No American men reached the fourth round of the U.S. Open for the first time, capping a rocky Grand Slam season for a group struggling to make an impact on tennis' biggest stages.
Tim Smyczek, a wild card ranked No. 109, was the last of the 15 U.S. men standing when he took the court for his third-round match Sunday, his deepest run at a major. But the 25-year-old from Wisconsin couldn't hold a 4-1 fifth-set lead in a 6-4, 4-6, 0-6, 6-3, 7-5 loss to No. 43 Marcel Granollers.
"I never heard somebody yell out from the stands, 'You're our last hope.' That was new," Smyczez said, smiling.
American No. 1 John Isner (who is ranked 17th) and American No. 3 Jack Sock (No. 86) lost third-round matches on Saturday, while American No. 2 Sam Querrey (No. 31) was upset in the second round. The early exits were nothing new, as no American men advanced to the fourth round at any of the four Slams this year.
Smyczek, however, remains optimistic about the U.S. men's fortunes.
"At the very top of the game, American tennis is a little bit behind where it has been in years past," he said. "I know we got really spoiled with Pete [Sampras], Andre [Agassi], all those guys, and Andy [Roddick] for so many years. But I think it's also a really exciting time because there's five, six, seven guys that are hovering right around [No.] 100 and have a good chance to make a big breakthrough. "I really think we're in a good place. I think that you can expect some guys that are ranked around 80, 90, 100 to really make a jump later this year and in the early part of next year. I think John and Sam are really going to come back in a big way."