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Isner To Face Rochus In Newport Final

Newport, U.S.A.

Top seed John Isner reached his first ATP World Tour final of the season on Saturday as he edged eighth seed Tobias Kamke 7-5, 7-6(4) in the semi-finals of the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport.

The American took his tournament-best ace tally to 54 as he fired 12 aces past his German opponent. Isner broke serve once to clinch the first set, and captured the second set in a tie-break to claim victory in one hour and 38 minutes. "I was in a good rhythm with my serve and that's been the case this whole tournament," said Isner. "I had to compete out there and stay calm, and that's what I did for the most part."

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Having started the season at No. 19 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings, Isner has slipped to World No. 46 after only winning back-to-back tour-level matches twice in the first six months. He is through to his first ATP World Tour final in nearly 12 months, since finishing runner-up to Mardy Fish in Atlanta.

In his bid to become the third successive American champion at the ATP World Tour 250 grass-court tennis tournament, the 26-year-old Isner will face Olivier Rochus for the title.

The No. 6 seed dismissed qualifier Michael Yani 6-2, 6-4 in one hour and 13 minutes to reach his second straight final in Newport.

Rochus did not face a break point en route to winning 77 per cent of his service points. He broke the 30-year-old American three times to advance to his ninth ATP World Tour final.

The Belgian will look to keep the ‘Casino Curse’ alive against Isner when the two square off for the first time on Sunday. Newport hasn’t had a No. 1 seed triumph since Vijay Amritraj hoisted the crown at the inaugural event in 1976. "Playing against John in the final will be tough. He's got a big serve and he also plays well from the back," evaluated Rochus. "But I have nothing to lose and I will try to return his serve as best as I can, so we'll see what happens."

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Lionel Maltese


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