Laver Cup Flashback: Rafael Nadal falls to John Isner in two tight sets

Rafael Nadal falls to John Isner in two tight sets

Team Europe made a great start against Team World at the inaugural Laver Cup in Prague 2017. The European stars dominated the singles action on the black court and earned five out of six victories. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal delivered their first double victory in the last encounter of the second day to push Team Europe 9-3 in front.

Alexander Zverev defeated Sam Querrey on the final day for 12-6, and Rafael Nadal had a chance to seal the trophy for Team Europe. Rafa faced John Isner and suffered a 7-5, 7-6 loss after an hour and 28 minutes. It was one of the career-best performances for Isner, firing 23 aces and dropping ten points behind the initial shot!

Nadal gave his best to stay in touch, but he lost ground in the closing stages of both sets to finish on the losing side. The Spaniard earned one break and gave serve away twice to push the rival over the top. John made an aggressive start and broke Rafa in the encounter’s first game after the Spaniard’s double fault.

Rafael Nadal lost to John Isner in Prague 2017.

The American fired an ace in game two to save a break chance and confirm the advantage. Isner held at love in game four for 3-1 and repeated that with an ace in game six to maintain the lead.

Rafa served well to remain within one break deficit, and John served for the opener at 5-4. Nadal raised his level on the return and placed a backhand crosscourt winner to grab a break and lock the result at 5-5. Isner started all over and broke Nadal at 15 in game 11 following the rival’s loose forehand.

John held at love in game 12 to wrap up the set, taking eight of the last nine points to gain a boost ahead of set number two. Nadal landed an ace at 1-1 in the second set for a hold at love, and Isner followed that pace behind the initial shot.

John held at love in game six for 3-3 and repeated that in the next one to keep the result locked at 4-4. Rafa experienced a break point in game nine and denied it with a service winner. The Spaniard held with another to move 5-4 in front and keep his chances alive.

Still, the American was too powerful behind the initial shot, delivering one good hold after another and introducing a tie break after an ace down the T line in game 12. John earned an early mini-break and opened a 3-0 lead with booming serves.

Nadal found himself 4-1 behind, and Isner gained a 6-1 advantage with his 23rd ace. Returning in the eighth point, John converted the first match point with a volley winner at the net and started a massive celebration with his teammates.

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