© Ben Solomon/International Tennis Hall of Fame

John Isner advances to his sixth Newport semi-final.

Isner Reaches Newport SFs On Eighth Match Point

Second seed faces Cressy in all-American semi-final

John Isner extended his win streak at the Infosys Hall of Fame Open to 10 matches on Thursday with a thrilling 7-6(2), 6-7(6), 7-6(5) quarter-final victory against fifth-seeded Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi. The four-time Newport champion set up an all-American semi-final showdown with Maxime Cressy in a rematch of their Australian Open first-round matchup, in which Cressy battled back from two sets down to advance.

Bonzi saved three match points from 3-6 in the second-set tie-break, then erased another four from 1-6 in the third-set tie-break, including one on a miraculous backhand pass at 4-6. But Isner snatched the win after a strong return on his eighth match point.

"I got off to a good start in the [final] tie-break and I needed every single bit of it, obviously," Isner said post-match. "Eventually I was able to win. That was a crazy match, for sure.

"From 6-1 up to 6-5 after losing two serves, after that passing shot, I was thinking that this probably is not my day, truthfully. Because he played very well at 6-3 in the second-set tie-break as well. It was too good from him. I was able to hit a good return somehow, because I was all discombobulated at 6-5."

The quarter-final scoreline suggests a typical Isner match of few break chances, but that was not the case in a see-saw opening set. As both men struggled to make first serves, with neither surpassing the 60 per cent mark, four breaks of serve preceded the first tie-break.

Order was restored on serve in the final two sets, with no break points on offer. While Isner had the easier holds in set two, Bonzi had the better of the decider until the tie-break. The two-hour, 47-minute contest also included a brief rain delay with Isner leading 4/2 in the second-set tie-break.

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With the victory, the American improved to 25-5 in Newport, where he won the title in 2011, 2012, 2017 and 2019. He is through to his sixth semi-final on the Rhode Island lawns. With another victory he would enter the Top 20 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings; Isner has not been inside the Top 20 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings since February 2020.

The second seed will face a fellow big server when he takes on Cressy in the semi-finals. The fourth seed has not dropped serve in two Newport matches and saved all three break points he faced in a 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-4 win against countryman and 2018 Newport champion Steve Johnson.

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"He's coming into his own for sure right now," Isner said of Cressy, who upset Felix Auger-Aliassime at Wimbledon after reaching the Eastbourne final last month. "He's having a great year and he does a lot of very good things on the court. He serves and volleys incredibly well. He probably has, in my mind, one of the best volleys on Tour and he plays aggressively on big points. I think our match will be very close.

"I'm looking forward to it. He's a nice kid and it'll be a fun matchup."

Cressy, up to No. 38 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, is set tor reach a new career high Monday in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, breaking into the Top 40 for the first time.

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