Atlanta semifinal recap: Isner into fourth final in five years

Five years, four finals. John Isner booked a spot in his fourth final appearances in five installments of the Atlanta tournament by defeating Jack Sock in straight sets on Saturday afternoon. Next up for Isner is Dudi Sela, who held off Benjamin Becker in three sets.

Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey kicked off Saturday’s proceedings with a 6-7(6), 7-5, 10-7 win over fellow American Kevin King and New Zealand’s Michael Venus. Johnson and Querrey did not strike a single ace in the entire match, but they still managed to win 36 of 41 first-serve points en route to their hard-fought victory. Querrey Johnson
Two more Americans took the court shortly thereafter, although this time there could only be one winner. John Isner and Jack Sock squared off in the day’s marquee semifinal matchup, as they faced each other for the third time this season and for the second time in three weeks. What Isner called “a little bit of a rubber match” came on the heels of a 6-4, 6-3 win in Nice for Isner followed by a recent 6-4, 7-6(4) upset for Sock in Newport.

This time it was Isner who exacted a measure of revenge. Atlanta’s No. 1 seed and defending champion got better and better as the match went on, ultimately pulling away from his younger compatriot for a 7-5, 6-4 triumph. Isner ended each of the two sets with a service break after surviving pressure situations on his own serve. Sock had a good look at a backhand pass on break point at 5-5 in the first set, but it clipped the tape. A back-and-forth exchange at the net with Sock having a break point at 2-2 in the second resulted in an errant lob attempt by the 21-year-old American. Isner controlled the action from that point through the finish line and he benefited from a Sock double-fault on match point at 4-5, ad-out.
Isner 1
Sock
“I felt better out there today,” Isner noted, comparing this one to his quarterfinal clash against Marinko Matosevic. “I don’t know if that was because I was more acclimated to it or because it simply wasn’t as hot. At the beginning of the match–the first three, four, five, six games–I didn’t feel good at all. I didn’t have my legs. As the match wore on, I started feeling better. It’s kind of weird how that goes.”

On his relatively slow start, the world No. 12 said, “I wasn’t putting any pressure on [Sock’s serve]. Sometimes that can work in my favor; he’s been holding real easily. If I could put a little bit of pressure on him, maybe he could crack a little bit. It was a long game (at 5-6) and eventually I was able to break through. I was real proud of that.”

Isner has to be proud of his history in Atlanta, as well. The former University of Georgia star is now 15-3 lifetime at the event with a title last summer, runner-up finishes in both 2010 and 2011, and a semifinal performance in 2012.

“I would be hard-pressed to find a place,” Isner responded when asked if feels better at any other tournament than he does in Atlanta. “I’ve made four finals here. I won the tournament in Winston-Salem twice before. That’s actually my hometown. This feels like my hometown, because I went to school here. It’s my time of year here to play well here and start picking up the pace a little bit. I’m off to a good start and it could have been off to a pretty bad start; I was down two match points in my first match (against Robby Ginepri on Thursday night).”
Isner wins
If Isner’s first three wins signaled a good start, he will hope to finish in style against Dudi Sela in Sunday’s championship match. Sela booked a spot in his second career ATP final by battling past Benjamin Becker 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

“I played pretty good,” the 5’9” Israeli said. “I felt very good in the first set and also at the beginning of the second. He played very aggressive and very well I thought in the second set and the beginning of the third.”

in the same Rolex Cellini Replica style as the team replica watches. I find the engraving far more satisfying, but would have liked to see a bit more depth to it. There is a little more branding on the PRC200. Firstly, Burberry handbags the 6 oclock sub-dial sports a basketball image in grey. Additionally, the pushers are edged with red (top) and blue (bottom), Breitling Replica Watches UK which is, to me, the coolest thing.