Australian Open 2012: American Men Suffer Early in Fortnight

Gideon ResnickContributor IIIJanuary 18, 2012

Mardy Fish falls early to Alejandro Falla in the Australian Open
Mardy Fish falls early to Alejandro Falla in the Australian OpenScott Barbour/Getty Images

Besides John Isner's belabored win over David Nalbandian in a five-set battle, which ended in a 10-8 final set, the American men had a rough day down under on Tuesday.

Highest-ranked American men's player, Mardy Fish, surprisingly lost in a three-set second-round match to Alejandro Falla, hitting 58 unforced errors along the way. Upstart but perennial let-down Donald Young lost in four sets to Slovakian Lukas Lacko. Finally, crowd favorite Bernard Tomic beat Sam Querrey in four-set second-round match. 

The only Americans left standing are John Isner, Ryan Sweeting and the veteran Andy Roddick.

Isner is already through to the third round, where he will face tricky Spanish lefty Feliciano Lopez, the apple of Andy Murray's mother's eye. If Isner gets through this match and Nadal doesn't absolutely melt down against Lacko, the two will face each other in the fourth round.

Ryan Sweeting has an unbelievably difficult second-round match ahead of him as he prepares to face the scrappy Spaniard David Ferrer.

As for Roddick, he will be taking on an old foe in Australian Lleyton Hewitt. Despite Roddick's recent inconsistent play, he has the best chance of the remaining Americans to make a decent run in the tournament.

Sweeting is an excellent player, and Ferrer has years of Grand Slam experience on him and plays a fast, aggressive game on the hard courts. Isner needs to bounce back quickly from his marathon match to prepare for not only Lopez, but the King of Clay that could await him in the next round. With Nadal's knee tendon injury hindering him in ways that are unobservable as of yet, Isner has a shot at exploiting him with his monstrous serve. However, Isner will have to contend with the fact that Nadal will wear him out and make the lanky giant move. 

In the event that Roddick moves past Hewitt and wins a fourth-round match against Miles Raonic or Philipp Petzschner, he could face Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals. 

American men's tennis has been lackluster in the years since Roddick has fallen out of the top ten, with a slew of new players attempting to fill his shoes. Isner may already be a great player, but if he begins to move better, he has a legitimate opportunity to reclaim the throne for the Americans. Roddick is definitely on his last legs, but despite all the times that he has been eliminated from the fight, there is still a lot of fight left in this dog.