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Ex-Lexington champion Isner surging at Open

MELBOURNE, Australia — John Isner is one of two American men standing at the Australian Open.

Isner advanced to the fourth round along with Andy Roddick. It's only the second time the 24-year-old player has gone that far at a Grand Slam.

Fresh off his first ATP title win in Auckland this month, the big-serving Isner defeated 12th-seeded Gael Monfils of France 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5).

Until advancing to the fourth round of last year's U.S. Open — defeating Roddick in the process — Isner hadn't gotten past the first round of his last five majors. But his strong performance at Melbourne Park doesn't surprise him.

"I've worked hard in the off-season, I put in the time," said Isner, ranked 28th and the winner of the 2007 Fifth Third Bank Tennis Championships in Lexington. "I kind of deserve to be where I am now."

Andy Murray, who faces Isner next, said he may have the best serve on the tour.

That serve and his aggressive playing style boosted Isner into the top 50 for the first time in 2009.

"He gives guys a lot of problems," Murray said. "He's 6-foot-9-inches with a huge serve."

It will be their first meeting, and Isner noted Murray was "good at everything."

"It's going to be a challenge to hold serve," Isner said. "That's going to be my No. 1 focus, first and foremost, is holding serve, and taking it from there. As long as I'm doing that, I know I'll be in the match."

Clijsters out in a rout

Kim Clijsters came to the Australian Open as an inspiration to her countrywomen and mothers everywhere.

After her unexpected U.S. Open victory, hype about consecutive major titles followed her to Melbourne Park for the season-opening Grand Slam.

All that ended in 52 minutes Friday in a 6-0, 6-1 third-round loss to 19th-seeded Nadia Petrova. Also lost was the chance of a quarterfinal against fellow Belgian Justine Henin, a former No. 1 playing her first major in two years.

"I was completely off," Clijsters said. "I think tennis-wise, I didn't feel the ball at all."

Defending champion Serena Williams won her third-round match, beating Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 6-0, 6-3.

Men's No. 1 seed Roger Federer won his third-round match Saturday, beating Spain's Albert Montanes 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 for his 50th career victory at Melbourne Park.

Federer has won three of his record 15 Grand Slam titles at the Australian Open and improved his record to 50-7 in Melbourne.

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