Croatian Marin Cilic continued his recent run of sizzling form by overpowering John Isner 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 in a late-night showdown to advance to the Delray Beach Open final against South Africa’s Kevin Anderson.
Seventh seed Cilic made it through to a third final in as many weeks when he emerged victorious in a battle of big servers against American Isner in a rain-delayed semi-final that did not start until close to midnight on Saturday.
Fourth seed Anderson had no such delays in the first semi-final and was on and off the court in a flash after easing past a nervous American qualifier Steve Johnson 6-2 6-4 in the afternoon in south Florida.
When the second semi-final finally got underway, Cilic’s first serve was almost unplayable, but he could not convert any of his four break points against Isner in the first set, which went to a tiebreak on the hardcourt surface.
Isner won the first three points, but Cilic stormed back to take the next five and ultimately the set.
Cilic quickly broke Isner in the second set and continued to serve strongly, closing out the contest just before 1am yesterday.
AP, MARSEILLE, France
Defending champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga came through a stern test against 117th-ranked Jan-Lennard Struff to win 7-6 (7/4), 7-5 on Saturday, setting up an Open 13 final against third-seeded Ernests Gulbis of Latvia after he upset top-seeded Richard Gasquet of France 6-3, 6-2.