Isner continues ascent with win over Harrison

Alex Smith/BB&T Atlanta Open

John Isner says that he really loves to play at the BB&T Atlanta Open. The 33-year-old has won it five times. While the top players don’t go there, still, there are enough very good competitors to make it a fun stop to kick off the US Open Series.

When Isner is mentally down, he can lose against the top dogs, but when he is into it, he can jump over almost anyone.

Isner defeated Ryan Harrison 5-7 6-3 6-4, a very close match. Both of them – especially Isner – have big serves. But, the real question is who will return well and deep. Fortunately, over the last four months, Isner has returned just a little bit better, which is why he won Miami, and he reached the semis at Wimbledon. He is ranked No. 9 and possibly — and I mean possibly given that it took him so long to reach a Grand Slam semis — he could go very deep at the US Open. First, there are some very important tournaments, such as the ATP 1000s at Toronto and Cincinnati. These 1000s can carve up all but the best. Almost of the top players will be there, except for the great Roger Federer, who won’t play Toronto. His body isn’t ready yet.

Isner is playing again this week, in Washington, but skipping his hometown tourney in Winston-Salem again. The DC is a 64 draw, and they have decided to use 16 seeds. Come on people, how about just 8 seeds, and make it even more exciting, even earlier. The No. 3 Alexander Zverev is the top seed and defending champ.

This is a strong field for a 500 with Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori, David Goffin, Hyeon Chung and … Nick Kyrgios, who just retired, two days ago in Atlanta.

US Open Series starts for women in California

Over in San Jose, which used to be at Stanford for many years, and it was many fine matches, some incredible ones. This week, both of the Williams sisters  will play, as will top-seeded Garbine Muguruza,  Vika Azarenka, Madison Keys and Elise Mertens, among others.

On Tuesday, Serena Williams has to face Jo Konta, which should be fascinating because both of them will say that they are not playing great this season. Serena returned in March due to the birth of her daughter, and former top-10er Konta has been up and down on court. For the most part, Konta has been shaky. But, if she can focus and not think about why she is overhitting, she can be more effective.

If Azarenka wins today against Kateryna Bondarenko — and that is not an automatic as the veteran is pretty smart — she would play Muguruza on Wednesday night. Both of these two have won two Slams, so while on certain days they get frustrated and lose, still, when they are feeling just fine, they can crush the balls and touch the lines. If they meet, that is.

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