Isner Put on Ice by Popsicle; Venus Beaten at Rogers Cup
by Staff | August 7th, 2013, 1:03 am

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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26 Comments for Isner Put on Ice by Popsicle; Venus Beaten at Rogers Cup

Dan Martin Says:

Isner’s success in the US and struggles outside of the US either suggest a mental block or weak draws in US events. Indian Wells 2012 was a tough draw for him, so it can’t all be home cooking can it? My picks for today

skeezer Says:

Will be interesting to see what Jerzy will do this HC season.

Youz over Roanic?

M Says:

“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.”

Actually, I wouldn’t.

People do get tired. I can’t imagine Big John was yet accustomed to the stamina it takes to perform in tournament after tournament at the same level.

@Dan Martin –

“Isner’s success in the US and struggles outside of the US either suggest a mental block or weak draws in US events.”

And/or how about simple fatigue? Sometimes these things aren’t a binary either/or.

SG1 Says:

Isner, Raonic etc. have limitations in their game. When you have limitations, there’s always the potential to lay an egg. It can happen even when you don’t have holes in your game but it’s less likely.

SG1 Says:

I don’t see how Rapnic gets by Youzhny. I just don’t. Raonic has the big serve but once he’s moving or pulled off the court he is error prone and generally ineffective.

I watched him hit backhands yesterday and I have to say that it’s a serious weakness. Even on his forehand, there is a lot of arm and wrist action (unlike say Novak who hits in a connected way…shoulders, arm, wrist all working together seamlessly).

SG1 Says:

Didn’t see the Pospisil match but I have seen him play. He may not have Raonic’s serve (who does?), but the rest of his game (and his agility) are much better.

Gordon Says:

As for fatigue, let’s not forget while Isner was in Washington on Sunday Pospisil was winning the title in Vancouver in a tough 3-setter. (That was 3 time zones away) He doesn’t seem too fatigued today, knocking off Stepanek in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4, taking the final game at love.

Yes – there is more to men’s tennis in Canada than Raonic’s serve.

Thangs Says:

/*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.”*/

I want to be in limelight always…I want to increase my popularity in any kind of stunts..

the DA Says:

Well that was messy but Andy gets through in straights. Gulbis next


See Margot, I told you it’d be premature to give up the murraycoaster season ticket yet ;)

Now let’s see how Rafa does after the 6 week break.

Giles Says:

@ Thangs. Lol. Yep, whatever it takes!

Margot Says:

@The DA
Just posted on other thread. Disagree, thought Andy, like curate’s egg, very impressive in parts.
Espec that forehand and ROS.

the DA Says:

@Margot – But I want the whole egg! Especially with Gulbis lying in wait. There were good moments but – oof – those DFs and 45 UFEs. Call me picky ;)

Margot Says:

Lol Da
If only wishes were fishes.:)
Rust + wind = UE’s

Dan Martin Says:

M – I think you are right about fatigue in terms of winning and being a runner-up over 2 weeks and then the first match of the 3rd week. It is however curious that 6 of Isner’s 7 titles came on US soil and 7 of his 8 runner-up finishes have also come on US soil. 13 out of 15 finals reached falling inside of the US is interesting is all. I am sure the surface in Montreal was similar enough to Atlanta and DC that the French did not throw him. I know fatigue is the likely reason for his loss yesterday. Clay is the reason he loses a lot in Europe no matter what happens in Houston. Correlation may not = causation but it can = an attempt at a humorous observation.

holdserve Says:

Muzza is always a slow starter. He will demolish Gulbis and Delpo.

Steve 27 Says:

American male tennis players sucks!
at least, Roddick was not as limited as Isner, Querrey, Fish, Ginepri, Harrison and other mediocre players from the USTA.

Brando Says:

I wouldn’t worry about Andy’s tennis too much. First match back he was always going to be rusty. Andy was what I wanted to see: and he looked all business. I liked what little I saw.

the DA Says:

@ Brando – We’ll see. I know he needs to be a bit sharper to handle Gulbis. We all know what Gulbis is capable of on a good day. Good news is Andy got some more tennis under his belt in the doubles….and just won that match too.

Also, Jerzy scrapes past Dancevic to set up a potential popcorn match against Rafa. That should be fun.

El Flaco Says:

Told ya Haas would burn himself out early in this tournament.

Brando Says:

@the DA: I agree. Murray v Gulbis, Rafa v Jerzy: that’s some popcorn shopping for yours truly to do!:-)

Giles Says:

Rafa says the court is very fast and the balls are weird and very light, flying in the wind.

the DA Says:

^ And the balls are going to change at Cincy (Penn) and then again at USO (Wilson). It’s nuts. Many players aren’t happy about it. They should stick with the same ball for the entire US Open Series.

Brando Says:

Really? Different balls? WTF? Didn’t we have similar episode like this in the past? I cannot remember what swing but I’m sure similar nonsense occured in the past. This is just beyond stupid. A case of: sponsorship deals> common sense. Again!

the DA Says:

@ Brando – Maybe you’re thinking of the clay swing. I know there was a switch from Dunlop to Babolat balls at RG in 2011 which caused Djoko, Ferrer and Muzzah to voice their concerns. I say standardize the sponsorship deals for specific swings.

skeezer Says:

@Dan Martin,

Roanic beats Youz ;)

Not trying to rub it in…but…..was surprised at that pick. The others all made sense to me. Its not that I think Roanic is THAT good, he for sure has big holes in his game, but on a good serving day they ( Isner and Roanic ) can hang with anybody. Was just most but surprised you picked him to lose so early. Youz has hardly been consistent the consistent guy on tour throughout his career.

skeezer Says:

@the DA

“They should stick with the same ball for the entire US Open Series.”

Absolutely. And for all surfaces. They let the flood gates open when they decided to tinker with the balls on ALL surfaces. What a dark black hole they have opened up. There is no need to re invent the tennis ball. Play with the same ball all the time. You have to adjust, just like court surfaces.


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