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

Rafael Nadal lost to John Isner in two tight sets

Team Europe got off to a great start against Team World at the inaugural Laver Cup in Prague 2017. The European stars dominated the individual action on the black court, claiming five wins out of six. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal delivered their first double in the final encounter of day two to put Team Europe ahead 9-3.

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

Nadal did his best to stay in touch but lost ground in the closing stages of both sets and ended up on the losing side. The Spaniard earned a break and gave serve away twice to push the rival over the top. John started aggressively and broke Rafa in the first game of the encounter after the Spaniard’s double fault.

Rafael Nadal lost to John Isner in Prague in 2017.

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

Rafa served well to stay within a break deficit and John served at 5-4 for the opener. Raising his level on the return, Nadal placed a backhand crosscourt winner to earn a break and seal the score at 5-5. Isner started over and broke Nadal in Game 11 at 15 after the rival’s loose forehand.

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

John held at love 3-3 in game six and repeated it in the next game to hold the score at 4-4. Rafa caught a break point in game nine and denied it with a service winner. The Spaniard held with another to take a 5-4 lead and keep his chances alive.

Still, the American was too strong behind the first shot, delivering good holds after good holds and setting up a tiebreak in game 12 after an ace on the T-line. John earned an early mini-break and opened a 3-0 lead with a boom serve.

Nadal was 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, starting a huge cheer with his teammates.

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