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Isner Triumphs In Auckland

Auckland, New Zealand

Isner© Getty ImagesJohn Isner won his eighth ATP World Tour title.

World No. 14 John Isner claimed his eighth ATP World Tour title on Saturday as he edged Yen-Hsun Lu 7-6(4), 7-6(7) in the final of the Heineken Open in Auckland. 

"I wish it didn't have to be so close at the end, it gives me a lot of grey hairs!" said Isner. "But I'm so happy. To say this was unexpected, coming into the tournament, would be a huge understatement. Sometimes that's how things work out. You come in with low expectations, the pressure's off, and things tend to work out. That was the case this week."

The American won his first title at this ATP World Tour 250 tournament in 2010, with victory over Arnaud Clement. His two titles in Auckland are the only trophies he has won outside of the U.S.A. He has an 8-9 finals record, having reached four finals last year.

Tie-breaks have been a prominent feature of Isner’s run through to the title in Auckland. The 28 year old finished the tournament with a 6-1 tie-break record, prevailing in two more in the final. Isner fired 23 aces, taking his total for the week to 79, and won 77 per cent of his service points to claim victory in one hour and 41 minutes, having been denied on all 10 of his break point chances.

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"I knew it was going to be a tough match," said Isner. "I knew he was playing well. It was, obviously, extremely tight. I thought it was my best performance all week. I was very happy with how I played. Apart from all the break points missed, I was extremely happy with everything. I felt like I was hitting the ball the best I have all week and that's a very good sign going forward."

Last year, Isner led the ATP World Tour with a 38-18 record in tie-breaks (most won and played).

"[Tie-breaks] favour me a bit, given I can get free points on my serve," said Isner. "When it comes down to a situation like a tie-break, I usually have a bit more adrenaline. I'm a little more keyed in on my serve. I'm normally serving my best in that situation and it puts a lot of pressure on my opponent."

"He just served incredibly," said Lu. "There was one period of time when I couldn't read his serve. Even sometimes, when I guessed right, I still couldn't really get the ball back. I started well, I managed one break point, but he's No. 14 in the world and his serve is his main weapon. I had a great week and I'm happy with my performance. I hope I can keep it going now into next week."

With the win, Isner earned $82,500 and 250 Emirates ATP Ranking points, while Lu received $43,450 and 150 Emirates ATP Ranking points.

At the age of 30, Lu was contesting his first ATP World Tour final, having knocked out four-time champion and World No. 3 David Ferrer in the semi-finals. The Chinese Taipei player recorded a 17-17 mark in 2013, winning two ATP Challenger Tour titles.

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