Two young left-handed American players met in an unlikely third round match Thursday at the Legg-Mason Tennis Classic here in Washington. VOA Sports Editor Parke Brewer was there and has details.
It was John Isner, 22, against Wayne Odesnik, 21.
Isner is ranked 416th in the world and was invited in as a wild card entry only after world number-six Fernando Gonzalez of Chile pulled out at the last moment. Previously, Isner had played in only one ATP tournament and lost in the first round.
The South African-born Odesnik, ranked 189th, made it into the main draw by going through qualifying. His tour record had been 0-6.
Isner and Odesnik had both scored upsets in their first two matches here, setting up their third round encounter. It could not have been closer, as they played three tiebreakers in a match that lasted two and a half hours. The 2.05 meter-tall Isner prevailed, 6-7, 7-6, 7-6.
"To win three matches in a tournament like this is amazing, obviously," he said. "I wouldn't have thought it. I don't think anybody would have thought it, but it's really been a dream come true so far, and hopefully I can keep it rolling."
Odesnik, who said he is good friends with Isner from junior tennis, said he can't be too disappointed with the loss. "I know I left everything out there and I did my best," he said. "And I'd rather lose 7-6 in the third [set] than 6-0, 6-0. I'm happy with my performance."
Incredibly, John Isner won all three of his matches here in deciding third-set tiebreakers. His quarterfinal opponent will be Germany's Tommy Haas, who advanced with a 6-3, 6-4 win over American Michael Russell.