Isner again tiebreaker free, Muller also rolls into Atlanta semifinals

Death, taxes, and John Isner in the semifinals of the BB&T Atlanta Open….

For the eighth time in the eight-year history of the tournament, John Isner will be a part of semifinal Saturday after he took care of Lukas Lacko 7-5, 6-4 on Friday. Isner fired 13 aces without double-faulting to prevail in one hour and 13 minutes.

It was another routine win for the 6’10” American, who lifted the trophy last week in Newport while winning all of his matches in straight sets and being pushed to just one tiebreaker. After 52 straight holds of serve without facing a break point, however, Isner finally stared one down at 3-4 in the opening set. But he erased Lacko’s chance with an unreturnable serve at 30-40 and held two points later for 4-4. A love break of his own at 5-5 allowed the three-time Atlanta champion to serve out the set with ease.

It was all but over for Lacko when he double-faulted twice at 4-4 in the second and got broken. Isner, who lost only five points in five second-set service games, held easily again to wrap up the match in style.

“Dangit that was a horrible service performance today,” the world No. 20 joked about being forced to save a break point. “No, I served well. He was for a good portion of the match on me a little bit. He returned well. He takes the return early, and he hit quite a few good returns quick and right at my feet. I stayed calm at that break point; hit a great serve–hit three great serves. (I) got out of dodge there and then was able to play a great game at 5-all to win the first set.”

Next up for Isner is a huge-serving affair with Wimbledon quarterfinalist Gilles Muller, who made even quicker work of Tommy Paul. Muller cracked 16 aces and fought off all four of the break points he faced to cruise through his quarterfinal contest 6-3, 6-1 after one hour and nine minutes.

A 45-minute rain delay came with Muller and Paul midway through the first set, but it was much different story upon resumption. The third-seeded Luxembourgian had already saved the four break points and he was invincible on serve the rest of the way.

“In the beginning it was really tough before the [rain delay],” Muller explained. “Tommy played really well. In the beginning he put a lot of pressure on me. He was returning great and serving big. I guess I was lucky that break came. Because after the break I had time to regroup a little bit and refocus. I came out there and I was a bit more aggressive. I think that was the key point today.”

The key for Muller all year long has been health. Staying injury free, the world No. 22 has earned the first two ATP titles of his career this season and he upset Rafael Nadal during his run at the All-England Club.

“There’s nothing else,” Muller said when asked what the difference is in 2017 aside from a clean bill of health. “Being healthy is the key. I’ve been saying for the last three or four years that since my injury I haven’t had any big breaks. I am able to pay full seasons. I have a lot of confidence in my body now. I know I am able to keep on playing for awhile. I also know when I have to stop. I think I do it perfectly. I know when to take my breaks. I know when to rest a little bit and when I can push my body.”

“It is certainly going to be a heavyweight fight tomorrow,” Isner assured. “Two big guys with great serves.”

10 Comments on Isner again tiebreaker free, Muller also rolls into Atlanta semifinals

  1. I was the only guy in the crowd yelling “Let’s go Gilles.” I’m gonna be the elephant in the room tomorrow as well. Go Gilles!!

          • Dude same here!! Haha that’s sick. I don’t live right in Atlanta but on the outskirts about half an hour from Atlantic station. Only day I missed this week was yesterday which I was kinda sad about because I missed that epic Harrison vs Millman match and Eubanks upsetting Donaldson.

  2. If my TV make the coverage for that match,i certainly will look for u too Benny!…I’m sure it’s not hard to find u!!Hehehe…

  3. Isner in 2. I’m being very optimistic! Want him to keep the streak going. Mainly, I just want him to win

  4. Congrats to me on calling the Sock loss. But he totally went away after the timeout for the guy who passed out in the stands. I wasn’t too many rows from that it was pretty scary I thought he was having a heart attack or something. But Edmund seemed to up his game after and Sock a little bit the opposite. Dang Edmund was on fire for the last set and a half though.

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