Isner Saves 1 M.P. To Take First Title In Auckland
Auckland, New Zealand
by ATP Staff
© Getty ImagesIsner becomes the first American winner in Auckland in 20 years.
When John Isner
reached his first ATP World Tour singles final, at Washington in 2007, he did so with five consecutive victories in third-set tie-breaks. As such, it was only fitting that his first title came in the same fashion, Isner defeating France's Arnaud Clement
on Saturday, 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(2), to win the Heineken Open
Isner, 6'9" tall, born in North Carolina but a resident of Tampa, Florida, fell to Andy Roddick
in the Washington final two-and-a-half years ago. Coincidentally, with Roddick winning last week's Brisbane International
title, Isner follows his compatriot as the second straight American winner by taking the ATP World Tour 250 hard-court crown in New Zealand.First Time ATP World Tour Winner Spotlight
For winning the title Isner earned $64,250 in prize money and 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points, while Clement received $33,780 and 150 points.
After the final Isner announced he would be donating $5,000 of his winner's cheque to the Red Cross in its efforts to assist those affected by the recent earthquake in Haiti.
"It's a small contribution to help the victims in Haiti," Isner said. "What happened there makes us realise how lucky we are."
Isner saved a match point in the third set serving at 5-6, down 30-40, but No. 67-ranked Clement wasn't quite able to snare his fifth career singles title.
"I would rather win that game like I did than if I had won it to love," said Isner. "It gave me a lot of confidence to play pretty much a flawless tie-break."
Isner fired down 22 aces in the two-hour, 18-minute final, bringing his tournament total to 78, not surprisingly the most among all players in the event this past week.
"This is one of my favourite tournaments and I really wanted to come back here after last year," said Isner, who qualified for the Heineken Open
last year and reached the quarter-finals. "I thought I had a legitimate shot at being a contender here, but I knew it was going to tough."
It was the first ATP World Tour main draw meeting between Isner and Clement, although Isner won their qualifying first-round clash in Sydney two years ago.
Isner becomes the first American winner in Auckland since Scott Davis
in 1990 - since then Americans had finished runner-up on six occasions, including Sam Querrey
Clement's appearance in Auckland was decided only at the last minute - when his compatriot Sebastien Grosjean
was offered a wildcard he decided to make the trip as well (instead of attempting to qualify for Sydney).
"Of course I'm disappointed to lose in the final but I think I played well during the entire week," Clement said. "I think it worked out pretty well. I played good matches, beat good players and today couldn't beat Isner who played a great match. This is probably his first title of many to come.
"Overall I'm very happy with my game. If I play like this all year long I think I have a chance to be back in the Top 20."