The Legg Mason has a tradition of introducing newcomers to the pro game. Two
fresh faces loomed large in this date's action--John Isner of University of
Georgia, and Somdev Dev Varman of University of Virginia, both star performers
in this year's NCAA season.
Isner, 22, is 6-9 in height, capable of generating extreme power in stroking
and, especially, in serving. Against today's opponent, Tim Henman, Isner
frequently clocked first-serve velocities in the 130-mph range to a maximum of over
140. But for most of the first set, Henman appeared slightly superior in all
departments other than in serving. There were a few anxious moments, however,
just before Tim closed out the set.
The conditions were hot and humid, with little circulation inside the heatbox
that was Stadium Court. Little by little, Isner reduced his episodes of inept
play and began increasingly to find the edges with his potent forehand. And
after the second set slipped away to the North Carolina native, Henman began
to look less than fresh. The big serving by Isner intensified during the
third-set tiebreaker, wherein Isner closed out convincingly. Final score: Isner over
Henman 46 64 76, a remarkable upset.