2. The pair kept their lead until the eight-point when Isner/Sock won two points on the Rojer serve and make it six points in a row on serve to take a 7-4 lead in the breaker. Now up 8-6, the Americans faltered and allowed their opponents a way back into the match, who broke back and turned the match around to lead 9-9.
Both teams then held their next serve with the game level at 10-10. Rojer/Tecau broke serve to lead 10-11 but the American pair immediately gained the point back to level and then go ahead at 12-11. The Dutch/Romanian pair would level at 12-all but would lose serve once more with an executed lob from Sock to give he and Isner a match point, 13-12. After more than 20 minutes, Sock's volley would clinch the match for the Americans who advanced, 14-12.