John Isner Hits 29 Aces to Upset in Form Andrey Rublev at Madrid Open 2021

Published 05/06/2021, 11:39 AM EDT
Apr 2, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Andrey Rublev of Russia reacts after missing a shot against Hubert Hurkacz of Poland (not pictured) in a men’s singles semifinal in the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports


Former American No.1 John Isner hit a massive 29 aces on clay court to oust World No.7 Andrey Rublev in the third round of Mutua Madrid Open 2021. Both the players displayed brilliant service performance, but Isner triumphed over Rublev who never faced a breakpoint but also registered  zero aces.

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John Isner triumphs in the first set

The first set was a strict and cagey affair. Both the players had high command over their serves. Returns were also scarce. Isner brought in his best serve game and quickly racked up aces on the clay courts of Madrid. In his first three service games, Rublev gave away just one point. But his returns were not good though, and the set quickly found itself at 3-3.

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John Isner of the United States reacts during his match. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

From one end, Isner had a healthy amount of aces coming through, whereas Rublev’s serve wasn’t being returned much. With this disciplined effort, the set saw no break points as it went to the tiebreaker. Before the tiebreaker, Isner already had 10 aces and Rublev just gave away just three points.

In the tiebreaker, though, Rublev cracked early. His body language seemed a bit lazy and thus the American took a 4-0 lead in the tiebreaker. Continuing his excellent serves, Isner finished off the set by winning the tiebreaker 7-4 and the set 7-6.

Andrey Rublev makes a comeback in the second set

Andrey Rublev reacts during his semi final match against Norway’s Casper Ruud. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

With the efforts of the first set, Isner was the first to crack in the second set. As his first serve percentage dropped a little, it was enough for Rublev to pull through. The Russian improved his sub-par returns from the first set to counter Isner’s second serve. Rublev got the first break of the match at 1-1 and thereafter led the second set.

Having served a tight line, and Rublev gave just three points in the whole second set. He didn’t face a break point and quickly strolled with the set. Isner, while serving at 3-5, lost his footing again and Rublev capitalized to win the set- 6-3. Isner won just 3 points of his second serve, and that issued his downfall.

John Isner repeats the heroics of first set

Rublev continued his solid service in the final set as well. It is that the Russian had maintained a consistent level with his serve that helped him in the match against a big server like Isner. The American saved a break point at 1-2 and barely hung on the game to deny the Russian a break. Isner is known for his service, and he made Rublev know as well. At 3-3 in the final set, Isner had a whopping 23 aces against Rublev’s 0. The tide was again turning in the match.

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As Rublev was growing in the match, Isner produced his aces at the right time to deny any opportunity to Rublev. Hence, like the rest of the match, the final set was tightly contested, and at 6-6, there wasn’t a winner to be found.

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In the tiebreaker, Isner was again strong on his serve. He waited for one mistake from Rublev. Like in the first set tiebreaker, where Rublev faltered on one occasion, her as well at 4-3, Rublev gave a point to Isner on his serve. That was enough for the American. Isner saw a match point at 6-4 and won the match with an ace. The final scorecard read – 7-6(4), 3-6, 7-6(4).

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Bhavishya Mittal

1071 articles

Bhavishya Mittal is a tennis author for EssentiallySports, who is currently pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Manipal University. A former sports editor for The Manipal Journal, Bhavishya has also worked for The New Indian Express. He has a keen eye for many sports but he is a particularly ardent follower of tennis, with a zest to create riveting articles on the ever-evolving sport.

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