John Isner Comes Back from a Set Down for 5th ATP Atlanta Title
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
John Isner continued to own the BB&T Atlanta Open, claiming his 5th title with a 5-7 6-3 6-4 victory against countryman and friend Ryan Harrison on a sweltering Atlanta afternoon.
Isner, who began the final as a favorite, needed 2 hours to secure victory as he dropped the first set against an opponent who didn’t have any fear when facing down a big server. Both players served well when three out of four points on serve as the first set saw 10 consecutive service holds to 5-5 without a break point. A long 11th game saw Harrison break on his lone chance, and then Harrison held at love to go up a set.
In set 2 Isner was under significant pressure, as Harrison generated three break point chances at 1-1 to go up a break, and then one more at 2-2. However Harrison faltered in the 6th game of the set and then Isner held on to force a third set.
Isner took immediate advantage in the third set, breaking in the opening game, and Harrison was almost broken once more. As the match went on Harrison wore down as Isner fired 21 aces (8 in the third set) and served out the championship game at love. Even without tiebreaks it was a relatively high quality match as Isner won his second ATP title of the season while Harrison was defeated in his first final of the season.Embed from Getty Images
Nick Monroe and J.P. Smith defeated Harrison and Rajeev Ram in the doubles final, as it all came down a third set super tiebreak that Monroe/Smith won 10-8 for a 3-6 7-6 10-8 win off the back of two straight tiebreak wins.Embed from Getty Images
After reaching the semis at Wimbledon, Isner hopes to continue his momentum in the rest of the hard court summer tournaments in North America, and also at the US Open, the biggest stage for any American player, and especially the current American #1. Harrison hasn’t been in great form lately but perhaps a second consecutive Atlanta final will help push him forward on the North American hard courts.