John Isner and Ryan Harrison Will Face Off in Second Straight ATP Atlanta Final
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
John Isner will aim for a 5th Atlanta Open title when he faces off with Ryan Harrison, the opponent he defeated in the 2017 final. On semifinal Saturday in Atlanta both semifinals went the distance as Isner defeated Matt Ebden, and Harrison overcame Cam Norrie.
In the first singles match of the day it too Isner 2 hours to put away Ebden as the Australian put up a valiant fight. Isner won 6-4 6-7 6-1 firing 26 aces on a day where his inconsistency gave Ebden some openings but it still wasn’t enough for the underdog. In the opening set Ebden was broken in his second service game as Isner got off to a good start. Ebden generated one break point chance and could have gotten back on serve but Isner erased it and then served out two more service games to take a one set lead.
In the second set Ebden again went down an early break. Under significant pressure against the home favorite it looked as if he might throw in the towle, but instead Isner slipped and got broken to keep things on serve. Ebden held his nerve in every service game to force a tiebreak from there. In that tiebreak Isner surrendered a 3-1 minibreak lead to lose the tiebreak 8-6. Ebden saved a match point on his serve in the tiebreak.
The third set saw Isner shut the door though, Ebden’s resistance wilted after he was broken for 2-0 and then failed to take a break point chance to get things back on serve. Ebden was broken one more time and then Isner served his way into the final at 15.
In the night match Harrison struggled against Norrie at the start but recovered his form to win 2-6 6-3 6-2 in almost 2 hours. Harrison was steady on serve despite the poor start as Norrie’s game fell to pieces in sets 2 and 3. Harrison was erratic in the opener, he was broken in the opening game, then once more late in the set as Norrie had no comparable pressure on his own serve.
In the second set Norrie had a chance to go up a set and a break but Harrison wiped away two break point chances. He seized the momentum from there, breaking Norrie and then serving things out to force a third set. Norrie was broken twice in the final set, including in the opening game as the third was one way traffic.
Harrison will also contest the doubles final. Along with his partner Rajeev Ram he’ll take on Nick Monroe and J.P. Smith in the final. Harrison/Ram defeated Raja/Skupski in straights while Monroe/Smith edged Arneodo/Chardy in a third set super tiebreak.