Originally written on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 10/21/14

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 19: John Isner of the United States of America plays a forehand in his first round match against Andreas Seppi of Italy during day two of the 2010 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 19, 2010 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)
MASON, Ohio John Isner doesnt have any delusions of grandeur when it comes to his tennis game. He knows who he is. He knows when he plays the Novak Djokovics of the ATP tour he cant be ordinary. Simply put, hes a better tennis player than me. He just is. His record proves that, said Isner. But on any given day, I think I can beat anyone. Friday was such a day for Isner. The American earned his way into the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open by beating top-ranked Djokovic 7-6 (5), 3-6, 7-5. Djokovic was up 40-15, one point away from sending the third set to a tiebreaker before Isner rallied to win the game and the match for his second career victory against a No. 1-ranked player. Djokovic helped matters with five double faults, including one in that final game, but Isner got 74 percent of his first serves into play, winning 55 of 69 possible points off those first serves, and limited Djokovic to just four break point opportunities. Isner missed nine previous break point chances against Djokovic but got the only one that mattered on his 10th try when Djokovic hit a return into the net to end the match. I had a lot of looks and I felt like I was playing well, very well outside of a few stretches where I didnt put any returns in the court, said Isner. For the most part, I was putting the ball on the court and I was feeling good off the baseline. I felt like, when I had a chance, I played aggressively, and I did that well. I think I was able to put a little bit of pressure on him. It didnt really pay off until the very end, but little things like me running around on second serves and hitting big forehands. Isner has been ranked as high as No. 9 in the world, which came last year after beating Djokovic at Indian Wells. Thats the only other time he has beaten a top-ranked player in six opportunities. Isner is the highest ranked American at No. 22 and is one of just five Americans ranked in the top 100 of the world. This week is the first time in the history of the ATP rankings there is no American in the top 20. That will change with Isners results here this week he was already guaranteed to move up to No. 19 before Fridays win but it isnt a stat he concentrates on much. Since retiring from Wimbledon with a left knee injury, Isner has gone 15-3. This is the fourth time in his last five tournaments he has at least reached the semifinals, including winning at Atlanta last month. I knew coming in here this week that I was playing well; I knew there was a shot that I could do well here, said Isner. I did fall out of the top 20, but I think the rest of this year and the beginning of next year theres a lot of room for me to keep gaining ground. I want to get back in the top 10 and I want to stay there for longer than I did last year. Isners serve is his strength. It always has been and whenever hes successful its at the heart of that success. It was improvement in those other areas of the game that got him the win Friday. It was his third straight win this week over a player ranked ahead of him; he beat No. 11 Richard Gasquet on Wednesday and No. 10 Milos Raonic on Thursday. Well, he was there, so that means hes capable, said Djokovic of Isner returning to the top 10. But one tournament, two tournaments dont change anything. He has to be consistent and be successful in order to stay there. Isner will face Argentine Juan Martin del Potro, ranked No. 7, in Saturdays semifinals, a rematch of the finals from Washington two weeks ago when del Potro beat Isner 3-6, 6-1, 6-2. Hes so good, you guys know that, said Isner. I hope I can just do a few things differently. I feel like Im a bit fresher now than I was then, as I was coming off back-to-back events (Atlanta), but he was certainly the better player. Just as today, Im going to have to play very well if I want to win.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

World Series: Game One live blog

Could the Seahawks have gotten more for Percy Harvin?

Five storylines to watch in the 2014 World Series

Favre delays Lambeau return due of Bart Starr’s health

Cowboys release Michael Sam from practice squad

Fan in critical condition after being beaten before Bears game

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Ben Roethlisberger rips the media

Tim Tebow: Gators don't have offensive leadership, lack heart

Colts punter asks Antonio Brown not to kick him in face

NFL: Luke Kuechly should not have been ejected

Report: Okla. St. players fell asleep in drive-thru, arrested

Oscar Pistorius sentenced to five years in prison

UEFA Champions League midway report: Groups E – H

PHOTO: Fans place Manning’s 509 football in Hall of Fame

Jets sign Jeremy Kerley to $16M 4-year extension

10 teams that should try to trade for Yoenis Cespedes

Lego stadiums: turning a childhood hobby into a business

Bayless: Kobe's sexual assault trial gave him 'edge' and 'sizzle'

Blackhawks make leukemia patient's dream come true

College football's post-Week 8 Playoff projection

Ortiz surprised military families with World Series tickets

NFL Power Rankings Week 7

Floyd Mayweather posts photo evidence of a lost bet

WATCH: Paul George takes court for first time since leg injury

Tennis News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

UEFA Champions League midway report

World Series: Game One live blog

Cowboys release Michael Sam

Bayless: Kobe's sexual assault trial gave him 'edge'

10 teams that should try to trade for Yoenis Cespedes

Five storylines to watch in the 2014 World Series

Ben Roethlisberger rips media

NFL Power Rankings Week 7

Pistorius sentenced to five years

Lane Kiffin trashed in political ad

Details of War Machine's suicide letter leaked

Angry Jimbo Fisher cuts off interview

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.