John Isner has produced a masterclass in Miami to end Juan Martin del Potro’s 15-match winning streak with a 6-1 7-6(2) victory that sees the American into the fourth ATP Masters 1000 final of his career.
Helped by 13 aces and 39 winners overall, an aggressive Isner successfully targeted the del Potro backhand to win in one hour and 25 minutes, finishing with a stunning backhand volley at the net.
“I’m playing the best tennis I’ve played in a very, very long time and I’m so happy to be doing it here,” said the American, who set the tone early when he broke his opponent’s serve in the opening game.
Del Potro, appearing more physically challenged after a three-week period that took in titles at Acapulco and Indian Wells – where he saved three match points in the final against Roger Federer – was unable to gain a single break point on the Isner serve.
15 consecutive wins ?
Acapulco title ?
Indian Wells title ?
Miami semi-final ?
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) March 30, 2018
A 24th career final in Miami marks an impressive turnaround for Isner, after a season that began with an opening-round loss to Hyeon Chung at Auckland and to Matthew Ebden at the Australian Open.
He also contested the New York Open and Acapulco without winning a singles match, his form at last returning with victory over Dominic Thiem at Delray Beach.
In Miami, Isner has registered wins over Jiri Vesely, Mikhail Youzhny, Marin Cilic and Hyeon Chung, dropping only one set in the opening round against the Czech.
“I’ve just continued to keep playing better. I think today was even my best match,” he said.
“Very, very encouraging. Physically, I’m super-fresh and I’m ready to go for the finals.”
Isner, also a finalist at 2016 Paris, 2013 Cincinnati and 2012 Indian Wells (losing to Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray respectively) is chasing his first title at Masters level.
He faces the winner of the Alexander Zverev and Pablo-Carreno Busta semifinal for the chance to add to his 12 titles at ATP level.
15 September 2016
The greatest champions, goes the old adage, are those who leave their sport better than th... More
27 August 2018
After Stefanos Tsitsipas became the youngest player to beat four top-10 players in a singl... More
7 November 2016
Double Wimbledon champion, double Olympic champion and now world No.1. But what doesn't An... More