WHAT HAPPENED: No. 22 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany wasn't able to earn a single break of serve against No. 13 seed John Isner, who fired an incredible 42 aces, but still managed to dash the home crowd hopes of having an American man in the second week by prevailing in their third-round match in Louis Armstrong Stadium, 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 7-6.
The win marked the third consecutive year that Kohlschreiber has beaten Isner in the third round of the US Open, which is even more surprising given that Isner has won their four other career matches elsewhere.
The opening set was typically Isner-esque, with both players trading fairly easy service holds to start the match. The American held a set on Kohlschreiber’s serve with the German serving at 5-6, but dumped a forehand into the bottom of the net. Ramping up his level of play in the tiebreak, Kohschreiber hit a nifty drop shot winner to grab an early 3-2 lead and rode that momentum to eventually clinch the set.
The No. 22 seed suffered a letdown in opening game of the second set by dumping a backhand volley into the net in the opening, giving Isner an early break of serve. That lone window was all Isner needed as he continued to hold serve easily to level the match at one set apiece.
Isner earned a break point opportunity at 5-5 in the third set, but the German saved it with a forehand winner. The set eventually went to another tiebreak, but the American produced a surprising display of poor form, hitting five consecutive unforced error to gift a commanding lead to Kohlschreiber.
Kohlschreiber finally earned his first break point opportunity at 1-1 in the third set, but had no say in the matter when Isner saved it with an ace. He then had break point opportunities to try and serve out the match at 5-5, but Isner saved them all with clutch serving.
WHAT IT MEANS: With this win, Kohlschreiber advances into the second week of the US Open for the third consecutive year. The 30-year-old will now be seeking his first quarterfinal appearance in New York when he plays Novak Djokovic in the fourth round.
Djokovic leads their head-to-head 4-1, but the German’s lone win against the No. 1 seed came at a Grand Slam; he easily defeated the Serbian in the third round of the 2009 French Open. Djokovic has won their last three matches since then, but Kohlschreiber has taken a set off him in each encounter.
In a losing effort, Isner's 42-ace performance tied for the second-most in an Open match since the stat was officially counted starting in 1991 (Ivo Karlovic also hit 42 in a second round match in 2008). The top mark belongs to Richard Krajicek, who hit a whopping 49 in his quarterfinal appearance in 1999.
THE QUESTION: Do you think Kohlschreiber has what it takes to beat Djokovic?