The next generation of U.S. men’s players were on display Monday at the Masters Series-Cincinnati in a week where Top 10ers Andy Roddick and James Blake became the ONLY AMERICANS RANKED IN THE TOP 50.
American qualifier and former NCAA champ Amer Delic continued his fast-start-slow-finish progress, this time against No. 11 seed Ivan Ljubicic, blitzing the Croat 6-1 in the first, narrowly losing a second-set tiebreak, then losing 6-3 in the third. Delic is reportedly in the market for a coaching addition which could make a huge difference in getting over the top in matches where he more than challenges Top 20 players.
Wildcard John Isner’s much-awaited appearance after running to the Washington final came up short (Get it, short? It’s funny because he’s tall!). The 6-foot-9 bomb-dropper served adequately but was otherwise flat, making numerous groundstroke errors and struggling to get forehands and backhands past the service box in a straight-set loss to No. 16 seed David Ferrer.
Wildcard Sam Querrey saved the U.S. contingent from going 0-4 on the day, toughing out a three-set win over France’s Marc Gicquel.
With Delic at 6-foot-5 and Querrey at 6-foot-6 joining the 6-foot-9 Isner, the American men could be in for a big future. (Get it, big? My eyes are tearing up! Did you just fall out of your chair?). Roddick is 6-foot-2, the Bryans are 6-foot-3 and 6-foot-4; the USTA needs to look into what these kids are eating and mass-duplicate the diet in their high-performance training camps. Except Andy’s late-night Taco Bell run at Indy that truly resulted in a run…out of the semifinals.
The future looks promising, but the reality is that now U.S. men’s tennis is on par with the American women, who have no one even near the top except Serena and Venus. If champions do come around in cycles as everyone loves to say, the U.S. needs to start pedaling.
Up Tuesday on the U.S. men’s watch: Mardy Fish (USA) vs Radek Stepanek (CZE), (9) James Blake (USA) vs. (Q) Alejandro Falla (COL), (3) Andy Roddick (USA) vs. Fernando Verdasco (ESP), and (WC) Robby Ginepri (USA) vs. Jonas Bjorkman (SWE).
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