John Isner ousted top-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7/3) on Friday to stay on track to retain his Winston-Salem ATP title.
Isner, seeded third in the US Open tune-up event, was to face second-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych in yesterday’s final.
Berdych defeated seventh-seeded American Sam Querrey 6-4, 6-3 in the semi-finals on Friday.
“I’m very, very happy to be back in the final,” said Isner, who prefers one more day of tournament action to an early arrival on the practice courts of Flushing Meadows, where the US Open begins tomorrow. “I don’t like getting to Grand Slams early. If I’m playing the week before, I want to do as well as I can. I’m playing the final match, so I’m very satisfied with that. I’m looking to defend my title. I did it this year in Newport, so maybe I can pull it off again.”
Isner broke Tsonga once to take the opening set and the Frenchman broke Isner once to win the second frame and level the match.
Serving at 5-6 in the deciding third set, Tsonga saved two match points — the first with an ace up the middle — but finally could not withstand the towering American, who belted 24 aces and wrapped up the victory in two hours and 13 minutes.
Berdych, who accepted a late wild card entry into the tournament, broke Querrey five times en route to victory in one hour and 39 minutes.
Querrey delivered 18 aces, but also had five double faults.
“I don’t think I necessarily needed to break him five times, but on the other hand, I lost my serve a couple of times. I was trying to get my chances,” said Berdych, who is seeking a second title this year after a victory in Montpellier.
In all, the match featured eight breaks of serve. Berdych, ranked seventh in the world, had 18 break point chances against the big-serving American.
“It is unusual,” Berdych said. “I can play with someone that is not serving as well as Sam and some of the other guys, and I’m struggling to break them for two, three sets, maybe he has service with more slice, spin, but somehow you play with a player and you have a feeling and you know a little bit how to read his serve and it just makes it all of a sudden much more easier.”
Querrey said his service mistakes were too costly.
“I played some decent return games,” Querrey said. “I broke him a few times, but on my service games, I was throwing in double faults, a couple of easy forehands and just giving him too many easy breaks on my game points. That makes it tough. I just kind of gave it to him.”
Berdych said said the outcome of the final would depend largely on how he handled Isner’s big serve.
“It’s definitely going to be the key to the match, the decider for sure,” Berdych said. “He’s playing at home, he wants to win as bad as me, so we’ll see. It should be a close match.”
WTA: TEXAS OPEN
Italy’s Roberta Vinci completed her warm-up for the US Open with a straight-sets victory over former world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic in the final of the WTA’s Texas Open on Friday.
Vinci, seeded third, won the last six games of the second set to complete a 7-5, 6-3 victory.
Vinci, making the most of second-seeded Jankovic’s five double faults, claimed her seventh career WTA title and her first of this year.
It was a morale-boosting victory with the US Open — the final Grand Slam of the season — due to start tomorrow at Flushing Meadows.
Serbia’s Jankovic, meanwhile, missed an opportunity to lift a trophy for the first time since 2010.
It was her second appearance in a final this season. She lost to American Melanie Oudin on the grass courts of Birmingham in June.
Vinci, who had booked her spot in the final with a dominant 6-0, 6-0 semi-final win over Serbia’s Bojana Jovanovski on Thursday, found the going tougher against Jankovic, needing just over two hours to triumph.
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