The 2018 champions ended their opponent’s six-match unbeaten run to reach the semi-finals in Indian Wells with a 7-5, 6-4 victory in front of a pumped up home crowd.
An engrossing encounter was expected from a match that featured four players who have all spent time in the Top 20 of the ATP Rankings for singles, and it didn’t disappoint. It was Isner and Sock who stepped up at crucial moments, however, sealing victory in 78 minutes to extend their record as a pair in the California desert to 9-1.
Isner and Sock timed their move perfectly in the first set, breaking for 6-5 after taking a sudden-death point on the Tsitsipas delivery, Sock then serving out to put the Americans in command.
Lopez and Tsitsipas looked to be in deep trouble as they found themselves an early break down in the second set, but the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC champions showed no intention of going down quietly, breaking back to level at 3-3.
It wasn’t enough to deny Sock and Isner, though. The pair struck again at the tail end of the second set, breaking before serving out to love to complete the win.
The American pair showed nerves of steel throughout as it saved five from six break points faced in the match, assisted by strong serving numbers. According to Infosys ATP Stats, Isner and Sock won 79 per cent (33/42) points behind their first delivery.
Both players possess strong records in Indian Wells, even when not playing together. It is a fifth semi-final appearance for Isner, and a fourth for Sock. The latter also lifted the trophy in 2015 with Vasek Pospisil.
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The Kazakh-German pairing saved all five break points they faced in the match, with each team winning a sudden-death point on serve in consecutive games midway through the second set.
Golubev and Zverev were lights out on first serve in the contest, winning 87 per cent (41/47) of points in their first deal.
Golubev, the doubles World No. 27, is now two wins away from his first ATP Tour title. He has reached three finals in his career, including two in 2021.
Zverev, the singles World No. 3, is seeking a third ATP Tour doubles title. He won two with his brother Mischa Zverev, in Acapulco in 2019 and Montpellier in 2017, with the pair reaching seven finals from 2015-19.