Isner Breaks Murray Duck To Reach Wimbledon Third Round
John Isner fell just short of breaking the record for career aces on Wednesday against Andy Murray, but instead broke his winless streak against the Briton with a 6-4, 7-6(4), 6-7(3), 6-4 victory on Wimbledon's Centre Court.
The American scored his first win in nine meetings against Murray by combining a typically stellar serving performance with clutch returning and an assured display at the net. He returns to the Wimbledon third round for the first time since his 2018 semi-final run.
"At the age I'm at now I need to relish these moments," Isner said after the match finished near 9:30 p.m. local time. "This was one of the biggest wins of my career just given the atmosphere. It was fantastic.
"To play as well as I did against one of our greatest players, Andy Murray, was a huge accomplishment for me. He's a massive inspiration to each one of us in the locker room and we're so lucky to still have him around."
Murray's only break points of the match came in its fourth game. After Isner claimed an early break, he saved a pair of break points in the ensuing game to consolidate. The American had converted just one of 41 break points in his eight previous matches against Murray.
Forty-one was also the number of aces Isner needed to break Ivo Karlovic's world record of 13,728. After hitting 36 in the match, he now stands five aces short of sole possession of that mark, and will expect to reach it against 10th seed Jannik Sinner in the third round.
While Isner created just three break points on Centre Court, he connected with aggressive, deep returns throughout the match and was particularly dialled in during the second-set tie-break, when he won two of his first three return points. Isner also displayed deft touch at net, winning 43 of his 61 net points (70 per cent) by getting his 6-foot-10 frame down low to expertly handle Murray's dipped pass attempts.
Some uncharacteristic Isner errors helped Murray take the third-set tie-break, sending the late-night London crowd into a frenzy. But Murray returned the favour with several unforced errors to drop serve for the second time and fall behind 2-3 in the fourth set.
Asked how he maintained his composure to fend off a Murray comeback, Isner offered a simple answer.
"I served," he said with a laugh. "Thats' really all it came down to. I guess I didn't give him many opportunities to spin his web and get me tangled up in it. Because if I got embroiled in too many rallies with him, this wasn't going to go well for me. I had an incredible serving day and I needed every single bit of it to beat him."
Isner was two games from victory when the Centre Court roof was closed at 4-2, and escaped a 0/30 hole at 4-3 with two aces and two winners. He hit a 138-mph ace — his biggest of the night — to bring up three match points before sealing victory with a drop-volley winner.
The American's 36 aces are the most any man has hit in a match against Murray, excluding Davis Cup matches.
|John Isner||36||Wimbledon 2022|
|Ivo Karlovic||29||Wimbledon 2015|
|Sam Querrey||27||Wimbledon 2017|
|Kevin Anderson||26||US Open 2015|
|Ivo Karlovic||26||San Jose 2007|
|Felix Auger-Alassime||24||US Open 2020|
Did You Know?
Murray and Isner completed the box set of Grand Slam meetings with their maiden Wimbledon matchup. They are the 46th pair of men's singles players to contest at least one match at each major.