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John Isner will try to reach his fourth Masters 1000 final this week in Miami.

Isner Looking In His Finest Form

American is searching for his maiden Masters 1000 title

If John Isner serves the way he did on Wednesday for the remainder of the week, the American might very well be celebrating his maiden ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title at the Miami Open presented by Itau.

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The 14th seed won 97 per cent of his first-serve points (31/32) and erased the only break point he faced to beat South Korea's Hyeon Chung 6-1, 6-4 in only 69 minutes.

I was in a good rhythm on the court. Obviously I was taking care of my serve, but I didn't feel like today I needed to really red-line things out there and try to end the points so short. I felt like I could be patient from the baseline, because I was very happy with how I was playing and how I was moving,” Isner said.

“This is actually the best I've moved all year. That's not working harder, or training harder off the court; that's just from me being more confident on the court.”

The 6'10” American will play his 11th Masters 1000 semi-final against either Juan Martin del Potro or Milos Raonic, who face off not before 9 p.m. E.T. Isner has now reached the semi-finals at four of his past seven Masters 1000 events, dating back to 2017 Rome.

“Del Potro is playing the best tennis in the world right now. I don't think that can be argued,” Isner said of the BNP Paribas Open champion. “Milos finally appears to be getting back to top form. He's one of the game's best players... It's going to be a very good match tonight.” 

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Isner and Chung had played three times in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, with Isner leading 2-1. But Chung had won their most recent contest, in January at the ASB Classic in Auckland. Isner remarked after the match: “That's a completely different player than the one I played in the previous two times.”

But it was Isner who elevated his game at Crandon Park. The American grew in confidence after breaking Chung in the fourth game of the first set. Chung fired himself up to start the second set, but another break sealed it for Isner, who has doubled his 2018 win count this week. He entered the season's second Masters 1000 tournament with only two wins but he's secured four in South Florida.

Watch quarter-final highlights of Isner v Chung and Del Potro v Raonic...

“It just goes to show that in tennis, in any sport really, you can appear to be down and out but if you keep the faith and keep plugging along and keep believing that good things are ahead, they're actually going to come true, and that's certainly been the case for me this week,” he said.

Isner hasn't changed any of his work on the court, he said, but he has spent more time off court talking with his coaches about what's gone wrong in close matches this season. “More than anything it's all between the ears,” Isner said.

The 32-year-old has reached three Masters 1000 finals during his 12-year professional career. But every time he's made a title match at the prestigious level, he's ran into a member of the vaunted “Big Four”: 2012 Indian Wells, lost to Roger Federer; 2013 Cincinnati, lost to Rafael Nadal; and 2016 Paris, lost to Andy Murray.

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For the first time since 2000, though, none of the “Big Four” is left in Key Biscayne, opening up the draw for Isner and others. 

“What it comes down to for me is keep doing what I'm doing and just keep that feeling that I'm having on the court. If I can keep that and, obviously block everything else out, it's simple,” Isner said.

“Just take care of my serve and hit my shots and just be calm out there and be relaxed. You can't play when you're tense and tight and elbows stuck here and you can't release on your shots. It's no fun playing like that. The way I played this week is a lot of fun.”

Chung was trying to reach his second semi-final of the season after making the last four at the Australian Open. He'll still have reason to celebrate come Monday: Chung is expected to make his debut inside the Top 20 of the ATP Rankings at No. 19 when the new rankings are released.

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