Originally written on Tennis Grand Stand  |  Last updated 10/19/14

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 24: John Isner of the United States of America plays a forehand in his fourth round match against Andy Murray of Great Britain during day seven of the 2010 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 24, 2010 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)
Isner narrowly survived his Miami opener against Ivan Dodig. It has been barely a year since John Isner defeated world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the semifinals of Indian Wells to reach his first career final at a Masters 1000 tournament.  While he could not claim the title there, Isner appeared to have notched a decisive breakthrough in his career that would propel the top-ranked American man forward. Events since then have questioned this interpretation of that memorable fortnight in the desert, especially over the last few months.  Struggling for form from the US Open onward, Isner absorbed a serious blow when a knee injury forced him to withdraw from the Australian Open.  That injury, not unexpected for a player of his height, disrupted the rhythm of his preparations for the 2013 season and undermined his confidence.  At the Memphis indoor tournament in February, he lost his opener in straight sets to Denis Istomin, a player who normally should not have troubled him.  But his slump...
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