Isner Gets Victory After Dimitrov Cracks

Isner Upends Dimitrov

Rolex Paris Masters, France

[8] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) vs. [14] John Isner (USA)

With their head to head tied at 1:1, this match could have gone either way. Their matches have always been highly competitive and have included at least one tiebreak set and today was no exception. Isner is trying to end his season on a high after struggling lately with his knees and Dimitrov, who has already qualified for the ATP Finals, wanted to head to the Finals with a deep run at the last Masters of the season.

Dimitrov won their meeting earlier this year; thus, the momentum was on his side.  However, Isner is no push over and when his serve is working he is a very difficult opponent to defeat. The first set went to a tiebreak and it was a mini-battle, which ended in favor of the American.

The second set was more of a struggle for the American; uncharacteristically, he was struggling with his serve. Serving late in the set to force a tiebreak, Isner double faulted to lose the set. He would have to go the distance in his second consecutive match. Did he have enough left in the tank to get by his opponent?

Things looked really grim for Isner after he went down a break and Dimitrov served for the match. Yet, Dimitrov has a history of cracking under pressure and Isner knew if stayed focused he could get an opportunity to get back in the match despite the score (down 4-5 in the third set). He did, as Dimitrov could not serve out the match and was broken. The disappointment of failing to close things out lingered and as usually happens after a mental collapse; Dimitrov lost his focus and his belief.

Although Dimitrov held serve to force a tiebreak, he was unable to fight off the resurgent Isner and the American won 7-6(10), 5-7, 7-6(3) to advance to the quarterfinals.

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