American John Isner fired a 135 mph (218 km/h) serve to the outside of the ad box. Gilles Simon stretched to get a racket on the serve from the 6-foot-10 American. He popped the ball into the air and Isner started shuffling back as he took the pop up as an overhead. Simon placed a soft shot back to Isner's forehand. Isner returned it for a winner and the match to tie Davis Cup action between the U.S. and France at 1-all.
The match was played on clay at the Monte Carlo Country Club in France.
The first few sentences out of Isner's mouth in a courtside interview after the match told about how much he loves clay. Isner went on to talk about his playing condition.
"I woke up this morning feeling pretty good," Isner said. "I had a great night of sleep and a good week of practice. I was ready to play today. Fortunately, today I put a good effort out there."
That's because Isner didn't want to know what a 2-0 hole would be like to try and get out from underneath.The Americans had already lost one match. Teenager Ryan Harrison, who took the spot of top American Mardy Fish who had a "health scare" earlier this week, lost in four sets to the best Frenchman, Jo Wilfried-Tsonga.
No. 6 ranked Tsonga defeated the 19-year-old American 7-5, 6-2, 2-6, 6-2.
Harrison, who is currently ranked No. 66 in the world, had only one Davis Cup match previously in the U.S.'s 5-0 blowout of Swiss last month.
Like Harrison, Simon was called up for the French after Gael Monfils suffered an injury. Simon has never beaten Isner.
Courier said he understands why.
"John's a different player from a year ago," Courier said in a court side interview after Isner's match. "I'm just glad Idon't have to deal with him. I'm glad he wasn't playing back in my day because he's such a beast out there. John does what he does well. It doesn't even matter who is on the other side of the net. "
The Americans and the French return to action tomorrow when the Bryan brothers play in the doubles match.
"It's a luxury to have the Bryans but the French team is very, very tough as well," Courier said. "We're going to be coming out here tomorrow with the hard hats on."