Top seed John Isner won his first match since last year in Stockholm, defeating Bernard Tomic 7-6 (7), 6-4 in the second round of the New York Open. The American saved a set point in the first set win route to a quarterfinal matchup with Jordan Thompson.
Isner pleased with result after hard work put in during offseason
"I had a long time to stew over, again, not doing well down under-it's tough", said Isner. "The beginning of the year is tricky because of the short offseason and for me, I didn't do well in Australia, and its like I basically have another offseason because our offseason is so short.
"But it was a tricky spot I certainly wasn’t feeling too great about my game after that, but the only thing you can do is continue to keep working hard, and for me to keep working on my body, and I use that time to really get stronger.
"You have to look at it as a blessing in disguise and really just gave me a bunch of time to really keep working hard in the gym. But most importantly, really just enjoying time with my family and continuing to work hard.
"So that's what I did, and really was very eager to get out here and play, and i'm very happy to win".
Top-ranked American expected tough battle with Tomic
On facing Bernard Tomic, Isner said "I knew it was going to be a tough match, and you know, this court's pretty quick and he serves pretty well. He serves a fair amount of aces, and nothing separated us--especially in that first set.
"I was down a set point and I aced him twice and then I was able to win the set from there. Again in the second set, nothing was separating us; both players were holding serve very easily and then all of a sudden just like that i'm up 5-4, and wasted a few opportunities but I was eventually able to win the match.
"I'm very happy to win and not have the second set go to a tiebreaker, which takes a little bit of stress off me and I feel I can build on that going forward".
World number nine on facing Thompson in quarterfinals
"He's got a very good serve", Isner said of the seventh seeded Aussie. "He served well in his first two matches here, he has protected his serve very well and he has a very good backhand-he takes it very early and he competes very well too.
"He can play very aggressively on his backhand, he's one of those guys who cam get to a lot of balls. I played him first round at the French Open a couple of years ago and really had a battle with him. I know what he's capable of- it should be a good match".
Isner talks about late chances to break, returning to Long Island
"It's tough, you know, as I said, all of a sudden I was up 0-40 and he made two errors that he hadn't made the whole match, and then I hit a great return at 0-30 to get 0-40, and then also in the blink of an eye it was back to deuce because he made a bunch of first serves.
"The 30-40 one I wanted that back. I stayed the course and I was able to get it back to deuce and then get an advantage. Finally at my fifth or sixth match point I had a really good point, and i'm happy to win 6-4 there".
When asked about returning to Long Island, the American said "it's very nice. Last year I was in a similar situation: I did not do well in Australia, and I had some time off prior to coming here and I lost my first match. Beginning of last year was certainly a struggle and not that it's been fantastic this year but it's definitely better.
"It's been a while since I won a match -my last win was the Paris Masters - and I qualified for London- lost three matches in a row to three pretty good players so it'd been a while. This one was very important and hopefully i'm building towards a lot of better results going forward".
Isner "excited" to play for new Davis Cup captain
With Mardy Fish named as the new captain of the US Davis Cup team, the top-ranked American shared his thoughts on the appointment: "I think all of us are excited. For me, being around a long time, it'll be my third captain.
"I've enjoyed playing for all of them. I think we've been very fortunate to have some great captains and personally to play for captain Patrick McEnroe i've enjoyed that and to play for Jim Courier I enjoyed that as well.
"Now Mardy is going to be different because i've played Mardy a bunch: he's beaten me a bunch of times, i've beaten him a few times. But with all that said, he's a good friend, and a very good tennis mind as well, so I think the most important thing is he's fired up and enthusiastic about this job.
"He really wanted it and he has it and I think he's bringing a lot of good energy back to Davis Cup".