No. 1-seeded John Isner never really thought he'd be where he is today. When he finished playing college tennis at the University of Georgia, he told himself that success would be breaking the top 100 in the ATP.
Now, the world No. 13 and second-best American is leading the best into the tournament in Delray Beach. On the first day of play, Isner outlasted wildcard entry and fellow countryman Jesse Lavine, 6-4, 7-6 (17-15).
It took a second-set tiebreaker that lasted 27 points for Isner to seal the win, but we are talking about the the man who played in the historic marathon match at Wimbledon. Despite no tiebreaker in that match on grass two years ago, Isner is now 9-1 in tiebreakers in the new year.
Known for his wicked serve, one that even Rafael Nadal studies, Isner served 13 aces to Lavine's two. His fastest was clocked at 136 mph in the first set. Isner also won 75 percent of his first service points.
From the Miami Herald:
"I served very well, and I was very lucky to win," Isner said. "And to be honest, if I had lost that second set I didn't really fancy my chances in the third. The humidity was really getting to me."