American tennis has not seen a male player win a Grand Slam singles title since 2003, when Andy Roddick defeated Juan Carlos Ferrero to win the US Open. After the events of today in the first round of the 2012 Davis Cup in Switzerland, that trend might end sooner than most thought.
John Isner had a convincing four-set victory over one of the greatest players of all time, Roger Federer, in his home country. It is one of the biggest upsets in recent memory in the sport of tennis.
After jumping out to a quick lead, Federer looked to be in control of the match. He appeared to be well on his way to a relatively easy victory to even the tie at 1-1 for Switzerland.
Instead, Federer played an extremely poor service game in the middle of the second set, allowing Isner back into the match. Even after the one set-all score, many people felt like Federer would regroup and take the match in four sets.
The third set was played close throughout, and Isner managed to take it in a well-played tiebreaker.
The events of the fourth set, however, will not soon be forgotten. After going down 0-40 on his serve at 2-2, Isner took absolute control of the match, hitting Federer of the court.
Isner would not lose another game, closing out the four-set win with a backhand return winner. Not only did he give the United States a great chance to advance to the next round of Davis Cup, he also completed the biggest win of his career.
It was the first win for Isner against the big three in men's tennis of Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. He had lost a five-set match to both Djokovic and Nadal in recent years but finally got over the hump today.
Add in the fact that Federer was playing in his home country and on a surface that he grew up with (clay), and this win could propel Isner to great things.
Isner's success with an aggressive game style against Federer should prove to him that it's the only way he should be playing. His big serve will always make him a factor, but if he hits his groundstrokes the way he did today, he will be on a different level.
Isner is already ranked No. 17 in the world and does not have many points to defend over the next several months. It is not a stretch to say that he could finish 2012 ranked in the top ten in the world.
Most important for the big-serving American is the confidence he must have gained from this monumental win. He now knows he has what it takes to stay with the big boys on the big stage.
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