U.S. future breaks even

Harrison drops 5-set match, but Isner advances

September 04, 2010|By Diane Pucin, Tribune newspapers

NEW YORK — Ryan Harrison, an 18-year-old from Louisiana with a well-developed all-court game that includes a willingness to play volleys after his serve, played his first-ever fifth set Friday on the Grandstand Court at the U.S. Open.

As the crowd roared, Harrison tried to win one of the three match points he earned himself in an end-game tiebreak.

He couldn't. Harrison's 36th-ranked opponent, Sergiy Stakhovsky, caught up to his inexperienced opponent and pulled out the match 6-3, 5-7, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (6).

But the way Harrison played, full of aggression and creativity, offers hope that the U.S. has another generation of men who might challenge in major tournaments.

Still on course to challenge for this one is John Isner. The Georgian, 25, who will always be tagged as the man who won the 11-hour, 5-minute Wimbledon match, served 14 aces on his way to a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 win over Switzerland's Marco Chiudinelli.

During his second-round match at Louis Armstrong Stadium, Isner said he could hear the cheers coming from next door. He knew Harrison must be doing something good.

"You couldn't help but listen," Isner said. "I wanted to see the score."

Unseeded Ana Ivanovic was a happy winner.

The 22-year-old who was ranked No. 1 in the world in 2008, the year she won the French Open, was predicted to become a considerable force. But Ivanovic, ranked 40th now, has struggled with injuries and a loss of confidence as her ranking plummeted.

Friday, though, she earned a solid 7-5, 6-0 victory over France's Virginie Razzano, and also a spot in the fourth round against second-seeded and defending champion Kim Clijsters. Clijsters, after trailing 3-0 early, won 12 straight games and beat Wimbledon semifinalist Petra Kvitova 6-3, 6-0.

Also advancing were third-seeded Venus Williams, who crushed Mandy Minella 6-2, 6-1, and top-seeded Rafael Nadal, who beat Denis Istomin 6-2, 7-6 (5), 7-5.

Saturday's featured matches: Fourth-seeded Jelena Jankovic against 31st-seeded Kaia Kanepi; 14th-seeded Maria Sharapova against 18-year-old American qualifier Beatrice Capra; Paul-Henri Mathieu vs. second-seeded Roger Federer; James Blake against third-seeded Novak Djokovic; 12th-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova against fellow Russian and 23rd-seeded Maria Kirilenko; top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki against Yung-Jan Chan and 19th-seeded Mardy Fish against Arnaud Clement.

dpucin@tribune.com

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