Andy Murray saves two match points to edge John Isner in Cincinnati
MASON, Ohio -- Andy Murray saved two match points to beat defending finalist John Isner 6-7 (3), 6-4, 7-6 (2) to advance to the quarterfinals of the Western & Southern Open on Thursday. Murray will play either Roger Federer or Gael Monfils.
The match featured just one break of serve and was played at a very high-quality through the end. Isner fired 21 aces to 14 for Murray, and he executed off the baseline and at the net with a heightened level of aggression. Isner finished the match with 46 winners to 46 unforced errors, while Murray kept the cleaner sheet, with 27 winners and 21 unforced errors.
"It was a really clean match until the end of the third," Murray said.
Isner's chance came when Murray double-faulted while serving at 5-6, 30-all in the third. Isner set up the point perfectly with an aggressive return and came in behind a heavy approach shot to Murray's backhand corner. But the Brit put a passing shot right at Isner's feet and he put the backhand volley into the tape. He earned his second match point in the game with a big inside-out forehand, but again he could not convert. Murray finally held serve with a forehand pass to set up game point and took the match to the tiebreak on an ace. He then played the cleaner tiebreaker to secure the win.
The match was Isner's best of this summer hard court season, which as seen him win a title in Atlanta before going winless in his next two tournaments. But this should be a confidence-boosting loss for the top-ranked American as he heads home to North Carolina to play the Winston-Salem Open next week.
"Maybe tomorrow I'll look back on it to give me some confidence," Isner said. "I'm playing well and I'm feeling good. It's disappointing to lose."
Watch some of the superlative shot-making from both men below: