Isner Upsets Rublev In Madrid

  • Posted: May 06, 2021

John Isner knocked out sixth seed Andrey Rublev 7-6(4), 3-6, 7-6(4) at the Mutua Madrid Open on Thursday. The World No. 39 moves into his second quarter-final appearance of the season and faces Dominic Thiem for a place in the semi-finals.

“I’m very happy,” Isner said. “I wasn’t the better player out there today; I did win the match. My serve kept me in it. There’s a reason he’s won so many matches this year.”

Until Madrid, Rublev had advanced to the quarter-finals or better in all seven of his tour-level appearances and entered his second meeting with Isner with a 27-6 match record in 2021. Isner had won their only previous ATP Head2Head meeting in Miami six years ago.


The upset marks Isner’s first Top 10 win since beating Alexander Zverev at the Laver Cup in 2019, and his first Top 10 win at an ATP Masters 1000 event since winning the Miami crown in 2018.

“It’s perfect serving conditions out here, especially on this court,” the 36-year-old said. “It’s got a nice sound, kind of like an indoor court. I can’t ask for anything better. “

Isner hit 28 aces inside Arantxa Sanchez Stadium, bringing his total for the week across three matches to 88. It’s the 61st time the American has won a deciding tie-break (61-49), and it’s his second in a row after beating Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 6-7(4), 7-6(6) on Wednesday.

Against Rublev, Isner racked up 21 winners in the first set to Rublev’s 11 as neither player saw a break point opportunity. Isner took early control of the tie-break for 4/0 and closed it out 7/4.

Rublev would pick up his level in the second set to extend the rallies and he capitalised on his first break point for 2-1 as well as another break point at 5-3. Rublev converted on 100 per cent of his chances in the set while Isner managed just five winners. When the third set ultimately went to a deciding tie-break, Isner jumped on the first lead for 5/3 and it would be enough to seal the victory.

Thiem leads the ATP Head2Head Series 2-1 against Isner but they haven’t faced off since 2017. Thiem topped Alex de Minaur earlier on Thursday 7-6(7), 6-4.

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