ISNER WINS ALL-U.S. FINAL
FOR FOURTH ATLANTA OPEN TITLE
E.J. Crawford | July 30, 2017
Summertime is John Isner season – and the BB&T Atlanta Open is his showcase event.
The former University of Georgia star proved it once again on Sunday, kicking off the 2017 US Open Series by defeating fellow American Ryan Harrison, 7-6, 7-6, to win his fourth career Atlanta title and his second tournament in as many weeks.
Isner, who won the Hall of Fame Open in Newport, R.I., last Sunday, has now won nine of his 12 career tour titles in the summer, pairing his four Atlanta crowns with three won in Newport and two in Winston-Salem – at the Winston-Salem Open, the final men’s Series event of the year.
"This is always going to be my favorite time of year," Isner told reporters afterward. "I seem to play well in America every single year, so I couldn’t have asked for a better start.”
Sunday marked Isner’s fifth consecutive final in Atlanta and his seventh overall. ADVERTISEMENT He won the tournament in 2013, 2014 and 2015 but lost in the title match to Nick Kyrgios a year ago. This year marked the first all-American final in Atlanta since Mardy Fish defeated Isner in 2011.
Isner did not drop serve en route to claiming the trophy in Newport, and he was similarly dominant this week in the Peachtree City. He rolled to the final without losing a set, defeating Vasek Pospisil, Lukas Lacko and a red-hot Gilles Muller in the semifinals, 6-4, 6-2, to advance. Overall, Isner has now won eight consecutive matches and all 16 sets to start his summer season.
He was stretched to the limit on Sunday, however, with Harrison holding set points in each sets. At 5-6 down in the first-set tiebreak, Isner came up with a big first serve to draw even, held again to earn a set point of his own and captured the frame, 8-6 in the tiebreak, with a forehand winner.
Harrison finally broke Isner to gain a 2-0 advantage in the second set – the first time Isner dropped serve in eight matches – but the North Carolina native broke right back, and the two men held to another tiebreak. There, Harrison earned another set point, this time at 7-6, but Isner erased it with one of his 23 aces, then won the match with another big forehand, 9-7 in the second-set breaker.
“It was a battle," Isner said. "I needed every ounce of my energy out there, but I’m so happy to win this tournament again. This tournament has meant everything to me.”
With the victory, Isner will improve to No. 18 in Monday's rankings, pushing him past Jack Sock to regain the top ranking among American men.
Despite the loss, the 25-year-old Harrison is set to crack the Top 40 for the first time in his career when the new rankings are released on Monday. The 2017 Memphis Open singles winner and French Open doubles champion (with Michael Venus) is also on the cusp of the Top 20 in the individual doubles rankings.
“Being back in the final again is a good result,” Harrison said, accoring to atpwroldtour.com. “I think I can put myself in this position more and more often. It was a great week.”
Also Sunday, Bob and Mike Bryan won their second title of 2017 (Eastbourne), defeating Wesley Koolhof and Artem Sitak, 6-3, 6-4.