Team USA takes the day on centre court

Sponsors’ flags flew strongly for most of Wednesday above centre court in Auckland, but it should probably have been the Stars and Stripes.


It was Team USA’s day at the Heineken Open, with Americans Jack Sock, John Isner, Steve Johnson and Bradley Klahn taking all four victories in the day session on centre court – three of them knocking out seeds.

It took top seeded Spaniard David Ferrer to end the US dominance on centre court, and even the four-time champion lost a set against qualifier Donald Young before winning the night session match 6-7 6-3 6-1.

Johnson had the toughest day, beating former Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis 7-5 6-7 6-4 in a first round match on an outside court in the morning before overcoming fourth seed Kevin Anderson 7-5 6-4 in the afternoon.

Johnson, currently ranked a modest 160, lost his final qualifying match to Klahn on Monday but earned the spot made open by Gael Monfils’ withdrawal as a “lucky loser”, and made full use of it.

“To beat those two guys on the same day is something quite special. I’ll remember that one for a while,” Johnson said.

He now has a quarter-final match against Taiwan’s Yen-Hsun Lu, the only man to beat an American in singles during the day session on Wednesday when he beat Klahn in a three-setter on an outside court.

Klahn earlier beat ninth seed Daniel Brands of Germany in a first-round match.

Third-seeded Isner accounted for Lukas Lacko 7-6 3-6 6-2, but perhaps the most notable victory was the 6-4 6-4 win by 21-year-old Nebraska native Sock over the second seed, world No.12 Tommy Haas of Germany.

Sock’s serve was strong throughout against Haas but Isner says his forehand is his biggest weapon.

“He’s got a world-class shot in his forehand,” Isner said.

“To be successful on this tour it seems you’ve got to have at least one big weapon, and he definitely has that in his forehand.”

Sock will take on Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain in the quarter-finals, while Isner’s quarter-final opponent will be fifth seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany.

Ferrer’s quarter-final opponent is fellow Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, who beat Santiago Giraldo of Colombia in three sets.

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