John Isner, the four-time NCAA All-American, was the first to earn a trip back to the finals of the Atlanta Tennis Championships. In his semifinal match, he faced Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller who has played some of the best tennis of his career this week. To reach the semifinals, Muller recorded two major upsets, taking out the No. 7 seed Alex Bogomolov Jr. in the first round and the No. 2 seed, Kevin Anderson 7-6(3), 7-6(3) to reach the semifinal.
In the first two sets, Isner and Muller held serve easily. The 6’9" American was able to secure one break in the first set at 5-5, to serve out the set 7-5. The second set had no breaks of serves but saw Muller play an impressive tiebreak to force a third set.
After taking a break in order to change into completely new set of clothes, a refreshed Isner dominated the decisive set. Isner was able to break Muller in the second game in order to go up to a quick 2-0 lead and this seemed to be the final momentum swing of the match. Isner raced out to a dominant 5-1 lead, before serving out the match and closing the door on Muller’s aspirations of reaching his first ATP World Tour final since 2005.
Isner has now won eight consecutive matches including his first ATP Title of the season at the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tournament in Newport. In his post-match interview, Isner reflected on his current win streak. "I’ve been waiting to have this feeling for the entire first half of the season," he said. He now feels that he has his confidence back to support his powerful game and knows that he can compete with any player on tour.
In tomorrow’s rematch of the 2010 final, Isner faces his good friend, Mardy Fish who continued his dominance here in Atlanta with a win over Ryan Harrison. Harrison, the 19-year-old American, had a remarkable run to his maiden ATP World Tour semifinal, highlighted by his thrilling quarterfinal victory over Rajeev Ram in a tight third-set tiebreak. But Fish, the top ranked American, proved too much for Harrison, winning 6-2, 6-4.
Tomorrow’s battle between Fish and Isner marks the first time there has been an all-American final in an ATP World Tour event since the two good friends clashed here exactly one year ago. This is also the first time since the 2010 event in Basel that a tournament has featured the same two finalists – Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer – in consecutive years.
Fish and Isner have played three times before with Fish leading the series 2-1, including last year’s final where he won a thrilling match in a third-set tiebreak.
Tomorrow’s doubles final was also set today. In the first match, Alex Bogomolov Jr. and Matthew Ebden defeated Xavier Malisse and Richard Berankis 6-1, 7-6(3). They were the beneficiaries of John Isner pulling out of doubles and are yet to lose a set en route to the final. They will face the German duo of Matthias Bachinger and Frank Moser who won their semifinal in a decisive ten-point tiebreak 10-8.