Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

'iVIOLATED'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

France's Iliad considers fresh offer for T-Mobile

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Back to school!

Read more

WEB NEWS

USA: Thousands pay tribute to Michael Brown

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Is Carla Bruni against a political comeback for Sarkozy?

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put to the test (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put to the test

Read more

ENCORE!

The French Maestro of Soul

Read more

FOCUS

US tobacco giants want lion's share of e-cigarette business

Read more

  • NATO plans new 'spearhead' force to counter Russia

    Read more

  • Arab media strike back at IS Islamists – with cartoons

    Read more

  • US military targets Somalia's al Shabaab Islamist group

    Read more

  • Monaco’s Falcao leaves Ligue 1 for Man Utd

    Read more

  • UN backs Iraqi request for inquiry into IS militant crimes

    Read more

  • French education ministry picture sparks racist abuse

    Read more

  • Obama calls for higher wages amid 'revving' US economy

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine’s children return to school as fighting rages on

    Read more

  • Americans detained in North Korea call for US help

    Read more

  • US urges Israel to reverse West Bank land seizure

    Read more

  • Lesotho PM calls for regional peacekeeping force after ‘coup’

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces retreat from Luhansk airport after clashes

    Read more

  • Teddy Riner, France’s unstoppable judo champion

    Read more

  • Death toll rises in Paris apartment building blast

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces free Amerli in biggest victory over IS militants since June

    Read more

  • Anti-govt protesters briefly seize Pakistan's state TV

    Read more

  • French police arrest hungry hedgehog hunters

    Read more

Sport

US on par with France after Isner victory

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-04-06

John Isner brought the US to a tie with France, 1 – 1, after beating Gilles Simon in the Davis Cup quarterfinal on Friday. Saturday’s doubles match will pit Frenchmen Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra against American brothers Bob and Mike Bryan.

AP - John Isner brushed aside Gilles Simon 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 as the United States drew level with France in their Davis Cup quarterfinal on Friday. The Americans needed a strong performance from Isner after Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had earlier beaten the inexperienced Ryan Harrison 7-5, 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 to give France a 1-0 lead.

Simon, who was called up to replace the injured Gael Monfils this week, has never beaten Isner and could not cope with his big serve. Simon struggled throughout on his own service game too, on outdoor clay at the Monte Carlo Country Club.

Saturday’s doubles between Bob and Mike Bryan and the French pair of Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra could prove crucial in deciding which team reaches the semifinals.

Isner hit nine aces and 53 winners and broke Simon’s serve four times. Simon, who is now 0-3 against Isner, had 15 winners but failed to convert any of his five break point chances.

The 11th-ranked Isner took a grip on the match when a double break put him 4-0 up in the second set. With the crowd watching on in resignation, Simon got only a ripple of applause after finally holding to make it 4-1. The third set was more competitive, but Simon failed to take his chances when they came - including one at set point.

With Isner trailing 3-2 and 15-40 down in the sixth game, Simon’s two-handed backhand flew into the net. Isner was 30-40 on his next service game but saved break point with a clinical smash for 4-4.

Simon kept chipping away and, when Isner missed an easy volley at the net, Simon got his chance to pull back a set with Isner on his second serve. But the American kept his cool, and his forehand winner down the line got him out of danger.

The momentum had turned back in Isner’s favor, and his volley on the run gave him break point in the 11th game. After some great defending at the net, he took it to lead 6-5 and easily closed out the match. Neither team is at full strength.

Simon was a late call up for the injured Gael Monfils, while Harrison replaced ninth-ranked Mardy Fish when he pulled out with fatigue earlier this week.

Earlier, the sixth-ranked Tsonga found it tough at times against the 19-year old American, who was playing in his first meaningful Davis Cup match. Harrison’s aggressive shot-making forced Tsonga to hurry shots as he tried to shorten the rallies early on.

“I hope I play better in my next game (against Isner on Sunday),” Tsonga said. “I had to battle and it worked out quite well for me. Despite losing that third set, I still tried to play my own game.” Tsonga broke Harrison in the 12th game to take a laborious opening set in 54 minutes, then began to find his range as Harrison’s temper frayed. “His major weakness is that he is very, very nervy,” Tsonga said.

“I knew that if I held on longer than him it would be to my advantage.” Captain Jim Courier spoke with Harrison after the American smashed his racket into the ground following his double fault that gave Tsonga a 3-1 lead in the second set.

“I never (usually) double fault that much, which is funny,” Harrison said. “The sun was against me on that side, and so was the wind.” Harrison, ranked 66th and with only one Davis Cup match to his name - a meaningless dead rubber in the 5-0 thrashing of Switzerland in February - was far from intimidated and applied the early pressure. But when Tsonga broke in the fourth game of the second set for 3-1, Harrison took it out on his racket, whacking it so violently into the ground that the frame bent into a right angle.
It didn’t go unnoticed.

“You look at him and think ‘OK, he’s not feeling great,'” Tsonga said. It prompted Courier, the former two-time French Open champion, to have a gentle word with Harrison.
Courier then offered a sympathetic ear to the player at the end of the second set, nodding while Harrison spoke as they plotted a way to get back into the match.

“I agreed with him that my balls were landing a bit short, and that (Tsonga) was playing the match on his own terms,” Harrison said. Their chat seemed to work, with Harrison sweeping Tsonga aside in the third set, breaking his serve three times.

But Tsonga drew on his experience and regained control of the match in the fourth set, taking Harrison’s serve with a smash and then holding for a 3-0 lead that left the teenager with too much to do.
 

Date created : 2012-04-06

  • DAVIS CUP

    Hope yet for France at Davis Cup after Spain defeat

    Read more

  • DAVIS CUP

    Spain ease to 2-0 lead over France

    Read more

  • TENNIS

    France heads into semi-final of Davis Cup

    Read more

COMMENT(S)