It was a stunner in the first semifinal today at the BNP Parisbas Open in Indian Wells, California. Top ranked and defending champion Novak Djokovic was shocked by American John Isner 76, 36, 76.
Isner slammed 20 aces and used his 6-foot-9 frame to continue to baffle Djokovic with his powerful serve.
“It’s frustrating when somebody serves over 70% of the first serves in with that and with that angle and with that speed and accuracy,” lamented Djokovic. “But, still, I played him before. I knew I had to stay patient and just wait for the chance. I had some chances. I didn’t use them. But I thought I played a really good match. He played very well when he needed to, so all the credit to him.
“It’s a lot of pressure knowing that somebody serves that well. You need to win your service points, especially when you get to the tiebreak. But this time I was unlucky, and he executed his shots and he took his opportunities and went for it. He deserved it, you know. He didn’t wait for it, he went for it.”
Djokovic had an early break but couldn’t close out the first set when he served for it at 5-4.
“The match could have gone a different way if I held him 5 4 first set,” Djokovic said. “I played a bad game and had a bad call challenge. The match turned around. I thought I was returning his serve really well in the first set and finding my range. Then after that, he started when he broke me in 5 4, he started believing more that he could win.”
Djokovic had won twice before against Isner, but today he just couldn’t solve the Isner serve when he needed to the most.
“You have to judge by yourself as the match goes on if you want to be aggressive on the groundstrokes or you want to be patient,” said Djokovic. “So you kinda have to have a little bit of both, a little bit of variety. You know, I had third set couple of times 30 All and some chances really where I was in the rally, but he came up with some incredible groundstrokes winners, and that’s it. You know, I have to shake his hand and congratulate him for the win.”
Djokovic will now set his sights on a Miami Sony Ericsson Open defense starting next Saturday.
“It’s still I think a week to my first match, so I’m gonna take some time, regroup,” Djokovic said. “I feel physically well. I think I’m playing equally well. It’s semifinals. I mean, this match could have gone either way, really. I’m confident ahead of the Miami tournament.”
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