© Alex Smith/Memphis Open

Second seed John Isner fires up as he surges back to beat Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka in Memphis.

Isner Pushed In Memphis Opener

Second seed rallies to hold off unseeded Japanese lefty

Former finalist John Isner had to dig deep to overcome #NextGenATP player Yoshihito Nishioka to get his Memphis Open campaign off to a winning start on Wednesday. The second-seeded American ground out a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory against the 21-year-old lefty to land a quarter-final match against his countryman Donald Young.

“So tough, I knew it would be,” Isner said. “Getting a bye is a bit of a double-edged sword – you’re playing someone who’s already played a match, feeling confident.

“Whereas myself, I didn’t quite have that coming into this match. The main thing is I held my composure pretty good and got an early break in the second and was able to ride that out. The third set was very tough.”

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Earlier, 2015 semi-finalist Young saw off #NextGenATP countryman Reilly Opelka 7-6(3), 6-3. Opelka defeated Young in the Atlanta quarter-finals last season in their only prior FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting.

“Maybe it’s a good thing I just played a lefty,” Isner said of facing Young. “I know he’s going to use his slider serve out wide, and play aggressive tennis, which is what he does. He’s a shot-maker, lightning fast.”

In the final all-American battle of the night, unseeded Ryan Harrison easily dispatched of No. 3 seed Sam Querrey. Harrison, coming off a Challenger title in Dallas earlier this month, advanced 6-3, 6-1.

The win sets up a quarter-final showdown with Damir Dzumhur. The unseeded Bosnian earlier defeated Belgium’s Steve Dacris 7-6(2), 6-4.

“I played really well,” Harrison said. “Sam’s a great player for a long time and I know what he’s capable of.

“Basically if there was any hesitation from me, he’d go after me. I felt like early on I got some momentum going and then once I felt like I had momentum I was just trying to focus on swinging at my shots. I’ve always played great defence so I was able to grind out some gritty points too.”

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