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Winston-Salem Saturday Preview: Top 10 Final Features Isner & Berdych

Winston-Salem, U.S.A.

Isner© Getty ImagesJohn Isner is one win away from retaining his Winston-Salem title.

WINSTON-SALEM SATURDAY PREVIEW – TOP 10 FINAL FEATURES ISNER & BERDYCH ON EVE OF US Open
• Three Top 10 players were in the Winston-Salem Open draw to start the week and two of them are still standing on championship Saturday at the ATP World Tour 250-level tournament.

• No. 3 seed and defending champion John Isner has survived  two close calls this week but battled through both of them, beating Martin Klizan 7-5 in the third set in his second round match and top seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 in third set in the semi-finals (No. 6 Tsonga was the other Top 10 in the draw). Now Isner, who is from nearby Greensboro, is through to the final for the second year in a row. “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,” Isner said after his semi-final win on Friday. Isner is trying to become the fifth player this year to defend multiple ATP World Tour titles (he already defended his Newport title last month).The first four players to do so are Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal (who have defended three) and David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro (two). Isner is playing in his 12th ATP World Tour final (4-7 mark). Isner has compiled a 17-3 match record since a first round exit at Wimbledon. He is 5-2 vs. Top 10 foes this year.

• No. 2 seed Tomas Berdych has reached the final without much resistance, losing only one set in his four rounds and, after losing that set, crushing Steve Darcis the rest of the way in the quarter-finals, 46 62 60. The World No. 7 is through to his second ATP World Tour final in the US and having lost his only previous one in Miami two years ago. This may be a good omen for Berdych before New York - the US Open is the only Grand Slam event Berdych has never been to the quarter-finals (best results have been three fourth round finishes). Berdych is playing in his 15th ATP World Tour final (7-7 mark).

• Berdych leads the head-to-head series, 2-1, however Berdych’s two wins came on clay while Isner’s win came in their only hard court meeting in the quarter-finals of Washington DC in 2009.

ROAD TO THE FINAL
(3) John Isner (USA #10)
1st Rd: bye
2nd Rd: d. Martin Klizan (SVK #50)   46 63 75 (2:02)
3rd Rd: d. (13) Jurgen Melzer (AUT #36)  64 63 (1:11)
QF: d. David Goffin (BEL #58)   76(5) 63 (1:33)
SF: d. (1) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA #6)  64 36 76(3) (2:13)

(2) Tomas Berdych (CZE #7)
1st Rd: bye
2nd Rd: d. Alex Bogomolov Jr. (RUS #73) 63 75 (1:34)
3rd Rd: d. (16) Jarkko Nieminen (FIN #42)  63 62 (1:06)
QF: d. Steve Darcis (BEL #81)   46 62 60 (1:46)
SF: d. (7) Sam Querrey (USA #28)   64 63 (1:39)

WHAT’S AT STAKE –
  Winner   $74,630 and 250 South African Airways ATP Ranking points
Runner-up  $42,500 and 150 South African Airways ATP Ranking points

FINALS HISTORY –
  Isner  Appearing in his 12th career ATP World Tour final………….. 4-7 record (1-2 in 2012)
  Berdych Appearing in his 15th career ATP World Tour final………......7-7 record (1-1 in 2012)

SATURDAY CHAMPIONSHIP FED-EX ATP HEAD 2 HEADS – In Order of Play

Center Court

(3) John Isner (USA) vs (2-WC) Tomas Berdych (CZE) Berdych Leads 2-1
09 Washington (USA) Hard QF John Isner 6-3 6-7(10) 6-2
10 ATP World Team Chp. (Duesseldorf)Clay RR Tomas Berdych 1-6 6-1 7-6(4)
10 Roland Garros (France) Clay R32 Tomas Berdych 6-2 6-2 6-1

