Kudla wins five-setter, fellow American Isner still playing at Wimbledon

One day prior to July 4 in the United States, it might as well have been American day in London. Two matches went the five-set distance on Thursday and both involved Americans. Denis Kudla outlasted Santiago Giraldo and John Isner is still in progress against Marin Cilic.

Kudla may be ranked outside the top 100, but his success is not exactly coming entirely out of nowhere. The 22-year-old played two grass-court Challengers last month, finishing runner-up in one and winning the other. As such, Giraldo would not have underestimated his opponent after Kudla dismissed Pablo Cuevas and Alexander Zverev during rounds one and two, respectively.

The Colombian showed signs of ending Kudla’s run, but the wild card–who recovered from two sets down against Cuevas–mounted another comeback. Kudla dominated the fourth and broke early in the fifth en route to a 6-2, 6-7(3), 2-6, 6-1, 6-3 triumph.

Isner, meanwhile, is fortunate to still have a chance of matching Kudla’s five-set heroics and joining him in the second week at the All-England Club. The world No. 17 took the fourth set against Cilic in a tiebreaker, bounced back from a quick break deficit in the fifth, and saved a match point later in the decider. Isner also held from 0-30 down at 9-10 before play was halted due to darkness.

Among those enjoying a much simpler day at the office were Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka, and David Goffin. Djokovic rolled over Bernard Tomic, Wawrinka took care of Fernando Verdasco, and Goffin crushed Marcos Baghdatis.

The world No. 1 held all 14 of his service games while firing 15 aces compared to just one double-fault. He disposed of Tomic in a mere one hour and 32 minutes to set up a date with Kevin Anderson.

“I managed to get a lot of returns back in play,” Djokovic assessed. “I think I executed tactically everything I intended before the match to move him around the court, mix up the pace, not really give him the same look. I think overall I played a really, really good match.”

“He was playing very good,” Tomic said of the top seed. “It just shows you why he’s the best. [In] those tough games, the score looked a lot closer than it was. It was very close in moments, but somehow in those big points he just gets that…I can’t even describe it in words. To get to that level, you need to work hard.”


* Goffin blows out Baghdatis, must reach quarterfinals to climb above No. 13.
* Anderson takes care of Mayer, needs upset of Djokovic to improve from 14th.
* Gasquet trounces Dimitrov, could go as high as 17th with one more victory.
* Kyrgios downs Raonic but could still fall to 40th with QF points to defend.
* Kudla goes distance to reach fourth round, will surge into top 100.

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