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Isner breaks out tie and tie again
John Isner’s coach at Georgia often talked to him about how to play a tiebreaking set.
“Get one or two points on your opponents’ serve,” Manuel Diaz would always say.
Isner tried to follow his coach’s advice yesterday against second-seeded Tommy Haas in the quarterfinals of the Legg Mason Classic in the District. But at match point in the second-set tiebreaker, Isner’s return was long.
However, in the third-set tiebreaker, the 6-foot-9 Isner used his favorite weapon — his serve — to upset Haas 6-4, 6-7 (6), 7-6 (5). Isner had 30 aces in all, preventing Haas from reaching 400 career wins.
“Once again my serve kept me in the match,” Isner said. “I can’t believe I won in that fashion. I feel like I’m going to wake up any second now.”
Of Isner’s 14 sets this year, eight have ended in a tiebreak, and all four of his matches here have been decided by a tiebreak in the final set.
“I’m not that nervous,” Isner said. “The pressure is on my opponent more than me because they’re expected to beat me. But I never imagined to be put in this situation four times in a row.”
“They should come up with a system that if you’re over 6-foot-6, you’re not allowed to play,” Haas joked.
But Haas did take serious offense to the Hawk-Eye system.
Isner hit a second-serve ace on the center line to reach match point, 6-5 in the second-set tiebreaker. Haas challenged, but the call stood. He also challenged Isner’s ace that made it 5-4 in the third-set tiebreaker. But replays showed it was not a double fault.
“It’s not accurate. I found that out today,” Haas said. “There was a space in between the line and the ball mark. The machine is not a Hawk-Eye because it’s wrong. I’ve heard it’s not accurate 100 percent anyway.”
Isner sees it differently.
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