Is there an echo around here? In Saturday's third-round action at the U.S. Open, the last of the American men in the singles draw were eliminated. (Eliminated.)
Just like last year, the top-seeded Yank, John Isner, lost in the third round. (Third round.) To Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber. (Kohlschreiber.) The same fellow, in fact, who bounced Isner from the 2012 Open. Also in the third round. (Third round.)
"Certainly a very weird situation," a deflated Isner said after his 7-6 (4), 4-6, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (4) loss to the No. 22 seed. "I never expected I'd see him again this year.
"It's super-disappointing that I've lost to him three times in a row in this tournament," Isner said, "when I have the crowd and so many things going for me. It's annoying. There's just no more to say. He was just better than me, three times in a row here."
The other American sent packing yesterday was 57th-ranked Sam Querrey, who was overwhelmed by top seed Novak Djokovic, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. In only an hour and 25 minutes.
"He just puts so much pressure on you," Querrey said. "I was always trying to come from behind, and it just made for a long, tough afternoon.
"He always makes a ton of balls, but I feel like he wasn't really going for too many shots," Querrey said of Djokovic. "In his mind, I think was, 'I'm not going to make an error. I'm going to play percentage tennis in the wind,' and it really worked well."
Djokivic committed only 19 unforced errors to Querrey's 33. And he made Querrey "feel the pressure on his return games," Querrey said. "Serves I hit that are usually an ace, he's putting it back in the court with something on it."
Also advancing Saturday were No. 8 seed Andy Murray, over Russia's 96th-ranked Andrey Kuznetsov, 6-1, 7-5, 4-6, 6-2; No. 4 seed Stan Wawrinka, in a walkover when Slovenia's 92nd-ranked Blaz Kavcic cited an injured foot for pulling out; No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, over Spain's 74th-ranked Pablo Carreno Busta, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, and Tommy Robredo, who beat 19-year-old Nick Kyrgios, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-3.
Though predictable, none of those results had quite the Groundhog Day sense of Isner's loss. He walloped 42 aces (Kohlschreiber had 13) and never lost a service game.
"But I didn't play the big points well," Isner said. "I had a good amount of chances. I just couldn't pull through. Got a little tight, to be honest. Didn't move my feet on some big points, break points, that I really needed."
Getting to tiebreakers figured to play to Isner's advantage, with his big serve and markedly better tiebreak record (37-17) than Kohlschreiber (9-11) this year. But it was Kohlschreiber who said that, while "normally, you get a little stressed in the tiebreakers, I was very solid, very consistent from my side.''
"I was guessing in the right moment," Kohlschreiber said. "And he played, for his standards, quite bad."
Of course, the old theme of fading American men's tennis power was raised. The last U.S. man to win a Slam event was Andy Roddick at the 2003 Open, and in recent years, the Yanks can't even get to Slam semifinals.
Roddick (Australian semis, Wimbledon finals) was the last to do that in 2009 and was the last to reach a U.S. Open semi, in 2006.
"It's disappointing for me personally," Isner said. "Not for America as a whole. I should hold myself to a pretty high standard and it's a disappointment to lose in this tournament a third year in a row. To the same guy."
A sad reverberation.