John Isner is through to the second round of the French Open after beating French qualifier Elliot Benchetrit in straight sets 6-4, 6-1, and 6-3.
The match :
This was the first meeting for the two players and the Frenchman had gone through three rounds of qualifying to get here. Benchetrit had an easy service game to start the match and went right to work on the Isner service looking for that crucial break.
The first couple of games both players did a good job at holding service and at 1-2 we had a minor delay due to a bit a rainfall but play resumed pretty quickly. The Dallas, Texas resident earned the first breakpoint of the match at 4-4 when he played an amazing point which he won with a beautiful passing shot. He would get the break when Benchetrit sent a forehand long and the American had a 5-4 lead and would serve for the first set.
The 21st seed had no issues serving it out with two big serves and would seal the set with a great serve and volley play. It didn't take long for the 35-year-old to see another break as the 216th ranked player in the world would hit an unforced error. This time the 21-year-old would save it with a perfectly placed drop shot.
But once again unforced errors would creep into the Nice native game and Isner would take full advantage of getting the early break. The Morroco resident would have chances in the next game to break back to go back on serve but the American would save both again with his big serve coming in handy.
He would end up securing the break to take a 2-0 lead before the Frenchman would finally be able to get on the scoreboard. The next game Isner served three aces in a row to make it 3-1 and was in full control of the match.
Benchetrit's serve was starting to let him down and in the next game with Isner earning another break point he would double fault to gift him a 4-1 lead. The American would hold and then down 5-1 the Frenchman would double fault once again to give him two set points.
Isner would break to take the second set 6-1 after the 21-year-old would send a shot into the net. We would enter the third set with the American one set away from round two.
Both players would have no problems breezing through service games until 3-3 when it was the French qualifier who would have the first breakpoint of the set. Isner would save the breakpoint with a great volley at the net. Anger and frustration were starting to set into Benchetrit game and he exploded when the American saved the breakpoint by destroying his racquet.
The 35-year-old would win and determined to finish the match in three would win the next two games to take the third set 6-3 and the match. The American spoke about playing someone who he had never played before and in very tough conditions.
" For me, the formula is always the same and that's just try to hold my serve and go about my business that way and I was able to do that today and play some big points well in big times and was able to get off the court in pretty quick fashion"
John Isner will next face Sebastien Korda who also qualified for the main draw in the next round