MEMPHIS, February 16,2017
The United States is guaranteed a player in the singles semifinals at the Memphis Open presented by ServiceMaster. Reaching the quarterfinals Wednesday were second seed John Isner and Donald Young and they will square off in that round. Isner, a finalist at the Racquet Club of Memphis in 2010, powered down 26 aces before coming back from a set down to defeat Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. Isner explained that having a first round bye was like a double edged sword because his opponent had already got in a groove with a match.
“The main thing is I held my composure pretty good and got an early break in the second and was able to ride it out and the third set was tough,” Isner said. “I really like the conditions – the court is on the slower side and the balls are a bit heavy but I like that. “The tournament has a different feel to me than most tournaments I play. I don’t even need a car, just walk across the street; essentially my hotel room is my locker room. It’s so nice and convenient here. I love it.”
Young turned the tables on Reilly Opelka. They had played once before at the BB&T Open in Atlanta and on that occasion 19-year-old Opelka had the win. After a close first set Young, playing the event for the tenth time, scored his 100th career win 7-6, 6-3.
“It feels good. I’m happy to be here again and put two matches together,” Young said. “Anytime you can win a couple of matches in a row anywhere, particularly in the States, it’s a plus. We need more tournaments like this because we play better here.”
In other results Ryan Harrison continued his impressive form, upsetting third seed Sam Querrey 6- 3, 6-1. 2008 winner Steve Darcis was defeated by Damir Dzumhur 7-6, 6-4, Mikhail Kukushkin defeated German Benjamin Becker 6-3, 6-4.
Becker came into the main draw as a “lucky loser” after his countryman Dustin Brown withdrew with a back issue which he recently sustained playing in Montpellier, France. And Nikoloz Basilishvili swept past Aussie Jordan Thompson 6-3, 6-0.
Day four action will start with the all-US-American match-up between Olympic medallist Steve Johnson the fourth seed and qualifier Tim Smyczek. It will be their second meeting, the last was way back in 2013 and Johnson won. The tallest man in tennis will follow; top seed Ivo Karlovic will take on Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia. Twice they have played. Both occasions were in 2015 and Karlovic is up 2-0. At night Taylor Fritz who won a spectacular match in the previous round from three match points down, will face Australian Matt Ebden who is rebuilding his ranking after injuries forced him off the tour for a lengthy period. On Grandstand, Darian King who came through qualifying rounds and scored an impressive upset over 5th seed Bernard Tomic in the first round will play Kazakh Mikhail Kukushkin.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: John Isner – “I played a sloppy first game and I might make Sports Centre with the shot I missed at the top of the net.”
ACTIVITY OF THE DAY: Slam Dunk! Basketball is a favourite past-time for many of the players and when you have some of the tallest players in the world at your event, it only obvious that hoops is on the card. Ivo Karlovic, Dustin Brown, Max Mirnyi and David O’Hare signed up to attend the Memphis Grizzlies – New Orleans Pelicans game. John Isner, Sam Querrey and Reilly Opelka couldn’t make it much to their chagrin. They had other engagements like playing their matches. Grizzlies veteran Vince Carter, the oldest man in the NBA, presented a pair of his sneakers to Ivo Karlovic, the oldest man in the ATP Top 100.