McDonald: Isner v. Tiafoe Was The Grandstand’s First Classic

It was nice to see John Isner in mid-Open form today.

The No. 20 seed always seems to do this. He always takes a gimme and makes it kind of tough.

And he seems to love going five sets.

It’s almost as if he’s paid by the point.

But, this Open, Isner didn’t wait until later in the tournament to get his five setter out of the way. He just did it in the first round just eking out against fellow American Frances Tiafoe, 3-6 4-6 7-6 6-2 7-6.

“The atmosphere was amazing.  You guys saw it,” Isner said. “Standing room only in that fifth set. The crowd was going nuts. A lot of people were cheering for (Tiafoe) and rightfully so.

“But it’s definitely up there. I feel like I was due. I’ve lost a number of close matches this year, so to be able to pull that one out feels really good. And in the way I pulled it out feels especially good, so.”

And now the New Grandstand has its first classic match. It only took two matches to give it that Open feel.

So, sure it was a good idea to put Isner on there.

It’s also a great learning experience for the 18 year-old Tiafoe, the youngest player in the draw. Although he came out on the losing side here, the youngster made a name for himself in these five short sets.

“As I said before, I’ve lost a lot of close matches this year in final-set tiebreakers,” Isner said. “You have to try to learn from it, even though it can sort of scar you up, as you said. But you have to try to learn from it. You have to try to stay positive and stay the course and know that it will turn around.

“I know with how I play, very good chance I’m going to be in that situation a lot. Maybe not at a Grand Slam like this, but, you know, I just stuck with it. I was confident in that fifth set icebreaker. I really believed I was going to win it.”

As did Tiafoe, who said, “toughest loss of my career so far for sure. But, you know, think I’m getting over it now a little bit. I mean, not much to really say. It’s tough. I was so excited serving for it 5-3; the crowd is going nuts; I’m going nuts. You have so much adrenaline going.

“Come up a little short, it hurts. But it’s against an experienced player. Me and John are great friends. It was a good battle and I had a lot of fun today.”

As it was for the 8,000+ spectators who watched on the New Grandstand.

About the Author

Joe McDonald

Joe McDonald is the founder and former publisher of NY Sports Day. After selling to i15Media in 2020, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief and responsible for the editorial side of the publication. In the past, Joe was the managing editor of NY Sportscene magazine and assistant editor of Mets Inside Pitch. He has covered the Mets since 2004.

Get connected with us on Social Media