Tearful Isner retires after epic five-set US Open defeat to fellow American Mmoh

John Isner retired after his defeat to Michael Mmoh in an epic five-set second-round match at the US Open, and was overcome with emotion in his on-court interview.

In an All-American second-round tie, Isner was defeated by Mmoh as he played out his last match in professional tennis.

Isner had confirmed that the US Open would be his last appearance before retirement, after more than 700 career matches.

The 38-year-old had looked on course to progress to the third round when he was 6-3 6-4 up after two sets, with his 6’10” frame helping him close out the second set with another impressive ace.

However, his 25-year-old opponent pulled off an impressive and determined comeback by claiming the third set on a tie-break.

Fittingly for a match against Isner, Mmoh wrapped up the fourth set with a powerful ace of his own, setting the conclusion of a winner-takes-all tie-break in the fifth and after 17 points between the pair, Mmoh took it 10-7.

It was also poignant that Isner’s final match went the distance, in light of his career-defining 11-hour epic against Nicholas Mahut at Wimbledon in 2010.

A tearful Isner reflected on his career, saying: “What my legacy is? I’m not sure. I just want to be remembered most importantly from my colleagues, as a guy that’s pretty easy to get along with off court. I think I’ve had great relationships with the guys before me, my contemporaries, and then the young guys.

“I’m always gonna be in their corner when I’m long gone. I’d just want my legacy to be someone that was pretty affable & easy to get along with.”

Mmoh spoke on court about his opponent, adding a tribute: “I want to give a massive congrats to John. Unbelievable career. Obviously this is a special moment for me but even more special for John. Everything he’s done the last 20 years. He’s been top 20 for 10 years in a row. Stuff like that isn’t easy to do.”

Isner has another roll of the dice on Thursday, with a men’s doubles tie with Jack Sock against Albano Olivetti and Robert Galloway.

Earlier in the day, Jannik Sinner had defeated his countryman Lorenzo Sonego 6-4 6-2 6-4.

The Italian has yet to lose to an Italian opponent in the 10 matches he has played against his countrymen in his career so far.

The world No. 6 broke his opponent to go 5-3 clear in the first set, as he looked to stay in the competition in New York to beat his record last year when he exited in the quarter-finals.

Sinner dropped a mere 10 points on his serve, and was aggressive at the net. At the start of third set, Sinner prevented his opponent from taking a point on his service game as Sinner pushed further forward with each return, leaving Sonego well back behind the baseline and struggling to resist.

The 22-year-old reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon last year, while Sonego’s best performance was a fourth-round finish at the French Open.

“We work a lot, me and my team, trying to push myself forward and I feel like my game has improved a little bit,” Sinner said on court after his win. “I feel more comfortable at the net and this is a new thing of mine. Hopefully I can also show this in the future.”

Sinner plays the winner of Stan Wawrkina against Tomas Etcheverry, and is expected to face No. 12 seed Alexander Zverev should he progress. Get past Zverev, and he would be on course for a quarter-final against Carlos Alcaraz, who he met at the same stage last year, with the Spaniard victorious on his way to the title.

Stream and watch the 2023 Laver Cup exclusively live across Europe on Eurosport and discovery+.

Back to top button