John Isner says his 6-7(5), 6-7(2), 7-6(3), 7-6(5), 6-4 loss to Paul Capdeville during the U.S. vs. Chile Davis Cup tie in March — in which he surrendered a two-sets to love lead – was a wake up call and, in essence, helped turn his year around.
The U.S. recovered to win the Davis Cup tie 4-1 in captain Jim Courier’s debut, and Isner even earned a dead-rubber point in the reverse singles. But the 26-year-old big man says the loss soured the trip to Santiago and provided some new perspective for the remainder of the year.
“That was probably one of the biggest down points of my year so far, going down there and just not playing well and not really able to contribute to the team,” he said. “I lost to a guy ranked pretty low.”
Isner continued to struggle once he returned to U.S. soil, failing to go beyond the fourth round of his first eight tournaments through the spring. All the while, the Capdeville loss stayed with him. But since then he’s won a pair of titles (Newport and Winston-Salem) and reached the final of another (Atlanta), all of which provided some much-needed confidence heading toward Flushing Meadows.
“It all started once I got back to the States,” said Isner, who on Friday advanced to the third round with a relatively easy 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 win over pal and former U.S. Open semifinalist Robby Ginepri, a wildcard entrant. “Once I won a few matches in a row…I knew my game was going in the right direction, because the first five months of the year frankly it was a disappointment.”
And his confidence level?
“It’s as high as it’s ever been,” said the former Georgia Bulldog. “I don’t like to think too much about it, but I’ve won seven matches in a row now…I’m just winning a lot of matches and I’m very, very confident and I feel good. I feel like I’m moving very well, especially for myself. I’m getting to balls and able to get a lot more balls back in play because I’m very comfortable out there.”
Isner will meet another American in the third round on Sunday – Alex Bogomolov Jr., a 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 winner over Brazil’s Rogerio Dutra Da Silva.