Tennis News Wire -
BNP Paribas Open
Saturday Men's Summary
Singles - Semifinal: (11) J Isner def. (1) N Djokovic 7-6(9-7) 3-6 7-6(7-5)
John Isner had a match point in this contest at 6-5 in the final set. But it was on Novak Djokovic's serve, and Djokovic saved it. That felt like it would be the end. But, somehow, it wasn't. Isner went up in the tiebreak, and although Djokovic managed to save two match points on his own serve, Isner won the first match point in which he had the service. This even though Djokovic had two of the three breaks in the match and also won 11 more points in the match.
Not more ranking points, though. Isner picks up enough to move past Juan Martin del Potro to take the #10 ranking. Win the final and he will be #8 and the #1 American. And even if he loses the final, he'll still get to play the doubles. (That final was supposed to take place on Saturday, but was postponed due to the weather. So Isner will play singles and doubles finals back-to-back, with what the ATP calls "minimal rest.")
Novak Djokovic remains #1, and we would guess he will stay there until Rome at least. But he's looking more and more vulnerable....
Singles - Semifinal: (3) R Federer def. (2) R Nadal 6-3 6-4
This match took place after the Isner/Djokovic match, so both players must have known that the winner of this would be the overwhelming favorite in Sunday's final. But which one would make it? They had a lot of time to think about it, as the start of the match was delayed by rain.
It got worse. They started hours late, and Roger Federer went up 6-4 5-4, match point, serving, 40-30 -- and they halted the match again. How much would that make Federer think? Not enough to stop him. He came back and won the match.
Federer remains #3, and all that waiting around surely won't help him in preparing for the final, but he seems to be playing better now than he has in years. He might have an actual shot at #2 this spring. Possibly even #1, if Novak Djokovic really struggles....