After winning in Atlanta and losing in the final of Washington in consecutive weeks, you’d think John Isner was among the top players in the world.
But you’d be wrong.
The top-ranked American will drop out of the Top 20 next week, making for no Americans in the Top 20 on the ATP Rankings for the first time — ever — after Tuesday losing to Canadian Vasek “Popsicle” Pospisil 5-7, 7-6(5), 7-6(6) in Montreal in the first round at the Rogers Cup.
Popsicle in the third-set tiebreak made two sick returns off Isner first serves to cap the upset.
“[It] shows a lot in how far Canadian tennis has come along,” said Canuck Frank Dancevic, also a winner Tuesday. “It’s really great to see. It’s been showing up more and more in all the tournaments, all the Grand Slams. There’s just more and more of us starting to go through.”
Also orchestrating upsets on the day were veterans Radek “The Worm” Stepanek outlasting No. 12 Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-3, and Nikolay Davydenko likewise winning in three sets 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 over No. 14 Gilles Simon.
Other first-round seeded winners on the day were No. 10 Tommy Haas, No. 11 Milos Raonic surviving a three-set upset bid by Jeremy Chardy, No. 13 Fabio “The Fabulous One” Fognini coming from a set down to defeat Marcos Baghdatis, and No. 15 Jerzy Janowicz doing the same against Julien Benneteau.
Winners in second-round play were top-seeded Novak Djokovic easing past German Florian Mayer, No. 9 Kei Nishikori struggling past Andreas Seppi in three, and No. 7 Richard Gasquet rolling over Martin Klizan in straights.
Djokovic danced to the song “Get Lucky” on court after the match.
“It was a little agreement I had with my friends when we had vacation time a few weeks ago,” Djokovic said. “This is one of the summer hits. We listened to that song quite a lot. We had a lot of dancing going on. I said, ‘Why not? I’ll do it after the first match in Montreal.’ If I keep on winning, I’ll do it after every match. If I win the next one, you can expect same song but maybe little bit different dance. We’ll work on it.”
On the women’s side in Toronto on Tuesday, the diminutive Slovak Dominika Cibulkova recorded the upset of the day, ousting No. 8 Angelique Kerber 6-7(0), 6-2, 7-5.
“Angelique was putting everything back,” said Cibulkova, who was down 1-4 in the third. “Her defensive game is really good, and I just had to be patient and aggressive at the same time today. You have to go for it.”
Americans had mixed results on the day, with No. 13 Kirsten Flipkens outlasting Venus Williams 0-6, 6-4, 6-2; Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro defeating Jamie Hampton in straights, but Lauren Davis advanced with a win over former world No. 2 Svetlana Kuznetsova 3-6, 7-5, 7-5.
“I think I just sprayed a few balls [in the third set] and got a little tentative,” Williams said of her loss. “I definitely didn’t make the best choices out there, but in general it was really fun to be back out there again, and I’m getting ready for Cincinnati next week…My opponent has been playing awesome this year, and she definitely showed a lot of resilience by fighting back today. It’s never easy to lose a 6-0 set and come back.”
Other seeded winners on the day were No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska, No. 11 Maria Kirilenko, No. 12 Samantha Stosur, No. 15 Jelena Jankovic edging Anna Tatishvili in three, and No. 16 Ana Ivanovic.
Two Canadians also advanced into the second round, with Eugenie Bouchard rolling over Russian Alisa Kleybanova 6-3, 6-1, and Sharon Fichman coming from a set down to defeat fellow Canuck Stephanie Dubois 5-7, 6-2, 6-2.
Matches to watch for Wednesday in Montreal and Toronto are (1) Serena Williams vs. former French Open winner Francesca Schiavone, (6) Petra Kvitova vs. Canadian Eugenie Bouchard, (16) Ana Ivanovic vs. veteran Flavia Pennetta, riser Sorana Cirstea vs. (9) Caroline Wozniacki, German riser Mona Barthel vs. (14) Sloane Stephens, (2) Andy Murray vs. Marcel Granollers, (4) Rafael Nadal vs. (WC) Jesse Levine, Mikhail Youzhny vs. (11) Milos Raonic, (6) Juan Martin Del Potro vs. Ivan Dodig, (WC) Vasek Pospisil vs. Radek Stepanek, (WC) Frank Dancevic vs. (15) Jerzy Janowicz, (13) Fabio Fognini vs. Ernests Gulbis, and (10) Tommy Haas vs. (Q) Marinko Matosevic.
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