NEW YORK – Trying to extend his stay at the U.S. Open, John Isner smacked a return winner, then pointed his right index finger toward the Louis Armstrong Stadium stands and circled his arm overhead, riling up the fans.
Two points later, sprinting so far he nearly reached the seats, Isner hit a forehand that closed a point, punched the air and shook his fists, doing his best Jimmy Connors imitation. Minutes after that, Isner cupped his hand to his ear, basking in the chants of “U-S-A! U-S-A!”
The highest-ranked American man finally heard the adulation he had been hoping for a couple of days earlier, when he lamented that so many spectators cheered so vociferously for Gael Monfils of France. What the 13th-seeded Isner failed to do in return Saturday was deliver a victory in the third round at Flushing Meadows, meaning only one U.S. man remains of the 15 in the field.
Isner even blamed those exuberant attempts to stir the crowd for his struggles down the stretch of a 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) loss to 22nd-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany.
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“I felt like I wore myself out getting charged up out there,” Isner said after bowing out against Kohlschreiber in New York for the second consecutive year. “I used too much energy, and I shouldn’t have done that. It was stupid on my part. So I was pretty gassed there.”
No such concerns about getting tired for Roger Federer. The 17-time major champion from Switzerland beat 63rd-ranked Adrian Mannarino of France 6-3, 6-0, 6-2.
Aside from Isner, the other U.S. man in action Saturday, 20-year-old Jack Sock, was beaten 3-6, 7-6 (7-1), 6-1, 6-2 by No. 18 Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia.
So the last man from the United States left is Tim Smyczek, who plays 43rd-ranked Marcel Granollers of Spain in the third round Sunday. If Smyczek loses — a distinct possibility, considering he is ranked 109th — it will be the first time with zero U.S. men in the round of 16 at the country’s championship first played in 1881.
“I don’t care,” Isner said. “I’m going to watch football for a while. That’s all I care about.”