John Isner Finally Beats A Brit

In France the Paris Masters is taking place this week, John Isner was playing the second round match against Briton Aljaz Bedene. The American does not have a good record against British players, and has a losing head to head.

Bedene did not get off to the best of starts as Isner broke his serve and took the first set 6-3. The second set was closer, and the Brit started to get into the match more and forced Isner to a breaker. In this tie break the American raced out to a lead and never looked back, taking the breaker 7-4 to seal the match, and finally beat a Brit, the first time he achieved this feat since 2009.

Andy Murray

The British number one leads the American in the head to head score five nil. Isner has managed to take a set in all but one of the meetings, which was in the first round of the 2015 Davis Cup in Glasgow, where Murray took the match in straights.

James Ward

Ward who is the current British number four has played Isner three times (two of the meetings are classed as unofficial, which just means they are not classed as big events). The first time that the two players met was in 2009 in Savannah Challenger which was on clay and Isner won in two very close sets 7-6, 7-5. The second time they met does not even appear on the official head to head records, however I am still including it. The Kooyong Classic played in January saw Ward and Isner play a “special invitational” and a warm up to the Davis Cup. After losing the first set 3-6, the Brit forced a tiebreak in the second set, which Ward won. This forced a final set which Ward took control of taking the set 6-2. In case of doubt, here is a link to the results

Just a few weeks later, the two were to meet again. After Murray had put the Brits 1-0 up, Ward and Isner stepped onto court. The Americans were sure this was their “banker” singles match and would level up the tie. The first set went to a tiebreak, which the Brit had been leading when a very lucky netcord saw Isner start a comeback. The American took the tiebreak 7-4. The second set saw the Americans believe they were right when Isner finally managed a break of serve on the Brit and stole the set 7-5. Just one more was needed to level things up. The Brit though had other ideas, and as he managed to get more of a look in on the American serve the noise level rose and Ward broke Isner to take the set 6-3. Into the fourth set and again both players were holding serve another tie break beckoned. This time the Brit took charge and sealed the set with an emphatic 7-3 breaker.

A final set was on the cards, and as has been the want of the Davis Cup and echoing Wimbledon, there was no final set tiebreak. Isner is used to long final sets however, having been involved in the longest final set in Wimbledon history against Nicolas Mahut which finally ended after three days 70-68 to the American in the final set. This final set in Glasgow ended up being an epic match set with neither player getting a break of serve, at 13-13 the Brit held his next service game to take the score to 14-13. Isner again would be serving to stay in the match, with the noise getting even louder Ward kept up the astonishing tennis he had been playing and broke the American to love. Ward had defeated Isner for the second time in a few weeks and more importantly had got Britain 2-0 up.

So, after six years, today Isner broke his British curse and beat the British number two. So the head to head since 2009 now reads Brits 7 – Isner 2 if we include the unofficial events.  Isner did beat another Brit back in 2007 again at the challenger level, so again classed as unofficial which was the then British number one Tim Henman in Washington, however since 2009 the Brits have always taken the victory.

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