Top seed Isner into Newport quarters

BY foxsports • July 11, 2012

Top seed and defending champion John Isner advanced to the quarterfinals at the Hall of Fame Tennis championships Wednesday with a 6-2, 7-6 (2) win over Frenchman Nicolas Mahut

Two years ago, the pair played for 11 hours, 5 minutes at Wimbledon in the longest match in tennis history, with Isner finally getting a 70-68 fifth-set victory.

This one didn't have nearly the drama as Isner used his overpowering serve to take charge. It ended when Mahut double faulted, ending the match in 1 hour, 18 minutes.

Last year, the pair met again at Wimbledon, with Isner winning in three sets in a match that lasted about two hours.

Second-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan also advanced to the quarterfinals, outlasting Olivier Rochus from Belgium 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-2, while Isreali Dudi Sela beat American Sam Querrey 5-7, 7-6 (6), 6-2.

Rajeev Ram, the 2009 Newport champion, beat fellow American Michael Russell 7-6 (8), 6-3 and Izak Van Der Merwe of South Africa beat American Jack Sock 6-4, 6-4.

In the late match, former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt of Australia, playing on a wild card, beat American qualifier Tim Smyczek 6-4, 2-6, 6-1.

Isner broke Mahut in the first game of the match and again in the third en route to a 4-0 lead. He closed the first set in 31 minutes, getting aces on the final three points.

''From the moment I warmed up today I knew I was going to play better,'' said Isner, who struggled in his opening-round match Tuesday. ''Getting that first match over yesterday helped a lot — even though it wasn't the prettiest of matches.

''Next year's Wimbledon we'll probably see each other,'' he said, smiling when his news conference ended.

Isner had 13 aces in the match.

Nishikori, ranked 18th in the world, held a 5-0 lead in the tiebreak before losing the first set. He threw his racket to the ground twice as he headed to his chair for a break.

''It's always tough when you have set point and you lose the set,'' he said. ''I just tried to forget the first set and concentrate on each game. Luckily I got a break in the third game. I was able to keep my fight going.''

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