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Isner Tops Tsonga In Winston-Salem SFs; Berdych Beats Querrey

Winston-Salem, U.S.A.

Isner© Getty ImagesJohn Isner has a 1-2 record in ATP World Tour finals this season.

John Isner remains on course to retain his Winston-Salem Open title after reaching his fourth ATP World Tour final of the season Friday with a 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(3) win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

The top American on the ATP World Tour, at No. 10 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings, improved to a 40-15 match record on the season. He lifted his fourth ATP World Tour title at the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport (d. Hewitt) in July.

“I’m very, very happy to be back in the final,” said Isner. “I don’t like getting to Grand Slams early. If I’m playing the week before, I want to do as well as I can. I’m playing the final match, so I’m very satisfied with that. I’m looking to defend my title. I did it this year in Newport, so maybe I can pull it off again.”

In the pair’s fourth meeting, Isner broke Tsonga at 4-3 in the first set, before Tsonga broke Isner at the same score in the second set. Tsonga saved two match points when serving at 5-6 in the deciding set – the first with a second serve ace up the middle as Isner backed away hoping to hit a forehand return.

Isner hit 24 aces and won 69 per cent of his service points, converting just one of his 10 break point opportunities for victory in two hours and 13 minutes.

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In Saturday's title match, Isner will face second-seeded wild card Tomas Berdych. The Czech defeated No. 7 seed Sam Querrey 6-4, 6-3 to move ahead 2-1 in their FedEx ATP Head 2 Head series.

Berdych won 73 per cent of his second serve return points, breaking the American five times in the one-hour-and-39-minute victory. Querrey fired 18 aces to 5 doubles faults in defeat and his bid to overtake Novak Djokovic for the Emirates Airline US Open Series crown came to an end.

“I don’t think I necessarily needed to break him five times, but on the other hand, I lost my serve a couple of times. I was trying to get my chances,” Berdych said. “In the first set, I had more than 10 break points. Probably the one thing I was not happy with was my serve in the second set. I lost quite an easy game. I was playing better on the tough points and that was the decider today.”

The seventh-ranked Berdych is looking to win his second title in 2012, having triumphed in Montpellier (d. Monfils). He also reached the final of the Mutua Madrid Open (l. to Federer). The 26 year old is 2-1 against Isner, winning their past two meetings, both in 2010.

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