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Isner Overcomes Kohlschreiber; Almagro Tops Cilic

Rome, Italy

Isner© Antonio Costantino/FITJohn Isner is making his third Rome appearance.

World No. 10 John Isner overcame Philipp Kohlschreiber 2-6, 7-6(3), 6-2 on Monday night at Internazionali BNL d’Italia after preventing the German from serving out the match at 5-4 in the second set.

The 27-year-old American broke Kohlschreiber twice in the decisive set, while dropping just three points on serve, to claim victory after one hour and 38 minutes. He will next face Italian No. 1 Andreas Seppi, who recently won the clay-court title in Belgrade.

Isner avoided his third straight loss on clay courts after going 7-0 on the surface to start the year. He had won all four of his Davis Cup matches against Switzerland and France, including upsets of Roger Federer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and reached the final in Houston (l. to Monaco).

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Kohlschreiber has now lost two straight first-round matches since claiming his fourth ATP World Tour title two weeks ago in Munich.

Spaniard Nicolas Almagro, the No. 12 seed, picked up his circuit-best 19th match win on clay this season, finishing strong to defeat recent Munich finalist Marin Cilic of Croatia 6-2, 3-6, 6-0. Cilic had won their previous two meetings, including a clay-court encounter two years ago in the Munich quarter-finals.

Czech Radek Stepanek extended Juan Ignacio Chela’s winless streak to six matches, rallying past the Argentine 2-6, 6-0, 6-3 as he converted four of his nine break point chances.

Another Argentine, Carlos Berlocq, fared better in his opening match against Slovenian Blaz Kavcic, cruising past the qualifier 6-1, 6-3 to set up his first career meeting with Roger Federer. The 38th-ranked Berlocq has a 13-7 mark on clay courts this season, highlighted by a runner-up showing in Vina del Mar (l. to Monaco) and four other quarter-finals.

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