WESTERN & SOUTHERN OPEN 2013
Isner Saves M.P. To Beat Del Potro
by ATP Staff|
John Isner survived one match point against Juan Martin del Potro in the Western & Southern Open semi-finals Saturday, moving into his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final with a 6-7(5), 7-6(9), 6-3 victory.
Isner, the leader of the Emirates Airline US Open Series, has registered three consecutive Top 10 victories entering the final, also defeating No. 10 Milos Raonic in the third round and denying World No. 1 Novak Djokovic a shot at the Career Golden Masters in the quarters.
In a rematch of the Citi Open final just two weeks ago between two of the biggest ball-strikers on the ATP World Tour, del Potro took the first set in a tie-break and served for the match at 5-3 in the second, before Isner battled back to pull even. Isner would grab an early break in the third set and cruise from there, prevailing in two hours and 48 minutes.
“I've been winning a lot of matches this summer,” said Isner. “I feel like this tournament here is where I'm really starting to put it all together. I've beaten three Top 10 guys in a row. For me to do that, I have been playing well, really in pretty much all facets of my game. There's definitely some stuff I can always improve on, but I do think I'm playing well.”
Watch del Potro Hot Shot
Isner is confident heading into his first Cincinnati final. “I'm just very happy. Playing tournaments of this magnitude and being able to get wins like that on a packed stadium court full of American fans cheering me on, it's an unbelievable feeling.”
Isner uncharacteristically struggled with his serve in the first set, falling behind in four of six service games and staving off a break point at 3-3 30/40. Del Potro, meanwhile, did not face a break point in the first set, winning 88% of points on his first serve.
The match was on del Potro’s racquet at 5-3 in the second set, but the World No. 7 double faulted on match point and was later broken after an extended baseline rally, when Isner cranked a backhand winner down-the-line. After snatching multiple mini-breaks in the ensuing tie-break, Isner finally converted on his fifth set point after del Potro pulled a forehand wide.
The 6'10" American faced three break points to open the third set and he continued to demonstrate his resolve by holding and immediately breaking del Potro in the very next game. Both players would hold serve from there, with Isner clinching the victory on his first match point.
“I had my chance to beat him in the second (set),” del Potro said. Serving for the match, I made too many errors for these kind of matches. And then in the end, he was fighting all the time. I think he deserves to win in the third set, but I missed my chance in the second set, and I'm very disappointed for that.”
Isner, who will return to the Top 20 next week, hit 63 winners and fired 23 aces to increase his total to a tournament-leading 72. He is seeking to become the first unseeded champion in Cincinnati in the Open Era.
Isner will face the victor of today’s second semi-final between Rafael Nadal and Tomas Berdych, looking to become one of just four players on the ATP World Tour with at least three titles in 2013. Nadal (8), Andy Murray (4) and Novak Djokovic (3) are the others.