HEINEKEN OPEN 2014
Isner To Face First-Time Finalist Lu
Auckland, New Zealand
by ATP Staff|
Third seed John Isner fired 17 aces as he recovered from a set and a break down to reach the Heineken Open final on Friday in Auckland. The American battled past Roberto Bautista Agut 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-4 in the first of the semi-finals.
"I was a bit erratic. I felt like I made a lot of mistakes out there," said Isner. "I was missing some forehands that I don't normally miss. But at the same time, my opponent was simply playing better than me for the majority of that match. I just stuck with it mentally.
"I was down 5-4 in the second set with him serving. I just told myself to play solid and that's what I did and I was able to turn the match around. I still believed I could get the match back to even."
Watch Auckland Semi-Finals Highlights
Three-time defending champion David Ferrer could not pull off the same comeback, though. The Spaniard, who had won 14 matches in a row in Auckland, was beaten 6-4, 7-6(4) by World No. 62 Yen-Hsun Lu.
"I am proud. I won a lot of matches here in Auckland," said Ferrer. "I will be here next year. I like this tournament and if I am fit I will be here next year."
The 30-year-old Lu is looking to win his first ATP World Tour title having reached his first final. The right-hander has dropped just one set in four matches this week.
"My performance today was really amazing," said Lu. "At the beginning I just told myself to try to win the first point and try to win a game. Then go game by game. I kept going until the end and beat the No. 3 in the world today. It's my first final on the ATP World Tour. Beating a Top 10 guy gives me a lot of confidence."
The 28-year-old Isner is through to his 17th ATP World Tour final (7-9 record) and takes a 1-0 FedEx ATP Head2Head lead into the match with Lu, having prevailed two and a half years ago for the loss of just three games when they met in Atlanta.
Isner contested four finals last season, including his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title match at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati (l. to Nadal). The World No. 14 won his first career title in Auckland in 2010, defeating Arnaud Clement in the final.
Peya/Soares Continue Strong Start
The Austrian-Brazilian duo of Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares reached their second consecutive final to open the 2014 ATP World Tour season after dismissing Daniele Bracciali and Lukas Dlouhy 6-4, 6-0 in the Auckland semi-finals. Runners-up at last week’s Qatar ExxonMobil Open (l. to Berdych/Hajek), Peya and Soares continue their impressive form having won five titles in 10 finals in 2013.
Soares won the Heineken Open crown with Colin Fleming last year and will face another former partner, countryman Marcelo Melo, in Saturday’s final. Melo and partner Julian Knowle defeated Eric Butorac and Raven Klaasen 7-6(3), 7-6(4) in the other semi-final and will be competing in their first final together.