When Mardy Fish went down in the second round of the Australian Open, it ended any realistic hope that the American men had of winning a Grand Slam. With only John Isner and Andy Roddick remaining, it's only a short period of time before that becomes official.
Isner's history at the Australian Open is not a good one. He's never made it past the fourth round, a trend that's not about to stop.
If the No. 16 seed manages to get through No. 18 Feliciano Lopez in the third round, he'll be lined up against Rafael Nadal in the fourth round. Isner's game is not complete enough to beat Nadal, not in Australia.
At Wimbledon or the U.S. Open, Isner's serve would serve him well, possibly even leading to an upset. But the ground in Australia is considerably softer than at the U.S. Open, meaning serves don't make as much of an impact.
Nadal will get Isner's serves back, causing the big American to run around. Eventually, that will wear Isner down. Nadal will knock Isner out in straight sets.
Then there's Andy Roddick, who's also staring at a fourth round elimination. Unlike Isner, Roddick is not out of the second round yet. He'll encounter a tough battle against Lleyton Hewitt who though unseeded, is playing in his home country. Roddick will overcome Hewitt's home- court advantage, but the luck will run out there.
Milos Raonic made the fourth round in his first Australian Open a year ago. He was also dominant in a 6-4, 6-0, 6-2 opening round win. Roddick would have to find a way to get through the youngster in the third round. Chances of that happening are not good, as Raonic is going to be a solid tennis player for a long time.
But even if Roddick does get through Raonic, No. 1 Novak Djokovic awaits in the fourth round. Djokovic has one of the more complete games tennis has ever seen, which explains his 2011 success. At his best, Roddick could steal a set from Djokovic, but nothing more.
When Fish went down in the second round, the highest ranked and most complete American player lost. With that, any chance they had of winning in Melbourne went out the window. If the Americans are going to win a Grand Slam this year, it will have to come at either Wimbledon or the U.S. Open.
It would still take an upset there, but more Americans have the game that can win. Here, Fish was the only realistic chance, and he went down in the second round. That tells you all you need to know about how good the chances ever were.
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