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Isner serving up Top 10 upsets at Miami Open

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April 3, 2015 11:43 AM

By McCarton Ackerman, USTA.com

John Isner has rebounded brilliantly after a slow start to 2015, recording back-to-back-to-back victories over Top 10 seeds to advance into the semifinals of the Miami Open.

The No. 22 seed easily defeated world No. 11 Grigor Dimitrov (the No. 9 seed in Miami)  in a third-round contest on Monday, 7-6 (2), 6-2, and his play only continued to improve from there. In an epic match that featured three tiebreaks and no breaks of serve, Isner next outserved world No. 6 Milos Raonic (and No. 5 seed) in a fourth-round match on Tuesday on Stadium court, 6-7 (3), 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5).

On Thursday, Isner put on a clinical performance in the quarterfinals by dispatching world No. 5 and reigning US Open champion Kei Nishikori, the fourth seed in Miami, 6-4, 6-3. The win marked the first time that Isner defeated a Top 5 player since 2013, when he beat world No. 1 Novak Djokovic at the Emirates Airline US Open Series event in Cincinnati. 

Isner credited his new coaching relationship with Justin Gimelstob, which commenced at the beginning of that year, with providing a different voice that has helped his game.

"I'm not that much of a thinker. I'm just more instinctual out there. He sees the math of the game," said Isner after his win over Dimitrov. "He knows players' tendencies and weaknesses inside and out from calling so many matches and just being around the sport for so long. He has the right information to give me at all times."

The top-ranked American man has been flawless on serve so far this fortnight. He has yet to drop serve in four matches and has only faced five break points throughout the tournament.

Next up for Isner is another match with Djokovic in the semifinals. Although the reigning Australian Open champion leads their head-to-head by 6-2, both of Isner’s wins over him have come on American hard courts. 

Editor's Note: Isner lost in the semis to Djokovic, 7-6, 6-2.

 

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