John Isner served 29 aces and rallied to beat Colombian qualifier Santiago Giraldo 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 on Monday in the first round of the Shanghai Masters.
The 14th-seeded American fought off three break points at 5-5 in the third set, then broke Giraldo for the second time to close out the match.
“I started off a little slow in the first set,” Isner said. “I told myself the only thing I could do was keep fighting. I felt like I was serving well, so just try to hold serve as best as I could. That’s what I did.”
Isner could meet Rafael Nadal in the third round.
Nadal, seeded second in Shanghai, supplanted Novak Djokovic as the top-ranked player on Monday, despite losing to him in the final of the China Open in Beijing a day earlier.
Djokovic is the defending champion and seeded No. 1 in Shanghai. He could meet Roger Federer in the quarterfinals.
Djokovic, Nadal and Federer all have first-round byes and aren’t scheduled to play their opening matches until Wednesday. Two-time champion Andy Murray is not playing in Shanghai this year after undergoing back surgery last month.
Isner’s match was one of only a few that could be completed because of heavy winds and rain from the remnants of Typhoon Fitow, which made landfall in southern China over the weekend and blew through Shanghai on Monday.
Isner played under the roof in the main stadium. In the only other singles matches completed, 11th-seeded Tommy Haas of Germany beat American Sam Querrey 6-4, 6-4 without facing a break point, France’s Gael Monfils defeated Japanese qualifier Tatsuma Ito 6-3, 6-2 and Spain’s Marcel Granollers ousted Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic 6-4, 6-4.
In doubles play, Federer teamed with China’s Zhang Ze to beat Kevin Anderson of South Africa and Dmitry Tursunov of Russia 6-2, 6-1 in a first-round match.
• Elsewhere: Stefanie Voegele won the last eight games to beat Klara Zakopalova 5-7, 7-5, 6-0 and advance to the second round of the Generali Ladies in Linz, Austria. …
World No. 1 Serena Williams will try to win three consecutive titles at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, S.C. Organizers said that Williams will return to the Family Circle Tennis Center for next year’s tournament, which will be played from March 31 through April 6. … Top-seeded Jelena Jankovic pulled out of the Japan Women’s Open in Osaka because of an injured left hip. The Serbian received medical treatment in the second set of her 6-2, 6-2 loss to Serena Williams in Sunday’s China Open final in Beijing.
• Soccer: FIFA plans to create an international league table of countries that have problems with racism and discrimination in sports. At a United Nations forum on racism and soccer, FIFA delegate Tokyo Sexwale said the global “barometer” was central to soccer’s governing body’s work to deal with discrimination. …
England will be without left back Ashley Cole for its penultimate World Cup qualifier against Montenegro on Friday. Cole complained of a rib problem during Chelsea’s Premier League victory at Norwich on Sunday and scans Monday confirmed he won’t be fit for the match at Wembley Stadium. But he could be available for the key qualifier against Poland next week after receiving treatment at Chelsea
• Obituary: Marquette University announced that a member of its 1977 NCAA championship team has died at age 57. The university said Gary Rosenberger passed away Monday morning due to complications from a heart attack and stroke he suffered last Tuesday. Rosenberger, a guard, was a four-year letter winner at Marquette and was a graduate of Marquette High School. Rosenberger was also drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1978 in the ninth round. Marquette said a memorial service will be held in Orlando and Milwaukee.