© Peter Staples/ATP Tour

John Isner and Diego Schwartzman advance to the final at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome on Saturday.

Isner/Schwartzman Battle To Rome Final

Singles stars teaming up for first time in Italian capital this week

John Isner and Diego Schwartzman’s partnership continued its dream run at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome on Saturday, as the ‘little and large’ combination overcame Andrey Golubev and Maximo Gonzalez in the semi-finals of the ATP Masters 1000 event.

Isner and Schwartzman won 81 per cent (38/47) of points behind their first serve in the match, but Golubev and Gonzalez were still able to clinch the only break of the second set and force a Match Tie-break on Pietrangeli.

A tense climax saw Isner and Schwartzman let a first match point slip at 9/8 in the Match Tie-break, but they made no mistake the second time around to complete a 6-4, 4-6, 11-9 victory and move within one win of a Masters 1000 title in their first tour-level appearance together.

The triumph makes Isner the first player to reach three Masters 1000 doubles finals with three different players in the same year. The American lifted the trophy at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells with countryman Jack Sock in March, and then claimed the Miami Open presented by Itau crown with Hubert Hurkacz later that month.

In Sunday’s championship match, Isner and Schwartzman will face third seeds and defending champions Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic, who defeated home favourites Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini 6-3, 7-6(5) in the second semi-final.