The temperature is rising on the hard courts of the Emirates Airline US Open Series, and some of this year’s Winston-Salem Open players have likewise caught fire less than two weeks from the tour’s stop in North Carolina. Take a look at some of the tour’s hottest players right now as we count down the days until the Winston-Salem Open!
The only player signed up to play every tournament in the Emirates Airline US Open Series, John Isner took home the circuit’s first trophy with his ninth career ATP title at last week’s BB&T Atlanta Open.
The 6-10 Greensboro native fought off match points in his opening match against qualifier Robby Ginepri before finding his form to knock off Marinko Mantosevic, Jack Sock and then Dudi Sela in the final. After being upset by Steve Johnson in his first match at the Citi Open in Washington, DC this week, Isner will look to bounce back in Toronto before heading to Cincinnati and then home to the Triad for the Winston-Salem Open.
2014 has been a breakout year for former USC star Steve Johnson. In his third year as a pro, the 24-year old made his first ATP semifinal at Delray Beach back in February and climbed into the top 75 for the first time this spring.
After a quarterfinal appearance in Newport, Johnson has peaked this week in Washington, upsetting Isner in the second round and following it up with another upset of ninth-seeded Ivo Karlovic to reach the quarterfinals at an ATP World Tour 500 or above for the first time. Next up for the Trojan is another big server, Milos Raonic. Win or lose, Johnson has a good chance to be in the top 50 by the time he gets to Winston-Salem in two weeks.
Winning the Wimbledon doubles title seems to have sparked Jack Sock’s singles as the 21-year-old American reached back-to-back semifinals at Newport and Atlanta after returning from across the pond, moving him up to a career-high No. 60 in the ATP rankings.
The doubles success has also continued for Sock, as he and his Wimbledon partner Vasek Pospisil kept their perfect record intact by claiming the title in Atlanta. Both will be at the Winston-Salem Open, giving Triad tennis fans a chance of seeing the entertaining Pospisock – or is it Sockspisil – duo.
In addition to his doubles success with Sock, big-serving Canadian Vasek Pospisil has been tearing it up in singles on his favorite hard courts, making quarterfinal runs in Bogota, Atlanta and now Washington. The headline-making win came last night in our nation’s capital when he blasted top-seed and world No. 6 Tomas Berdych in straight sets.
Pospisil entered the hard court season with a number of points to defend and so far has been up to the task. Next up is the Masters 1000 event in his native Canada where he first made a name for himself with his run to the semifinals last year.