© Peter Staples/ATP Tour

John Isner rallies from a set down to beat Briton Cameron Norrie Tuesday in Cincinnati.

Isner Makes History In Cincinnati, Joins 13,000-Ace Club

The American will next play #NextGenATP star Sinner

John Isner felled Cameron Norrie and yet another serving milestone on Tuesday evening at the Western & Southern Open.

The 36-year-old American defeated the British lefty 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 to reach the second round in Cincinnati. In doing so, Isner hit 26 aces to reach 13,004 for his career. He is just the second player in history to reach the 13,000-ace milestone, joining Ivo Karlovic (13,709).

"Very cool. I do know that I'm within shouting distance of Ivo, of maybe getting that record," Isner said. "If he does retire soon, that certainly is a milestone that seems attainable, the all-time record milestone. I would like to hold that record, I'm not going to shy away from that. We'll see if I can get there."

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Isner has found good form during the North American hard-court swing, winning his 16th ATP Tour title in Atlanta and advancing to his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final in more than two years last week in Toronto.

The home favourite will next play #NextGenATP Italian Jannik Sinner, the 11th seed, who eliminated Argentine Federico Delbonis 6-2, 7-5 on Monday. This will be the pair’s first ATP Head2Head clash.

Isner found himself down a set when play resumed after a rain delay that lasted more than four hours. But he successfully navigated a tricky tie-break and broke immediately in the third set to put himself in a strong position. Isner fittingly hit three aces in the final game of the match to triumph after exactly two hours.

"I do think the rain delay might have helped me a little bit," Isner said. "It was a match I have played a bunch before, a scenario where I eke out a second set and maybe just play one decent game in the third set and hold on with my serve from there. I'll certainly take it. That's the type of match you find yourself winning when you're confident, and things just sort of go your way. That's what I have going for me right now."

Another big-serving American, Reilly Opelka, also clawed through his opener. The 23-year-old won 85 per cent of his first-serve points in a 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-4 victory against French lefty Corentin Moutet.

Opelka made his first Masters 1000 final last week in Toronto, where he upset Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semi-finals. The American will face eighth seed Casper Ruud in the second round.

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