John Isner has played his way into next month’s Australian Open. Isner won a round-robin playoff in Boca Raton, Florida this weekend to earn the USTA’s wild card.
The big man was lowest-ranked player in a field of four this weekend, but he came up bigger than the rest with a Grand Slam appearance at stake.
John Isner won a wild card from the United States Tennis Association into next month’s Australian Open by winning a round-robin playoff in Boca Raton, Florida, on Saturday. The 6’9’’ University of Georgia graduate defeated Jesse Levine 6-3, 7-5 to improve to 2-0 in round-robin play. Isner outlasted Donald Young in a third-set tiebreaker on Friday.
Young got the best of Wayne Odesnik 7-5, 7-5, improving to 1-1 while leaving Odesnik at 0-2. Had Odesnik won, he would have been 1-1 heading into a Sunday showdown with Isner to decide the winner. Now, however, with Isner 2-0 and owning head-to-head wins over the men with 1-1 records, he has already clinched.
Young, the only one of the four not currently based in Florida, resides in Atlanta and is ranked 138th in the world. Odesnik is the highest-ranked player in the group at 119th. Levine comes in at No. 135 while Isner, who reached an ATP final in Washington, D.C. back in 2007, sits at 145th.
Despite his ranking, Isner has tasted Grand Slam success once before. He won two rounds at the 2007 U.S. Open before taking a set off Roger Federer in the round of 32. This year, however, Isner lost in the first round of all four majors, including a straight-set loss to Fabrice Santoro in Melbourne.