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Isner Rebounds, Tops Anderson In Cincy; Fognini Saves 2 M.P.

Cincinnati, U.S.A.

Top American and returning finalist John Isner bounced back from a pair of opening losses to defeat South African Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-4 on Monday night at the Western & Southern Open.

Their last meeting in the 2013 Atlanta final had been determined in three tie-break sets, with just two points separating the two players and neither dropping serve. In their first-round Cincinnati match, the 6’10” Isner claimed a break in each set for the 65-minute victory over the 6’8” Anderson, improving to a 7-3 mark in their FedEx ATP Head2Head.

“If you look at our past matches, there haven’t been many breaks of serve, there hasn’t been anything that’s really separated us, but tonight was a little bit different and I played well,” said Isner. “I’m just happy to move on.” 

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World No. 14 Isner had opened the Emirates Airline US Open Series by successfully defending his Atlanta title, but lost his next two matches in Washington (l. to Johnson) and Toronto (l. to Dodig). Anderson, currently No. 17 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, had upset Stan Wawrinka last week at the Rogers Cup and held two match points in his quarter-final match against Grigor Dimitrov.

Isner had reached the final last year at this ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament with successive victories over four Top 11 players, including No. 1 Novak Djokovic, before falling to Rafael Nadal.

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The No. 11 seed will next face Australian qualifier Marinko Matosevic, whom he defeated three weeks ago in the Atlanta quarter-finals. Matosevic closed out a 6-4, 7-6(4) win over Frenchman Nicolas Mahut as he converted one of his 11 break point chances and saved the six faced.

Italian Fabio Fognini, the No. 15 seed, prevailed in a late-night battle against Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin, clinching the 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(5) victory after two hours and 37 minutes. Fognini fought from
2-4 down in the third set to take a 5-4 lead. He fell behind again, double-faulting twice in the 11th game as he was broken to love, and needed to save two match points on Roger-Vasselin's serve to force a decisive tie-break.

Fognini will next play former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt, who advanced with a three-sets win on Sunday.

Gilles Simon set a second-round meeting with top seed Djokovic after defeating Australian qualifier and recent Bogota champion Bernard Tomic 6-3, 6-2 in one hour.

Simon holds a 1-7 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Djokovic, with his lone victory coming in their first meeting in 2008 at Marseille. Djokovic, a four-time Cincinnati finalist, is looking to become the first player to complete the Career Golden Masters by winning all nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments. 

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