Isner Moves Closer To Auckland Hat Trick
John Isner wanted matches and he’s getting them this week at the ASB Classic. The fourth-seeded American hammered 25 aces on Thursday to battle past Brit Kyle Edmund 7-6(5), 7-6(5) and reach the semi-finals.
Isner saved three set points on his serve at 5-6 in the second set before going to prevail in one hour and 57 minutes. He also improved to 3-1 in his ATP Head2Head with Edmund. Isner is through to his third semi-final in Auckland (2010, 2014) and left with the title on both of his previous trips to the last four.
”I’m happy with the second set and the way I played towards the end of the match. I do think I improved from yesterday,” Isner said. “Winning matches like this can give me a lot of confidence for the rest of this tournament, the Australian Open and the rest of the year.”
Awaiting him in the next round is Frenchman Ugo Humbert, who upset second-seeded Canadian Denis Shapovalov 7-5, 6-4. Humbert broke Shapovalov in the final game of each set to score his third win over a player inside the Top 15 of the FedEx ATP Rankings.
“I’m really happy about this win, one of the biggest of my career. I’m happy about my three matches here,” Humbert said. “I tried to play each ball and stay focussed on my plan. That was working, so it was really nice.”
Benoit Paire rallied from a set down to reach his first semi-final in Auckland, beating John Millman 3-6, 6-1, 6-4. The fifth seed saved five of six break points to record his second ATP Head2Head win in three meetings against Millman after one hour and 42 minutes.
Paire will face Hubert Hurkacz of Poland for a spot in the championship match. After failing to convert six match points in a dramatic second-set tie-break, the sixth seed beat Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 6-7(11), 6-4. Hurkacz defeated Paire in his only previous ATP Head2Head encounter against the Frenchman to win his maiden ATP Tour trophy at last year’s Winston-Salem Open.
“I think [Hurkacz] is a very good player,” said Paire. “I know him very well. I played doubles with him a few times and I was practising a lot with him. I know he is a good guy, he beat me in the final last year for his first title in Winston-Salem, so I know he could be dangerous.”
Krajicek/Skugor Move Into Semi-finals
Fourth seeds Austin Krajicek/Franko Skugor cruised through Dominic Inglot/Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi 6-2, 6-2 in just 55 minutes. Awaiting them in the semi-finals are Marcus Daniell/Philipp Oswald, who battled past Frederik Nielsen/Tim Puetz 4-6, 6-1, 10-7.
Sander Gille/Joran Vliegen saved two match points at 5-6 in the second set of their quarter-final before going to to defeat Divij Sharan/Artem Sitak 5-7, 7-6(3), 11-9. They’ll now face Luke Bambridge/Ben McLachlan, who upset third seeds Rohan Bopanna/Henri Kontinen 6-3, 6-4.