US MEN'S CLAY COURT CHAMPIONSHIP
Isner Avenges Houston Loss; Plays Almagro In Final
by ATP Staff|
Fifth seed John Isner will look to go one step further at the US Men's Clay Court Championship on Sunday in Houston against top seed Nicolas Almagro. The two advanced to the final in completely different fashion Saturday afternoon.
Isner won a re-match against defending champion Juan Monaco, turning the tables for a 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory over the third seed. Isner won four fewer points than the Argentine, but converted the only break point opportunity in the third set to clinch the win in two hours and two minutes. The American improved to 3-1 against Monaco.
“Even though I got creamed in that first set, I felt I was playing pretty well. My serve wasn't really on,” assessed Isner. “But I was making a lot of returns and so I told myself I was in the match. I just had to try and find a way to break through on his serve. I served smart, got myself out of [some] jams the rest of the match. It was a tight one all the way to the end.”
Having entered Houston with a losing record in 2013, Isner will aim to hoist his sixth tour-level trophy. The 23rd-ranked Isner will need to overturn a 0-2 record against Almagro. The World No. 12 prevailed in five sets to win their latest meeting in the Davis Cup semi-finals last year.
Almagro dismissed wild card Rhyne Williams 6-2, 6-1, winning 61 per cent of his return points to break the first-time ATP World Tour semi-finalist five times. The top seed overwhelmed the American in just 59 minutes to reach the title match on his event debut.
“I think I played better than yesterday. I felt good today,” said Almagro. “I'm very happy with my game. I tried to be focused all the time. That's important for me. I tried to play aggressive and I did it.”
The Spaniard is seeking his 13th ATP World Tour title, with all of his previous trophies coming on clay. Almagro is also bidding to claim his first crown on United States soil. His latest triumph came this past May when he successfully defended his title in Nice (d. Baker).