The Championships started today, and each day of the fortnight, we're going to highlight one particular match that stood out. Today's match is Alejandro Falla vs. John Isner
Alejandro Falla def. John Isner 6-4, 6-7 (7), 3-6, 7-6 (7), 7-5
Coming into this match, John Isner was slumping. Since his remarkable early spring, where he won two huge Davis Cup matches and reached the final of Indian Wells, beating Djokovic in the process, he's been on the slide. A very disappointing end to the clay court season was punctuated in Paris, where he lost 18-16 in the fifth set to Paul-Henry Mathieu, in a match he certainly should have won. Today he played Alejandro Falla, who is best known for almost pulling off the upset of the century when he served for the match against Roger Federer in the 2010 Wimbledon first round. He lost that match, but his name almost went into the tennis history books. Many pundits believed this was going to be very tough for Isner, but most expected him to pull through.
The first set was surprising, as Isner dropped serve early on and could not get the break back. The second set continued the run of great play from Falla, and Isner was looking to be in deep trouble. He held onto his serve though, and in the tiebreak Falla got a bit tight, and Isner capitalized by winning it. The third set was as routine for Isner as it can be. He got the break and didn't drop serve. It looked for awhile there that this would end up being routine for Isner after the rough start, but the fourth set showed he couldn't quite finish the match. His serve was still huge, but he couldn't make any dent on Falla's serve, and it cost him. In the tiebreak Isner had a couple great opportunities late, but he couldn't win those points, and Falla hit a great return on set point to take the match to five sets.
In the fifth set it looked as if Isner might be involved in another Wimbledon marathon, as for the first 10 games the server held comfortably. Then, at 5-5, Isner held two break points, looking great in the proccess. Once again, he couldn't win that crucial last point, let Falla hold serve, and then in the next game something curious happened. Isner seemed to stop trying. He spun in a few serves and Falla took advantage, breaking him for the match. It was an incredibly disappointing match for Isner, as he seemed to falter both physically and mentally. It's a huge setback for him. More than anything, he seems to need rest.