Give Him Five! Isner Clinches Full Handful of Atlanta Titles
Atlanta's favourite tennis Georgia Bulldog might be on his way to becoming the city's mayor. Top-seeded American John Isner won his fifth BB&T Atlanta Open title on Sunday, beating compatriot Ryan Harrison in the final for the second consecutive year 5-7, 6-3, 6-4.
Isner extended his record haul in Atlanta (2013-'15, 2017) and picked up his second ATP World Tour title of the year, matching his career-best season tally. He won his maiden ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown in April at the Miami Open presented by Itau (d. A. Zverev).
“It’s incredible, and I think I said it last year, I feel like there may come a time where I’m not back in the finals, or I’m not the champion again, but as it stands right now I’m very happy to be the champ here,” Isner said. “I’m very comfortable here: I make breakfast in my own room, I go to the Publix next door. It really feels like I’m at home, and that helps so much.”
The 33-year-old Isner, who will receive 250 ATP Rankings points and $119,250 in prize money, is having his best season. Earlier this month, he reached his maiden Grand Slam semi-final at Wimbledon (l. to Anderson). He will maintain his position in the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings at No. 9 on Monday when the new rankings are released.
The eighth-seeded Harrison was going for his second ATP World Tour title (2017 Memphis) and had chances to take control of the match after a strong opening.
In the 11th game, Harrison converted his only break point of the first set and served to love to take the opener for the first time this week. Four times Harrison needed to come back from a set down to make the final, becoming the first player to do so since Gilles Simon at the 2008 Mutua Madrid Open.
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Harrison also became the first player to come back from a set down in all four matches at an event en route to the final since Tommy Haas at the 2001 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament in Stuttgart.
But Harrison couldn't seize control in the second set, failing to come through in all four of his break-point chances, including three in the third game. Instead, it was Isner who took advantage of his lone opportunity, following a forehand to the net and placing the pressure on Harrison, who netted a backhand on break point.
Isner let the momentum carry him in the third, breaking Harrison to start with a crosscourt forehand winner and serving out the match to love in the 10th game. Harrison will receive 150 ATP Rankings points and $62,805 in prize money.
“I realise I was fortunate today... I’ve been on the other end where you have four or five chances to put your stamp on the match and you don’t get it, and I just had one chance, and played a good point, and was able to win the second set, and had one chance in the third and got up early,” Isner said. “That’s how our sport goes sometimes, and I was very fortunate today.”
Did You Know?
Isner has reached the Atlanta final eight of the nine years he's played at the event. In 2012, he lost in the semi-finals to eventual champion Andy Roddick.