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March Madness: John Isner upsets Novak Djokovic at Indian Wells

Chris Chase
Busted Racquet

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(AP)

John Isner upset world No. 1 Novak Djokovic 7-6 (7), 3-6, 7-6 (5) in a semifinal match at the BNP Parbias Open.

The victory will move Isner into the top 10 of the next ATP rankings. He'll have a chance to add to his point total on Sunday, when he'll face either Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal in his first-ever Masters 1000 final.

Isner utilized his game plan to perfection. With his powerful serve, the 6-foot-9 American was able to hold serve with ease and extend both his winning sets to tiebreaks. Isner is 10-4 in such sets this season, a record that's not unexpected when you're hitting 144-mph third-set serves, as he did on Saturday.

"It's a lot of pressure knowing that somebody serves that well," Djokovic told reporters after the match.

The 26-year-old Isner also used a deft touch at the net in the victory. He's surprisingly nimble when coming in for volleys and the angle at which he hits those shots makes them difficult to return.

Djokovic was the defending champion at Indian Wells. It was his second semifinal loss in the past two weeks. Much like his other defeat against Andy Murray, this one had more to do with the opponent than any poor play from Djokovic. If his game has slipped at all since last year's historic start, it's only slightly. His peers are improving.

Isner's was the first victory for an American over a world No. 1 since James Blake defeated Roger Federer at the 2008 Olympics.

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