In-form Isner wins fifth title in Atlanta

Published by Reuters

John Isner celebrates his fifth ATP title in Atlanta, having previously lifted the trophy in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017; Getty Images
John Isner joins illustrious compatriots Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi as American win to win the same event at least five times.

John Isner joined elite company when he saved four of five break points en route to beating compatriot Ryan Harrison to win the Atlanta Open for the fifth time.

The top seed beat the eighth-seeded Harrison 5-7 6-3 6-4 at Atlantic Station – his second final win over his fellow American in as many year.

The 33-year-old became the fifth American man to win the same event at least five times after Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi.

“I’m very comfortable here,” Isner, the former University of Georgia star, said. “I make breakfast in my own room, I go to the Publix next door, it really feels like I’m at home, and that helps so much.”

> RELATED: Isner, Anderson call for fifth-set tiebreaks

But it was tough going at times with Harrison taking the first set and the better player early in the second.

Isner appeared to be wilting in the heat but Harrison could not take his chances and his opponent squirmed out of trouble before pouncing when presented with a break opportunity.

A revitalised Isner never looked back in the third set as Harrison’s frustration finally boiled over and he smashed his racket against the court.

“I realise I was fortunate today,” Isner said. “I’ve been on the other end where you have four or five chances to put your stamp on the match and you don’t get it.

“I just had one chance and played a good point and was able to win the second set, and had one chance in the third and got up early.

“That’s how our sport goes sometimes.”

Isner improved to 31-4 in the event – winning three straight titles in Atlanta from 2013-15 and losing the 2016 final to Australian Nick Kyrgios.

The 6-foot-10 former University of Georgia has 14 ATP Tour titles, breaking through for his first ATP Masters 1000 success at the Miami Open in April.

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