Isner Makes History With Fourth Newport Title
John Isner lived up to his top seed status on Sunday at the Hall of Fame Open, becoming the first player to win four titles in Newport with a 7-6(2), 6-3 win over seventh-seeded Kazakh Alexander Bublik.
“My very first ATP Tour event was here in 2007 and I didn’t enjoy the courts that much back then because I didn’t know how to play on them,” said Isner. “To say that I’ve won this event four times isn’t something I thought would be possible.”
The American won his first ATP Tour title of the year on the back of landing 79 per cent of his first serves. He converted all three of his break points en route to the 76-minute victory. The match also marks Isner's first ATP Tour title since becoming a father. He and his wife, Madison, welcomed their first child last September, a baby girl named Hunter Grace.
Isner will also be encouraged by remaining at full strength after this week. Newport is his second tournament back from a broken left foot, which he sustained in April during his Miami Open presented by Itau final against Roger Federer. Isner's foot withstood three-set battles in three of his four matches this week, which saw him spend nearly eight hours on court.
“I’ve definitely lacked court time in the last three months. The best way to get back in shape is by spending time on the court and playing matches, which is the most important thing,” said Isner. “I haven’t played many tournaments this year, but I still feel like I’ve had a pretty good year.”
Despite the loss, Bublik can be pleased at reaching his first ATP Tour final. He has primarily competed on the ATP Challenger Tour and picked up four Challenger titles in the past year. Bublik is guaranteed to reach a career-high ATP Ranking when the newest standings are released on Monday and will crack the Top 75 for the first time.
“It’s my first final and I’m going to remember this day forever,” said Bublik. “John’s a great player and he showed me how to play in the important tournaments.”
Bublik earned the first break of the match at 5-5 in the opening set after Isner pushed a backhand long, but the Kazakh promptly double faulted in the next game to send the set to a tie-break. Isner fired a forehand passing shot for a 2/0 mini-break lead and raced through the tie-break to clinch the early advantage.
The 22-year-old Bublik dropped serve at 2-2 after gambling on a 124 mph second serve that landed well long. With the seventh seed serving at 3-5, Isner ended the match emphatically by ripping a forehand passing shot winner for his 15th ATP Tour singles title.
Isner picked up 250 ATP Rankings points and $100,600, while Bublik earned 150 ATP Rankings points and $54,395.
Both men will compete next week at the BB&T Atlanta Open and could meet in the second round. Isner, a five-time champion in Atlanta, has a first-round bye as the top seed. Bublik will start his week against American Reilly Opelka.