October 31st, 2014
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Top seed John Isner has blazed his way to the quarter finals of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships.
The tall, hard-serving American has enjoyed fantastic success at the event having won it back to back in 2011 and 2012. This is a grass court tournament which he has excelled at, because despite having such a massive weapon in his serve, it’s never quite come into play as much as it should have on grass throughout his career. But the number one seed is looking to head towards his third Newport title.
With a 13-3 record at the event heading into this season’s tournament, he is the standout name in the field. The only other previous winner of the event, Nicolas Mahut is also back in the quarter finals in his title defence. So with having proven his winning touch at the event, there has been plenty enough reason to back the American in the tournament again. But since a win at the start of the season in New Zealand, and a couple of semi final places in the following four events, he hasn’t gotten anywhere close to landing an ATP title, so he is certainly due on and this looks to be a great shot for him.
Isner, ranked 12th in the world, now takes on fellow American Jack Sock in the quarter finals. The two had squared off three times before and Isner has won on each occasion, including a victory on clay this year in Nice, France. So he has the momentum behind him against the youngster and is running as strong favourite to move through the final four where he would go up against either third seed Lleyton Hewitt or sixth seed Steve Johnson. It was against Hewitt that Isner won the title in the 2012 final.
World number 76 Jack Sock won the Wimbledon doubles crown with Vasek Pospisil, knocking out the Bryan brothers in the Championship match. Still at 21 years old, Sock has made some decent strides this season, his best singles performance being a run to the final of Savannah, Georgia on clay. While he tasted Doubles success at Wimbledon, his singles run was stopped in the second round against Milos Raonic. So he will go as the underdog in this all-American clash.
It has all been smiles so far in Isner’s straight forward progress to the Newport quarter finals and he even tossed out the first pitch at a Red Sox game on Tuesday. The 6’ 11” Isner’s biggest threats in the field are Ivo Karlovic, Lleyton Hewitt and Nicolas Mahut but in his sixth appearance at Newport, Isner is the headlining act and looks a good shot to live up to that billing.