By Matt Ankerson & Alan Wright
The semifinal matchups at the Winston-Salem Open are now set. The first semifinal pits 7th seeded Lukus Rosol versus the 9th seed Yen-Hsun Lu. The match will begin today at 3:00 PM on Center Court. The night session will feature Sam Querrey against 2013 Wimbledon semifinalist Jerzy Jankowicz of Poland. Querrey, the lone American left in the draw, is making his third consecutive semifinal appearance at the Winston-Open. The Querrey/Jankowicz match begins on Center Court tonight at 6:30 PM.
Querrey advanced after taking down Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in a hard hitting match. The match itself was extremely entertaining. Both men played at high levels for all three sets. The ball striking from both Querrey and Garcia-Lopez was a site to see. After dropping the first set tie breaker, Querrey settled in and found his groove. He kept Garcia-Lopez on the defense with penetrating forehands and huge serves. Garcia-Lopez had no answers for the Querrey serve, which consistently topped 130 mph on the radar, losing the last two sets and ultimately the match, 6-7 (3) 6-2 6-4.
Unfortunately, the exciting Querrey/Garcia-Lopez match took a backseat to what became the big news of the day…
The news that dominated the tournament on Thursday came about before any tennis was played on Thursday. For the second consecutive year Jon Isner withdrew from the Winston Salem Open. Unlike last year, fans attending Tuesday and Wednesday night sessions did manage to witness two match wins before calling it quits on Thursday before his quarterfinal match up with the seventh seeded Lukus Rosol of the Czech Republic. Isner cited an ankle injury sustained in his 3rd round match as the reasoning behind his decision to withdraw.
Thursday was billed as “Thirsty Thursday” on the grounds of the Wake Forest Tennis Complex. Two dollar adult beverages flowed from the taps of the outdoor bars located just ten yards from Center Court. Alan, taking full advantage of the Thursday night specials and still not satisfied with the reasoning behind the Isner announcement searched for the truth in the only way he knew how…
Isner: Mmph, uh, hello?
Alan: John. Johnny boy. Please. Say it ain’t so.
Isner: What? Who is this? What time is it?
Alan: Don’t pretend you don’t know who this is, I doubled my Adderall today and I’m well on my way to finishing off this bottle of Pepe Lopez, I’m no one to be trifled with. You know g**damned good and well who this is. I sat 10 feet away from you just a few hours ago.
Isner: It’s 4:18am?!?! Is this Mahut? C’mon dude, get over it. I won fair and square; both of our names are on that plaque. Jesus, you French are sooo touchy.
Alan: Did you just call me French? Look, I don’t usually make an effort to kick anyone over 6’6s ass, but you, my friend, are cruising for a knee kicking. How tall are you anyway?
Alan: Right, sorry, back to the point of my call. John, you can’t withdraw. Much like gravity, dinosaurs and soccer, I refuse to accept it. You will play your regularly scheduled match.
Isner: Nicolas, it’s too late, I already withdrew, and the match was supposed to be tonight anyway, I can’t change my mind. It’s done, the US Open is too important for me to risk further injury.
Alan: John, if you don’t stop talking like this, I’m going to take this empty tequila bottle and show you some real ankle pain. Man up and get out there, we need you. I need you. Tennis is the one sport Americans get to truly be jingoists about. We pretend during the World Cup, but everyone knows we’re a bunch of posers. This isn’t the same thing. I get to root against all the other countries and not feel like a hot dog spewing Amurrican.
And unlike soccer, it’s perfectly safe. I don’t know if that’s because Tennis is a more genteel sport, or if it’s impossible to be an aggressive dick when you’re wearing pink shorts and a performance mesh shirt. Man, I’m really disappointed; this is the only time I can wear pink shorts and not be self-conscious. Why are you doing this to me?
Isner: I don’t get it Nicolas, why would you root for America? You’re French.
Alan: Call me French one more time John and I’ll fill your bed with cobras on ayahuasca.
Isner: I don’t know what that means Nicolas.
Alan: It means I’m sad John. I’m sad for you, I’m sad for this town and all the folks who were so excited to see you, I’m sad for our great little tournament, but most of all I’m sad for me. And my shorts. Do you understand now John? I’m stuck rooting for Europeans, you know how I feel about that.
Isner: Nicolas, I wasn’t the last American in the Open. Sam Querrey is still in the running, and looking pretty good, too. Why don’t you give him some love and let me get some sleep? I’ve got to rest up and get fit for the US Open.
Alan: Querrey… that’s right, he is still in the tournament isn’t he? Shit, what am I doing wasting my time talking to you? I need to give Sammy boy a call and give him one of my patented pep talks!
Thanks for coming out this year John, looking forward to seeing you again next year!
John: Goodbye Nicolas, you really should consider lowering your dosage…