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August 3, 2007

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2007 Legg Mason Tennis Classic
Washington, DC, USA - August 3, 2007
Photos by Pablo Sanfrancisco
Commentary by Ray Bowers


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The amazing run of John Isner remained the prime story of this Legg Mason. Today the 6-9, 22-year-old from University of Georgia collected his fourth victory of the week, all of them ending in third-set tiebreakers. His opponent on this quarter-final Friday was Tommy Haas, the tournament #2 seed, who returned to action here in Washington for the first time since an injury-related withdrawal at Wimbledon.

Once again, Isner's key to winning was his potent serve, which consistently measured in the 120's and 130's and occasional surpassed 140 mph. Thus his serving velocity was slightly lower than that of several others in the tournament, but the serves were especially difficult to handle effectively given their high bounces--an effect from Isner's unusually high point of launch. John finished with a total of 30 aces, against his opponent's 19.

Haas played with good confidence and self-control. He generally returned serve from 10-12 feet behind baseline, often satisfied to bunt back returns in hopes of initiating long exchanges, where Tommy's polished ground game seemed likely to prevail. Tommy lost the first set but strengthened to reach tiebreak in the second. Midway in that tiebreak, Tommy moved in closer to baseline and began trying to return John's serve with more authority. These changes partly explained the erasure of John's early mini-break advantage and Tommy successful conclusion of the tiebreaker.

The third-set tiebreaker was also a nail biter. The serving player lost only one point in the twelve points played, but it was enough for another narrow victory by Isner. As in his earlier victories, the tall American's composure and determination at critical moments seemed remarkable.

 
[WC] John Isner (USA) d [2] [WC] Tommy Haas (GER) (white shirt, no stripe) 64 67(6) 76(5)
 
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