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American men in for tough fourth round
John Isner's 7-6 (9), 6-4, 6-4 victory on Sunday over compatriot Alex Bogomolov Jr. completed a lineup of four Americans who will contest the fourth round of the US Open — appropriately the most any one nation can muster. Spain comes next with three.
Mardy Fish will be first into action on Arthur Ashe on Monday when he plays big-serving Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. On Tuesday, it will be the turn of Isner against another Frenchman, Gilles Simon; Andy Roddick will face Spain's fifth-seeded David Ferrer; and Donald Young will get another crack at beating No. 4 seed Andy Murray, something he did this year at Indian Wells.
All four face tough assignments but, for Isner, playing Simon will be a new experience. "I don't really know too much about him," Isner admitted. "I was watching a lot of his match while I was waiting to go on today. He's definitely a counterpuncher, and I won't want to hang around the baseline with him. Today, if you saw (Juan Martin) del Potro, he was winded out there and Simon wasn't even sweating. I'm going to try and keep the points short."
Simon returns well but, aside from Ivo Karlovic, it is unlikely he has faced anything quite so fearsome as Isner's serve. Bogomolov scrapped well in front of an enthusiastic crowd on Louis Armstrong Stadium but found himself leaping and grasping at air as he tried to return some of the high kickers that Isner thundered down into the ad court. Bogomolov never really had a chance with Isner in this form — the 6-foot-9 giant won the ATP title in Winston-Salem last week — but the Russian-born player can congratulate himself on resurrecting his career after years away from the tour. He last had played the US Open in 2005 and had spent some time teaching tennis at the Armory in Harlem.
In the meantime, Young better be on his mettle when he plays Murray because the Scot is out for revenge. After disposing of the Spanish left-hander Feliciano Lopez for the sixth straight time — 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 was the score on this occasion — Murray admitted that beating Young would be important for him, just as defeating Bogomolov in Cincinnati had been particularly satisfying because Alex had given Murray his second first-round loss in two weeks when they met in Miami.
"That was a particularly bad time of the year for me," Murray said. "So yes, it's nothing personal against Donald, but I do want to put the record straight."
There was an all-time Grand Slam record created early in the evening when Sam Stosur of Australia and Russia's Maria Kirilenko played the longest ever tiebreak in women's play at this level of the game — 17-15. The previous longest had been at Roland Garros in 1999 when two French players, Stephanie Foretz and Nathalie Dechy, reached 16-14.
Equally interesting was the fact that Kirilenko created another sort of record that no one could remember occurring before by challenging three calls in the tiebreak — two of them on match point — and being correct on each occasion. It helped her win the tiebreak but not the match because Stosur reimposed her powerful game on the 25th seed and won 6-2, 6-7, 6-3.
The Australian, who is seeded ninth, will meet No. 2 seed Vera Zvonareva in the quarterfinals. Zvonareva, who was a finalist here last year, overwhelmed highly promising German Sabine Lisicki 6-2, 6-3 in a match that was more one-sided than expected.
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