Isner heroics earn U.S. quarterfinal Davis Cup win in France

John Isner makes a return during his decisive win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in their Davis Cup tie.

Story highlights

  • John Isner scores winning point for USA in Davis Cup tie in France
  • Victory earns U.S. a semifinal tie against champions Spain
  • Czech Republic to face Argentina in other last four clash
  • Serena Williams thrashes Lucie Safarova in Charleston final

John Isner beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in four sets Sunday to secure a superb Davis Cup quarterfinal victory for the United States over France in Monte Carlo Sunday.

Isner, who has broken into the top 10 of the world rankings this year, gave his team an unassailable 3-1 lead with a 6-3 7-6 (7/4) 5-7 6-3 victory on the clay against the world No. 6 to set up a semifinal against defending champions Spain in September.

Bob and Mike Bryan's victory in Saturday's doubles rubber had put the visitors 2-1 ahead, and the much-improved Isner finished the job.

"I had a great week of practice and I was ready to go," said the big-serving Isner, who will be the second seed at this week's U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship.

He has been in top form recently, beating world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the semis of the Indian Wells Masters last month before losing to Roger Federer in the final.

Isner beat Federer on clay in February as the U.S. defeated Switzerland in the previous round, and he is now looking to be a real dark horse as the buildup to the French Open begins.

France's defeat marked the final match in charge for captain Guy Forget, who has stepped down after 12 years in charge.

"It's been long but it's been fantastic. Thanks to you and because of my friends, it's been the best time of my life," an emotional Forget told the crowd at the Monte Carlo Country Club.

The Americans, who beat Federer's Switzerland in the last 16, will now play Spain in the last four.

In Oropesa del Mar, David Ferrer beat Austria's Jurgen Melzer 7-5 6-3 6-3 to give the Spaniards, who were without Rafael Nadal, a decisive 3-1 lead and home advantage for the semifinals.

In other quarterfinal action, the Czech Republic saw off Serbia, who were missing Djokovic for the tie in Prague.

Seventh-ranked Tomas Berdych beat Janko Tipsarevic 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (9-7) to give the Czechs an unassailable 3-1 lead.

It set up a semifinal against last year's losing finalists Argentina, who sealed their passage thanks to Juan Martin del Potro.

The 2009 U.S. Open champion raced to a 6-1 6-2 6-1 victory over Marin Cilic as the home side took a winning 3-1 lead over Croatia in Buenos Aires.

It followed del Potro's straight sets victory over Ivo Karlovic in his opening singles match Friday.

In WTA Tour action Sunday, Serena Williams powered to the title at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston with a straight-sets demolition of Lucie Safarova.

Fifth seed Williams took the clay court event with a 6-0 6-1 win over her Czech opponent in a one-sided final.

      Tennis

    • Rafael Nadal of Spain watches the ball in his match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during during day seven of the China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 3, 2014 in Beijing, China.

      What does 2015 hold for Rafa?

      Rafael Nadal's body might be giving him a few problems, but his mind remains as strong as ever. Will the Spaniard add to his haul of 14 grand slam titles?
    • LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 17: Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and his long time girlfriend Kim Sears arrive at Buckingham Palace on October 17, in London, England. Murray will become an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and receive his medal from the Duke of Cambridge. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

      Love game: Andy Murray to tie knot

      The Scot has served up a few changes to his support team in 2014 but there's one person who isn't going anywhere -- his new fiancée Kim Sears.
    • Despite being forced to retire at the age of 24 due to health problems, Lacoste remained in the game and went on start the "Lacoste" brand in 1933, which specialised in tennis products. The inspiration for the company's logo came from his nickname as a player, "le crocodile."

      'Crocodile' who broke all the rules

      His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
    • Serena Williams of the US holds the US Open trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their US Open 2014 women's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center September 7, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

      Serena savors U.S. Open win

      Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
    • American tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson (right) receives a kiss from compatriot Darlene Hard, whom she beat in two sets to become the first black woman to win the Women's Singles Finals at Wimbledon.

      The amazing life of Althea Gibson

      Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
    • Courting couple at match point

      "I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
    • LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 03: Tennis / Frauen: Wimbledon 2004, London; Finale; Siegerin Maria SHARAPOVA / RUS 03.07.04. (Photo by Bongarts/Bongarts/Getty Images)

      'Baby' Sharapova's big moment

      It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
    • 'Swiss Miss' follows mom's lead

      Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.