ONCE MORE WITH FEELING: Eventually, Britain’s experiment with Brad Gilbert as the land’s prime teaching guru flamed out. Now Paul Annacone announced that he‘ll be leaving the UK as the Lawn Tennis Association’s head coach. But sources say the “human reason” is that Annacone’s wife wants to return to America.
BEST NEW NICKNAME: Big John Isner may have been destroyed by Tomas Berdych in three dreary sets, but he can still boast one of the best nicknames around —” Jisner.” BTW: Isner gave himself the creative moniker. The 25-year old (who continually wears an old, soiled and soulful University of Georgia cap) said his still-improving game won’t peak for another three years. Isner’s distinctive between-the-legs toss to himself (with Novak Djokovic‘s multiple ball bounces) is one of the most distinct service routines since John McEnroe‘s corkscrew offering. Isner told IT that the gesture is based on his one year as a high school hoops player.
WHAT A SINKING FEELING: Double faulting on match point (just ask Nadia Petrova or, for that matter, the great Martina Navratilova).
EASTERN EUROS ROCK: On Thursday, Euros Jelena Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic and Blaz Kacic were all on the three prime show courts at the same time. On Friday, four Russian women were engaged in three-set battles: Elena Dementieva vs. Alexandra Wozniak, Nadia Petrova vs. Aravane Rezai and Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Maria Kirilenko.
DUSK BUSTERS: First the Gael Monfils vs. Fabio Fognini drama-fest goes into the dark at 9:56 p.m., then the Nadia Petrova vs. Aravane Rezai battle went deep into the dusk at 9:40 p.m. with the score notched at 7-7 in the third. Both players failed to convert three match points.
SWEET SATURDAY MATCH-UP: Justine Henin (with seven Slams) vs. Maria Sharapova (with three).