It was one giant against another at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday night — with the giant of modern tennis, Roger Federer, posting a straight set victory over the literal giant on the court, 6’10” American ace machine John Isner. That Isner isn’t nicknamed “Tiebreak” remains — after the marvelous longevity of Federer and Serena Williams — the biggest mystery in tennis. The American almost never loses his serve and as a result has played most of the longest matches in history.
The Monday match was true to form, with Federer needing tiebreaks in two of three sets before winning 7-6 (0), 7-6 (6), 7-5. The third set break marked the first time Isner failed to hold serve at the US Open in 110 straight service games, going back two years. Because of Isner’s huge serve, Federer was unable to break out his new weapon, nicknamed SABR (sneak attack by Roger), with which Federer creeps in during his opponent’s toss to pretty much half-volley the return of serve. Tennis fans may see the SABR again in the quarterfinals, where Federer faces Richard Gasquet of France.
Federer’s SABR on video below: