Shanghai Rolex Masters, China
[CR2] Andy Murray (GBR) vs. [CR13] John Isner (USA)
In five tries, Isner has not figured out how to handle Murray’s game. Isner has one of the biggest serve on tour. It often gets him out of trouble; however, it was still not enough to counter Murray’s strategy. In the first set where Murray barely got 50% of his first serves in, Isner was unable to break him and won the first set in a tiebreak. Despite his lethal serve, Isner remains vulnerable to players who can keep the ball short and low. It’s too much for Isner to consistently get low to the ball and inevitably, his opponents wear him down. It’s the same thing over and over again, when you have a higher ranked player against the wall, you need to keep applying the pressure. Isner could not do so and surprisingly, he was the one to lose serve in the match despite the higher first serve percentage.
The subsequent two sets were much the same as the first; however, Murray was able to convert once in each set on his numerous break opportunities to win the match. Although Isner had his own chances to get the break back, Murray repeatedly lulled him into a false sense of comfort only to execute to perfection another effective drop shot. Isner is not known for his mobility and Murray kept him on a string the entire match. Unfortunately for Isner, when he had opportunities to strike, he made costly errors. It was only a matter of time before Isner lost it emotionally. His hat went flying in frustration when he made another unforced error at a crucial moment. Isner could not pull off the upset and despite his promising start, he lost another hard fought battle to Murray 7-6(4), 4-6, 4-6.