Laver Cup Flashback: Rafael Nadal falls to John Isner in tight clash

John Isner defeated Rafael Nadal in straight sets in Prague 2017

by Jovica Ilic
Laver Cup Flashback: Rafael Nadal falls to John Isner in tight clash
© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Rafael Nadal competed for Team Europe at the inaugural Laver Cup in Prague 2017. The Spaniard defeated Jack Sock before delivering the doubles victory alongside Roger Federer. On the final day, Rafa met John Isner and experienced a 7-5, 7-6 loss in an hour and 28 minutes.

Isner prevailed in the crucial moments, keeping Team World alive ahead of the ultimate clash between Roger Federer and Nick Kyrgios. Nadal could have secured the title for Team Europe, but it was not to be for him. It was one of the career-best performances for Isner, firing 23 aces and dropping ten points behind the initial shot, keeping the pressure on the other side!

Nadal did his best to stay in touch. However, he lost ground in the closing stages of both sets, finishing on the losing side. The Spaniard earned one break and lost serve two times to push the rival over the top. John made an aggressive start and broke Rafa in the encounter's first game after the Spaniard's double fault.

Rafael Nadal lost to John Isner in Prague 2017.

The American fired an ace in game two, saving a break chance and confirming the advantage. Isner held at love in game four for 3-1, repeating that with an ace in game six to maintain the lead.

Rafa served well to remain within one break deficit, with John serving for the set at 5-4. Nadal raised his level on the return and placed a backhand crosscourt winner, clinching a break and locking the result at 5-5. Isner started all over and broke Nadal at 15 in game 11 following the rival's loose forehand.

John held at love in game 12 to wrap up the set, taking eight of the last nine points and gaining a boost ahead of set number two. Nadal landed an ace at 1-1 in the second set for a hold at love, and Isner followed that pace behind the initial shot.

John held at love in game six and repeated that in the next one to keep the result locked at 4-4. Rafa experienced a break point in game nine and denied it with a service winner. The Spaniard held with another to move 5-4 in front and keep his chances alive.

Still, the American was too powerful behind the initial shot, delivering one good hold after another and introducing a tie break after an ace down the T line in game 12. John earned an early mini-break and opened a 3-0 lead with booming serves.

Nadal found himself 4-1 behind, and Isner gained a 6-1 advantage with his 23rd ace. Returning in the eighth point, John converted his first match point with a volley winner at the net, starting a massive celebration with his teammates.

Laver Cup Rafael Nadal John Isner