NEW YORK – Once again, John Isner’s trip to Flushing Meadows ended in the third round. Once again, it happened with a loss to Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber at that stage.
And once again, there are zero American men in the U.S. Open’s round of 16 – something that never happened until last year at the country’s tennis championship, which was first played in 1881.
On a windy, cloudy evening, the 13th-seeded Isner hit 42 aces, saved all five break points he faced – and yet it wasn’t enough. Unable to capitalize on plenty of chances, and surprisingly outplayed in a trio of tiebreakers, Isner lost to the 22nd-seeded Kohlschreiber 7-6 (4), 4-6, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (4).
It was the third year in a row that these two men faced each other in the third round in New York, and Kohlschreiber won them all. He eliminated the big-serving, 6-foot-10 Isner in five sets in 2012, and in four sets in 2013.
The 29-year-old Isner is best known for winning the longest match in tennis history, an 11-plus-hour marathon spread over three days that ended 70-68 in the fifth set at Wimbledon in 2010.
Currently, he is the only U.S. man ranked inside the top 45, and has made clear he does not necessarily enjoy that distinction.
Earlier Saturday, 57th-ranked Sam Querrey – entering the day, the only other man from the host country remaining of the 12 originally in the draw – put up little resistance while bowing out against No. 1 Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.
Kohlschreiber now will face seven-time major champion Djokovic in the fourth round.
In other fourth-round matchups established Saturday, it will be No. 3 Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland, the Australian Open champion, against the winner of Saturday night’s match between No. 16 Tommy Robredo of Spain and 19-year-old Nick Kyrgios of Australia; 2012 U.S. Open champion Andy Murray of Britain against No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France; and No. 5 Milos Raonic of Canada against No. 10 Kei Nishikori of Japan.
Wawrinka advanced when his opponent, 92nd-ranked Blaz Kavcic of Slovenia, withdrew because of pain in his right foot shortly before they were supposed to play.
Given Isner’s history against Kohlschreiber at the U.S. Open, it’s tough to call that result surprising, even if the American is ranked higher and is 4-0 against the German everywhere else they’ve played.
Look to the women’s event for all the “Did that really happen?” results. In the latest of a series of stunners, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova was sent home with a 6-4, 6-4 defeat against Aleksandra Krunic, a 21-year-old qualifier from Serbia who is ranked 145th.
That means that the women seeded 2, 3 and 4 behind No. 1 Serena Williams are all gone before the end of Week 1.