State of the Americans At The BNP Paribas Open
As of Sunday, John Isner is the only American man left in the draw at the BNP Paribas Open. As the eighth seed, Isner received a bye in the first round and faced qualifier Alexei Popyrin in the second round. He won that match 6-0, 6-2. This has left him largely untested in the unique conditions with high-flying and slow-moving balls. His greatest success at the tournament came in 2012, when he reached the final. He lost that match to Roger Federer 6-7(7), 3-6. In 2018, he had some of his worst results in the tournament when he met Gael Monfils in the Round of 64 and lost in three tough sets. In his attempt to redeem himself for the early exit last year, he next faces Guido Pella. Tuesday the two will vie for a spot in the fourth round. The two have played one time previously. Pella beat Isner on Rio de Janeiro’s clay courts with a narrow 7-6(5), 5-7, 7-6(8) victory.
Other American men have not fared well at the tournament this year. Riley Opelka, Bradley Klahn, Denis Kudla, Tennys Sandgren, Donald Young, Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe, and Ryan Harrison all lost in the first round. Bjorn Fratangelo, Sam Querrey, Steve Johnson, Mackenzie McDonald, and Jared Donaldson failed to make it past the second round. UCLA’s Marcos Giron reached the third round, but fell to Milos Raonic 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. The match lasted almost two hours with Giron creating plenty of opportunities and saved 9/12 break points. With a 19 and 6 record this season, the 25-year-old Southern California native is a player to keep your eye on going forward.
For his part, Giron is still disappointed that he did not take advantage of some openings he had, was proud of his achievements in the desert this week: “Overall, looking back on it, it still hurts. Even though [Raonic was] the big favorite, it still hurts to lose. Being up a break in the third, it kind of really gives me confidence and belief in my game. Overall this has been a fantastic week coming through quallies, having my first two top 30 wins. Well, Chardy 33 and then De Minaur. So looking back, it's still a terrific week, and especially the support that came out today for the match, it was amazing. Everybody is cheering when I'm walking out. It kind of makes me enjoy what I do, and I appreciate it.”
American women have had a little more success, with Danielle Collins, Venus Williams, Christina McHale, Serena Williams, and Jennifer Brady all making the third round. There were significant upsets early on though, when Madison Keys lost to Mona Barthel 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 and Sloane Stephens lost to Stefanie Voegele 6-3, 6-0 both in the second round. Amanda Anisimova failed to make this her big breakthrough, losing to 6-4, 6-2 to Elise Mertens. Serena Williams was a big contender, as she is in any tournament she enters, but after a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Victoria Azarenka, she fell sick with an unspecified viral illness and withdrew from a match against Garbiñe Muguruza at 6-3, 1-0.
Danielle Collins lost her third-round match to top seed Naomi Osaka in a 6-4, 6-2 defeat on center court.
Venus Williams advanced to the Round of 16 with a 6-2, 7-5 victory over fellow American Christina McHale. This makes Williams the last American woman remaining in the draw, she faces Mona Barthel next.