Isner FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
W: Newport (d Hewitt); F(2): ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells (l Federer); Houston (l Monaco); SF(3): Delray Beach (l Anderson); Atlanta (l Roddick); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Toronto (l Gasquet); QF(3): Memphis (l Melzer); Nice (l Davydenko); London Olympics (l Federer)
YTD W-L: 40-15 (22-8 on hard), 34-13 in Tie-breaks (most TBs won on ATP World Tour)
YTD Titles: 1/Career Titles: 4
Date of Birth: April 26, 1985
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 10

• Isner, 27, the top American on the ATP World Tour, comes into his fourth final of the season (1-2) with a 40-15 match record, including 22-8 on hard courts…His 40 wins already surpasses his previous best of 38 two years ago…Leads circuit with 34-13 tie-break mark (went 34-24 last year), winning 14 of last 17 TBs (5-0 TBs in nine-match winning streak here back to last year)
• Since a 1st Rd. loss at Wimbledon (l. to Falla in five sets), has compiled a 17-3 mark…Last month he repeated title in Newport (d. Hewitt), followed with semi-final in Atlanta (l. to eventual champ Roddick) and QFs at London Olympics (l. to Federer)…In last outing, reached SFs in Toronto (l. to Gasquet)
• Has a career-best 5-2 mark vs. Top 10 opponents this season after going 2-12 the past two years… Trying to post back-to-back Top 10 wins in same tournament for first time in career (10-31 overall)
• In wins over Martin Klizan 46 63 75, No. 13 seed Jurgen Melzer 64 63, David Goffin 76 63 and top seed/ World No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 64 36 76(3),has fired tournament-high 72 aces (21 and 24 in last two matches) and has held serve a tournament-best 49 of 51 games (96%) and No. 2 in 1st serve pts (82%)
• He returned to Top 10 last week after reaching semi-finals at ATP Masters 1000 Toronto (l. to Gasquet), for first time since week of July 2 and 13th week in career since first breaking in on March 19 (after Indian Wells final)…Will go into US Open No. 10 regardless of final result
• He jumped off to a 20-7 start through April, and has compiled a 20-8 mark since May
• During European play, lost in 2nd Rd. in Madrid (after bye) and Rome, QF in Nice (after bye), 2nd Rd. at Roland Garros (lost 18-16 in fifth set to Mathieu) and 1st Rd. at Wimbledon (lost 7-5 in fifth to Falla)
• Has led the U.S. into the Davis Cup semi-finals (vs. Spain) with wins over Frenchmen No. 13 Gilles Simon and No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in April at the Monte-Carlo Country Club…In February, beat No. 3 Roger Federer in first round tie in Switzerland
• In March, advanced to his first ATP Masters 1000 final in Indian Wells, defeating World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals before losing to Federer…Afterwards, broke into the Top 10 on March 19.
• Coming into this week he led the ATP World Tour with most aces (756, 14.8 avg.) and break pts. saved (75%) ) and is No. 3  in service games won (91%)…Here are the serving categories Isner ranks among the Top 10 leaders:
 2012 Rank Tourn. Rank   
Aces No. 1 (756) No. 1 (72)
Service Games Won No. 3 (91%) No. 1 (97%, 49 of 51 games held)
1st Serve Points Won No. 9 (77%) No. 2 (82%)
2nd Serve Points Won No. 7 (56%) No. 10 (58%) 
Break Points Saved No. 1 (75%) N/R (60%, 3 of 5)

HOT SUMMER RUN – For the second summer in a row Isner has compiled his best stretch of the season since Wimbledon. Here is a look at Isner’s 2011-12 summer results going into the US Open:
2012 Hard Court Results (17-3 since Wimbledon)  2011 Hard court Results (17-4 since Wimbledon)
- Newport (Winner, 5-0)   - Newport (Winner, 5-0)
- Atlanta (SF, 2-1)   - Atlanta (Finalist, 3-1)
- London Olympics (QF, 3-1)   - Washington (SF, 3-1)
- Toronto (SF, 3-1)   - Montreal (2R, 1-1)
- Winston-Salem (in Final, 4-0)   - Cincinnati (1R, 0-1)
   - Winston-Salem (Winner, 5-0)

