Youzhny survives barrage of aces to beat Isner

New York: Mikhail Youzhny withstood a barrage of 33 aces to topple American giant John Isner 6-4, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 on Sunday and reach the fourth round of the US Open at Flushing Meadows.

"He served well, but I have a lot of chances to break him," said the 12th-seeded Russian, who cashed in four of 12 break point opportunities against the erratic Isner.

Youzhny dropped the second-set tiebreaker 9-7 and lost his first two serves in the next decider before battling back to win three points in a row from 4-3 down and claiming the set with his fourth ace of the match.

The 6-foot, 9-inch (2.06 m) Isner is best known for his record-breaking marathon at this year`s Wimbledon, where he prevailed 70-68 in the fifth set against Nicolas Mahut in a first-round marathon that was the longest tennis match ever.

The 28-year-old Youzhny made sure there would be no fifth set at the National Tennis Center by breaking Isner in the third game of the fourth set and serving it out, finishing the three-hour, 18-minute tilt with a forehand volley.

"He`s mentally tough," said Isner. "He just stayed steady and just outplayed me a little bit."

"He kind of sees my serve pretty well, a lot better than 99 percent of the players out there. So he was able to get a lot of balls back," added Isner, who contributed to his own downfall with 61 unforced errors.

Isner`s defeat left 20th seed Sam Querrey as the last US man standing.

Querrey beat 14th seed Nicolas Almagro of Spain to set up a fourth-round match against Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland, who upset fourth seed Andy Murray of Britain in the biggest shock of the championship.

The center court crowd tried to lift Isner but Youzhny`s steadiness and ability to deal with the towering American`s serve, clocked as fast as 144 mph (232 kph), prevailed.

After the match, the Russian gave his unique salute to the crowd and later said it was his way of thanking the audience.

"I didn`t feel like I played against the crowd. The crowd of course tried to help John but wasn`t against me," he said. "It`s a really nice atmosphere here."

Youzhny, a US Open semi-finalist in 2006, advanced to a round-of-16 meeting against Tommy Robredo, one of six Spanish men in the last 16.

Bureau Report

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