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Our Big Guns v. Their Big Guns

August 25, 2012 | 04:49 PM

In the semi-final showdown in Winston-Salem before the OK Coral in Flushing starts Monday, we got a sign whether America's IQ Brothers, Isner and Querrey, are ready to carry US hopes next week.

Isner, the #3 seed, was facing #1 seed Tsonga, while Querrey took on 2 seed Berdych.

John came in with a 2-1 record against Jo, having beaten him earlier this year on clay. Sam is 1-1 with Tomas.

Winning either or both of these match-ups would breathe new hope into American men's tennis. Both men are at an age where they should be coming into their prime, something John seemed to doing earlier this year with wins over Fed, Joker and Jo, and a move into the top ten. A final between IQ would have the McEnroe Brothers and Brad Gilbert gushing. Losing both would be dispiriting, to say the least, and might even shift the focus back on to Mardy and Andy. Eyes would again comb outside courts at Flushing for signs of the future. Hopes for an upset by Harrison, Young (over Fed in the 1st round), Sock, Johnson, would grow more feverish.

As it happened, we got a split:

- Isner outdueled Jo in a 3rd set breaker (7-3), firing 24 aces on the way; how close was it? Margin was 2 points.

- Q wasn't so competitive with Berdych, who took him out 6-4,6-3. In the final today v Berdych, John won another 3rd set breaker (11-9), this time with 22 aces and a 1 point margin of victory. After the first set, he never faced another break point and converted on the one chance he earned (to take 2nd set 6-4).

Where does this leave American hopes in the men's draw?

In Nevada, to start with our best long shot to win, Isner is at 50:1, Fish at 80:1 and Roddick at 100:1. These odds will improve as they move through the draw, especially if seeds are upset in their quarters.

Isner's draw puts him in a weak quarter with #8 Tipsarevic and #4 Ferrer:

- Ferrer will have to play himself out of a summer

- Tipsareic and Isner are 1 and 1 lifetime; john beat him in the 4th round of the Olympics this month, and lost on hard in 2009.

Betfair odds make Ferrer a slight favorite over Isner to reach the semis in the Joker half. At 8:1, this would be one of the better bets to take at the start.

Sam Q wasn't so lucky with his draw, and no odds would make it attractive: if he wins 2 rounds he'll get a re-match with Berdych in Tsonga's quarter and Fed's half.

Rick


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