Isner Makes Personal History Against #NextGenATP Popyrin
Never before had Isner lost less than three games in a tour-level match. But the American lost just seven points on serve and broke Popyrin five times to advance in the desert. Isner had triumphed with the loss of three games three times previously.
The 6’10” right-hander, who qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time in 2018, got off to a slow start in 2019, losing his first two matches. But the 33-year-old has made the semi-finals in his three tournaments since (New York, Delray Beach & Acapulco), and he will look to make the quarter-finals in Indian Wells for the first time since 2014.
Isner will next face 32nd seed Guido Pella, who won his first ATP Tour title last week at the Brasil Open in Sao Paulo. The Argentine battled past Aussie qualifier Alex Bolt 7-6(5), 2-6, 6-3 in two hours and six minutes.
Bolt broke Pella twice to take the second set, but the 28-year-old turned around his service games in the decider, losing just one point on his delivery to reach the third round of the BNP Paribas Open for the second time (also 2016).
The Russian, who won the most recent ATP Masters 1000 event, the 2018 Rolex Paris Masters, came from down a break in the decider to triumph after one hour and 41 minutes. Khachanov had not won an ATP Tour match since the Australian Open, and he is now 5-5 on the season.
Khachanov will next face fellow 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals competitor Andrey Rublev. The Russian lucky loser also came through a three-setter, beating Dutch No. 1 Robin Haase 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in one hour and 58 minutes.
Did You Know?
No American has lifted the trophy in Indian Wells since Andre Agassi in 2001. Americans won the tournament every year from 1991-97.