26 Feb College Rivalry Revisited: Top Seed Isner takes on Levine
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College Rivalry Revisited: Top Seed Isner takes on Levine
[column size=”00-1″ last=”1″ style=”1″]By Romana Cvitkovic
World No. 15 and this year’s top seed, John Isner will begin his campaign for his first Delray Beach ITC title as he takes on Canadian Jesse Levine in the first round on Tuesday evening.
The two players first met on court in 2007 when Levine, a freshman at the University of Florida, defeated the then-No. 1 ranked college tennis player in the country, John Isner, who was a senior at the University of Georgia. Since then, Isner has exacted his revenge, holding a 2-1 record over Levine in Tour play. Their latest encounter came at this exact stage in last year’s tournament where the American won 6-4, 7-6(15).
After finishing the last three years ranked inside the top 20 and becoming the top-ranked American for the first time at the end of 2012, Isner was set to dominate the Tour in 2013. But his attempt to best his previous career-high ranking of No. 9 was halted as a bone bruise injury in his knee forced him to withdraw from the Australian Open. With the North Carolina native struggling to get his footing back, a window of opportunity has opened up for his college rival.
World No. 95 Levine is set to make his fifth appearance in Delray Beach and has already had an impressive showing this season, reaching the quarterfinals of Auckland after having gone through qualifying. He eventually fell to fellow 2013 ITC player Sam Querrey in two tough sets.
This first round matchup between two former standout college players could prove a crucial turning point for an ailing Isner or a breakthrough win for Levine. Only time will tell.