Isner wins Miami Open
for first Masters 1000 title
Sally Milano | April 1, 2018
John Isner captured the first ATP Masters 1000 title of his career Sunday, defeating Alexander Zverev, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-4, in the final of the Miami Open.
Isner, who was playing in his fourth career Masters 1000 final, moves to 1-3 lifetime against the German. The two played in the Round of 16 in Miami last year, when Zverev saved three match points to take the match in three tiebreak sets, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (7), 7-6 (5).
The 32-year-old Isner has been on a roll in Miami, earning straight-set victories over world No. 3 Marin Cilic in the round of 16, reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion Hyeon Chung in the quarterfinals and Indian Wells champion and sixth-ranked Juan Martin del Potro in the semifinals.
By also taking out world No. 5 Zverev in the final, the American veteran defeated three Top 6 players at the same tournament for the first time in his career.
"I couldn't have scripted this," Isner said in an on-court interview with ESPN following the final. "I came into this tournament, I won one ATP match all year and was playing very poorly. I won my first match in three sets, and that's how tennis goes. You start to gain a little confidence, and next thing you know, things start to roll your way."
In the first set of the final, both Isner and Zverev held serve to force a tiebreak, which Zverev won, 7-4. In the second set, Isner broke the 20-year-old German’s serve to take a 5-4 lead and then served out the set to level the match at one set apiece. Both opponents stayed on serve in the final set until the ninth game, when Isner again broke Zverev for 5-4. He ended the final game with an ace – his 18th of the match – winning the match in two hours, 30 minutes and becoming the oldest first-time winner of an ATP Masters 1000 tournament in history.
With his victory, Isner will move back into the world's Top 10 when the new ATP rankings are released Monday, equaling his career-high rank of No. 9, which he attained for the first time in April 2012.
Before his win Sunday, Isner had lost his previous three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 finals, falling to Roger Federer at Indian Wells in 2012, to Rafael Nadal at Cincinnati in 2013 and to Andy Murray at Paris in 2016.
"I was just ready for this moment," Isner said. "I’ve been here three times, and I’ve lost three times. I was just ready for it."
Americans had a successful run this year in Miami, with Isner winning the men's title, and Sloane Stephens capturing the women's championship, marking the first time since 2004 (Serena Williams, Andy Roddick) that Americans swept the Miami singles titles.
U.S. players swept in doubles, as well, with Bob and Mike Bryan claiming the men's doubles crown, and CoCo Vandeweghe teaming with partner Ashleigh Barty of Australia to win the women's doubles championship.