'Homebody' Isner Wins In Dallas

Seeds Wolf, Giron, Mannarino also advance

There's no place like home for John Isner.

After an empty trip Down Under to start his season, the American earned his first win of 2023 at the Dallas Open, just a short drive from his home in the Texas city. The fifth seed defeated Chun-Hsin Tseng 7-6(5), 7-6(1) on Tuesday night to get off the mark on the year.

"I would love to win some tennis matches in Australia. It just never happens," said Isner, who has reached the Australian Open fourth round twice. "I normally play my best at home, in the United States, and this is actually home.

"I'm a homebody and very lucky to, of course, have this tournament here in my backyard. I'm happy to move on. I've got to keep improving, and I think I can."

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One year ago at the inaugural Dallas tournament, Isner reached the semi-finals but bowed out to eventual champion Reilly Opelka after a 46-point tie-break—the longest singles tie-break in ATP Tour history.

On Tuesday, the American made quick work of Tseng by comparison in the one-hour, 47-minute match. Though he could not convert on any of his five break chances in the opening set, Isner hit 22 aces and played two strong tie-breaks to win in what was just his fifth match since fracturing his left wrist at the 2022 US Open.

"He's a great player," the 37-year-old said of Tseng. "He's young, he's very fast, he's great from the back of the court, much better than I am.

"I had to use my serve to my advantage. Truthfully, the first set should have been a lot easier. I was a little bit worn out after that first set, emotionally. But I was able to stay even in second set and I played a really, really good tie-break. I'm very happy I'm not still on this court. I want to go to bed!"

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Isner will next face qualifier Zachary Svajda or Daniel Altmaier.

In earlier Tuesday action, sixth seed J.J. Wolf scored a 6-3, 6-3 win against countryman Brandon Holt in his first action since reaching the Australian Open fourth round. Wolf dominated on serve, hitting nine aces and winning 93 per cent of his first-serve points. He did not face a break point in the match, converting on three of his six break chances.

The 24-year-old will meet Radu Albot in the second round after the Moldovan beat Liam Krall 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, denying the Southern Methodist University star a win in his ATP Tour debut. 

Seventh seed Marcos Giron won an all-American matchup with Alex Rybakov, 6-4, 6-7(1), 6-1, while eighth seed Adrian Mannarino advanced with a 7-6(6), 6-2 victory against American Steve Johnson.

All four seeded players in Tuesday action at the ATP 250 advanced to the last 16, where they join top seeds Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe, Denis Shapovalov and Miomir Kecmanovic.

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