Berdych FastFacts:
2012 Highlights:
W: Montpellier (d Monfils); F: ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid (l Federer); SF(2): Rotterdam (l Del Potro); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Monte Carlo (l Djokovic); QF(4): Australian Open (l Nadal); Dubai (l Murray); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Rome (l Nadal); Halle (l Haas)
YTD W-L: 41-15 (23-7 on hard), 14-11 in Tie-breaks
YTD Titles: 1
Career Titles: 7
Date of Birth: September 17, 1985
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 7

• Berdych, 26, the top player from the Czech Republic is compiling another solid season with a 41-15 match record (23-7 on hard) and in his third final of the year (1-1 mark)…Has lost one set this week, defeating Alex Bogomolov Jr. 63 75, No. 16 seed Jarkko Nieminen 63 62, Steve Darcis 46 62 60 and No. 7 seed Sam Querrey 64 63…Leads the tournament in return games won (17 of 39, 44%), No. 3 in aces (33) and has held serve  36 of 42 games (86%) 
• Has a 3-8 mark vs. Top 10 opponents this season, losing last five since win over No. 4 Andy Murray in quarter-finals at Monte-Carlo in April (29-68 in career)…Has a 1-5 record in finals vs. Top 10 foes with lone win coming over No. 10 Ivan Ljubicic in ’05 ATP Masters 1000 Paris
• The past two weeks (after a bye) reached the third round at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments in Toronto (l. to Gasquet) and Cincinnati (l. to Raonic)
• His best result was capturing a seventh career ATP World Tour title in Montpellier, France on Feb. 5  (d. Monfils in final)…Also a runner-up at ATP Masters 1000 Madrid in May (l. to Federer), his third                                                                                                                                   in an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final (1-2) and fifth on clay (2-3)
• Has a 7-7 career record in finals and trying to earn his first title in the United States…His previous final in the U.S. was at the ATP Masters 1000 in Miami two years ago (l. to Roddick)
• Also a semi-finalist in Rotterdam (l. to No. 10 del Potro) in February and Monte-Carlo (l. to Djokovic) in April along with quarter-finalist at Australian Open (l. to No. 2 Nadal) and fourth round at Roland Garros (l. to del Potro) and first round at Wimbledon (l. to Gulbis)
• In April won both of his singles Davis Cup QF matches vs. Serbia, defeating Viktor Troicki and Janko Tipsarevic, both in straight sets…Czech Republic will play Argentina in SFs in September

2012 WILD CARD WINNERS – Berdych is trying to become the fourth wild card winner on the ATP World Tour this season. Wild cards are 3-2 in finals this season:
-Andy Roddick (Eastbourne)
-Tommy Haas (Halle)
-Nicolas Almagro (Sao Paulo)

US Open DRAW – The final Grand Slam tournament of the season gets underway Monday at the US Open and Berdych is the No. 6 seed and in the top half of the draw while Isner is No. 9 in the bottom half. If they meet there it will be in the championship. Berdych opens against Belgian David Goffin (and could meet World No. 1 Roger Federer in the quarter-finals) and Isner takes on another Belgian, Xavier Malisse in his opener. The highest seed in Isner’s quarter of the draw is No. 4 David Ferrer.

DOUBLES FINAL - Andujar/Mayer (ESP/ARG) vs. Gonzalez/Lipsky (MEX/USA)
• Unseeded Pablo Andujar and Leonardo Mayer took out top seeds Bopanna/Fyrstenberg in the quarter-finals, 67(6) 76(4) 104 (they won their other two rounds in straight sets). Andujar and Mayer are playing their first ATP World Tour doubles final together.

• Unseeded Santiago Gonzalez and Scott Lipsky beat No. 3 seeds Fleming/Hutchins in the first round, 76(7) 76(3) (in their other two matches they went to a match tie-break once).  Gonzalez and Lipsky are playing their third ATP World Tour doubles final together and are 2-0 so far in those, winning titles at Barcelona in April 2011 and Newport in July.

• Doubles final W-L: Andujar (0-2), Mayer (1-1), Gonzalez (4-2), Lipsky (7-7).

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