Isner One Win Away From Fourth Newport Title
Top seed John Isner struggled with stifling heat in Newport and the aggressive game of fourth-seeded Frenchman Ugo Humbert, but the American regrouped strongly to reach the Hall of Fame Open final with a 6-7(4), 7-6(5), 6-3 victory.
The hard-fought comeback win puts Isner into his second final of the season, having finished runner-up in April at the Miami Open presented by Itau (l. to Federer). He improved to 22-4 in Newport and moved closer to his fourth title at this event (2011-2012, 2017).
Most importantly, Isner is still at full strength in just his second tournament back from a broken left foot, which he sustained in his Miami final with Roger Federer. His foot has withstood three-set battles in all three of his matches so far this week, which has seen him spend six hours and 35 minutes on court.
There were no service breaks in the first two sets of Isner and Humbert's semi-final match. A missed backhand volley from Isner at 2/2 in the first-set tie-break was all the momentum that the #NextGenATP Frenchman needed to grab the early advantage. A double fault put Isner down an early mini-break in the second-set tie-break, but he charged back by winning five consecutive points and ripped a backhand winner on his second set point to level the match.
Isner found a new gear in the third set, earning the first break of the match for a 2-0 lead and winning 12 of the first 14 points. The American comfortably served out the match on his first attempt to advance in two hours and 45 minutes.
Next up for Isner will be seventh seed Alexander Bublik. The 22-year-old Kazakh is into his first ATP Tour final after his 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-4 victory over Spaniard Marcel Granollers.
“I’ve worked hard for this, so I’m very happy,” said Bublik. “I have to try and be the best version of myself for tomorrow, so we’ll see what happens.”
Like Isner, Bublik has needed three sets for all of his matches this week. He improved to 9-1 in deciding sets at tour-level with his win over Granollers, which took two hours and 10 minutes to complete.
Bublik has primarily competed on the ATP Challenger Tour and picked up four Challenger titles in the past year. He’s guaranteed to reach a career-high ATP Ranking when the newest standings are released on Monday and crack the Top 75 for the first time.
Granollers/Stakhovsky Save 3 M.P. For Doubles Final Berth
Granollers and Sergiy Stakhovsky survived a wild 3-6, 7-6(8), 10-8 semi-final over third seeds Marcus Daniell and Leander Paes. Granollers/Stakhovsky saved match points at 5/6 and 7/8 in the second-set tie-break and another at 8/9 in the Match Tie-break. Awaiting them in the final are Marcelo Arevalo and Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela, who defeated fourth seeds Ben McLachlan and John-Patrick Smith 7-5, 4-6, 10-4.