United States of America
The quarterfinals of a major are no longer a tall order for six-foot-nine John Isner. The 26-year-old American, playing in just his fifth US Open ever, saw himself through to the final eight men of this year's US Open with a four-set win over Frenchman Gilles Simon on Thursday afternoon on Court 17.
Isner's 7-6 (2), 3-6, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (4) victory put him in the quarterfinals just minutes after countryman Andy Roddick advanced to the same round, marking the first time two Americans had reached this stage of the Open since 2008, when Mardy Fish joined Roddick in the quarters.
In the next round Isner will face No. 4 seed Andy Murray, who owns a 1-0 record against the North Carolina native after beating him in three sets in the fourth round of the 2010 Australian Open.
"I never made a Grand Slam quarterfinal before, so it's definitely up there," Isner said of his achievement. "It feels good to get that one done with and over with."
Isner brings his personal best winning streak (nine matches) into Friday's play, having won a US Open Series event in Winston-Salem prior to the Open. His last loss came to Radek Stepanek in a third-set tiebreaker in Cincinnati last month.
Tie-breakers have been Isner's bread and butter this summer -- and always, really -- registering a 17-5 record since Wimbledon. He is now 119-68 in his career in tie-breakers after winning three of three against Simon.
Isner, the 28th seed, has notched a tournament-leading 77 aces in four rounds of play, including 26 against Simon.
His serve will be key against Murray, as the Scotsman will bring an all-court game and superb netplay into his second-ever US Open quarterfinal.
"It took a toll on me, but I'll be ready tomorrow," Isner said after his four-hour, five-minute encounter with Simon.
Isner, who won four of nine break points against Simon on Thursday, said his return game will be key against Murray.
"You know, he's one of the best returners in the game, so I'm going to have to serve my best. When I do get my chances on the return, I will have to take 'em."