Tennis

John Isner, Tomas Berdych find positives despite semifinal losses at Miami Open

John Isner, the highest-ranked U.S. man, tracks down a backhand against Novak Djokovic.
John Isner, the highest-ranked U.S. man, tracks down a backhand against Novak Djokovic. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

John Isner knew he was in for a tough night playing world No. 1 Novak Djokovic on Friday in the Miami Open.

He expected nothing less. And he got nothing less.

But on the positive side, Isner held his own until the first set went to a tiebreaker, that he lost 7-3.

“I gave myself a chance and didn’t win the tiebreaker,” said Isner, who is the top-ranked U.S. player in the world at No. 24. “It was a little bit deflating. When he won that first set, I felt like he just became so much looser.”

Djokovic went on to win the match 7-6 (7-3), 6-2 to advance to Sunday’s 1 p.m. final against Andy Murray.

“In the second set, he played very well,” Isner said.

Overall, Isner said, “It was a good tournament for sure,” and he should move up in the world rankings.

However, rankings are small consolation.

“I’m not happy about the result [Friday night],” Isner said.

TOUGH STRETCH

Tomas Berdych was tired, and it wasn’t just because of the hot sun and humid conditions he encountered during his 6-4, 6-4 loss to Murray in the afternoon men’s semifinal.

Mainly, he was tired because both the Indian Wells tournament in California and the Miami Open — back-to-back events — are basically two-week tournaments that sap the strength.

“It’s been very long as usual,” said Berdych, 28, who is from the Czech Republic. “It’s the longest two tournaments that we have, and it’s a really hard part of the year. I think it was a solid two tournaments for me.”

Next goal for Berdych: “Recharge myself,” he said.

Then, in quick order, he heads across the ocean to play in Monte Carlo, Madrid and Rome.

“Then there’s a week to prepare followed by playing in Paris [French Open],” he said.

He did not blame his loss to Murray on being tired, though. In fact, he ventured that Murray might have outsmarted him.

“Andy changed the game plan a little bit,” said Berdych, who entered the match with a 6-5 lifetime advantage on Murray. “He has started to play much more aggressive in the last two matches he has played me. I just need to prepare better for the next time I play him. Now I know what to expect, and I just need to be more ready for it.”

SERENA AND NO. 1

Serena Williams, who plays for the women’s championship against Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro at 1 p.m. Saturday, has been ranked as the world’s No. 1 player for a total of 234 weeks.

That puts her in fourth place all-time.

Ahead of her are Steffi Graf (377 weeks), Martina Navratilova (332 weeks) and Chris Evert (260 weeks).

Behind her and rounding out the top 10, for you true tennis fanatics and historians, are Martina Hingis (209), Monica Seles (178), Justine Henin (117), Lindsay Davenport (98), Caroline Wozinacki (67) and Victoria Azarenka (51).

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