Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Last of U.S. men flops in fifth set

No rust: Maria Sharapova, who played no warmup events to rest her ankle, has not dropped a set in three matches.

Getty Images

No rust: Maria Sharapova, who played no warmup events to rest her ankle, has not dropped a set in three matches.

MELBOURNE, Australia — For the first time in four decades, there will be no American man in the fourth round of the Australian Open singles draw after John Isner lost to 18th-seeded Feliciano Lopez in the third round Friday.

This is the first time no U.S. player reached the men's fourth round here since 1973, when no Americans traveled to the event.

The 6-foot-9 Isner, playing his second consecutive five-set match, fell 6-3, 6-7 (7-3), 6-4, 6-7 (7-0), 6-1 as Lopez earned a spot opposite No. 2 Rafael Nadal.

"It's very ugly, to be honest, to have no one in the round of 16," Isner said. "… I knew going in today I was the last one left and I wanted to keep on going, but just didn't happen."

Isner lapsed in the last set after dominating the fourth-set tiebreaker. "I just wasn't as sharp as I needed to be," he said. "It just kind of spiraled out of control there, and it just … I couldn't climb out of the hole I dug."

The last American man to win here was Andre Agassi in 2003. And no U.S. man has won a major since Andy Roddick at the 2003 U.S. Open.

Meanwhile, defending champion Novak Djokovic was nearly flawless in a 6-0, 6-1, 6-1 win against Nicolas Mahut in a third-round match early today. Every time Mahut tried to serve and volley, Djokovic would hit the return at his feet, cutting down the Frenchman's options.

In the third round on the women's side, Maria Sharapova beat Angelique Kerber 6-1, 6-2. The fourth-seeded Sharapova, who had been nursing a left ankle injury before this event, has dropped only five games in her first three matches.

She was pushed by Kerber during a long second set, with many games going to deuce.

"She reached the semifinals at the U.S. Open last year so she's been on the big stage before and I knew she could produce some really good tennis," Sharapova said.

Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova was on court for 38 minutes before advancing. The second-seeded Czech was leading 6-0, 1-0 when Maria Kirilenko retired with a left thigh injury.

Vania King, the only other American besides Serena Williams in the Round of 16, lost 6-3, 6-4 to former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic.

An early rematch of last year's women's final is already in place, with defending champion Kim Clijsters and Li Na both winning to set up a meeting in the fourth round. Clijsters advanced with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Daniela Hantuchova. Li didn't finish four games before Anabel Medina Garrigues quit with a sprained ankle.

Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki will next play former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic, who beat American Christina McHale 6-2, 6-0.


Australian Open

TV: 7 p.m. Tennis; 9 p.m. ESPN2

Last of U.S. men flops in fifth set 01/20/12 [Last modified: Saturday, January 21, 2012 12:06am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. For starters: Rays at Orioles, facing another old friend in Jeremy Hellickson


    The Rays take on the Orioles again tonight and will face another old friend for the first time, as RHP Jeremy Hellickson will take the mound for the home team.

    Hellickson was drafted by the Rays in 2005 and pitched for them from 2010-14, then was traded to Arizona. He has since bounced to the Phillies and …

  2. Bucs have chance to beat Vikings in their third stadium


    Here's a cool sign that the Bucs are getting up there as an NFL franchise: If Tampa Bay can win Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, it will mark the first time the Bucs have posted road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.

    TIMES ARCHIVES (2012) | Bucs RB Doug Martin runs during Tampa Bay's 36-17 win at the Vikings in 2012, in what was then called Mall of America Field. If Tampa Bay wins Sunday, it will mark the first time they have road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.
  3. NFL commissioner, players' union angrily denounce Trump comments on national anthem


    SOMERSET, N.J. — The National Football League and its players' union on Saturday angrily denounced President Donald Trump for suggesting that owners fire players who kneel during the national …

    President Donald Trump walks off the stage after he speaks at campaign rally in support of Sen. Luther Strange, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Huntsville, Ala. [Associated Press]
  4. Matt Peca making case for Lightning spot


    Center Matt Peca said he didn't read too much into the fact he was the only Lightning player to appear in each of the first three exhibition games.

    But Peca, 24, loved it.

    Matt Peca won nine of 10 faceoffs Friday, a skill the Lightning badly needs.
  5. Bucs players respond to Trump comments on anthem protests


    President Donald Trump shared his thoughts Friday night on NFL players protesting during the national anthem, suggesting that NFL owners should "fire" players who kneel during the anthem in protest. His remarks are alreading drawing responses from many NFL players, including some Bucs.

    Bucs players Mike Evans and Jameis Winston stand with coach Dirk Koetter during the national anthem in a game played in San Diego last season.