Losing the last six matches on the Tour before New York, the top seed John Isner is back on the winning way on the home soil, defeating the 7th seed Jordan Thompson 6-4, 6-1 in just 63 minutes for the first semi-final since Stockholm in October.
Serving at jaw-dropping 92% for the first time in his career, John blasted 16 aces and lost 11 points on serve, saving both break points he faced at 3-3 in the opening set to control the scoreboard and wait for a chance on the return patiently.
They had to come since Jordan struggled to keep the pace on the second serve, playing against ten break points and suffering three breaks to send the American into the last eight. The Aussie saved three break points already in game two and he earned those rare opportunities in Isner's games with a return winner in game seven that could have pushed him in front.
John delivered two great serves to erase the deficit, bringing the game home with back-to-back aces and breaking the rival in game ten after a weak backhand from Thompson for a 6-4. Carried by this momentum, John broke in the second game of the second set with a beautiful forehand down the line winner, moving 3-0 up with a service winner and cementing the triumph with the third straight break when Jordan missed an easy smash in game four.
Serving for the win at 5-1, Isner landed four winners to seal the deal and march into the last four where he will face another giant server Reilly Opelka. Reilly is through to his second last four appearance at ATP level after Atlanta 2016 following a 6-3, 6-4 win over Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in an hour and 13 minutes.
The American lost just 12 points on serve and he played against one break point, keeping the things under control and winning 34% of the return points for two breaks from six chances, enough for the straight sets victory.
Opelka lost just four points on serve in the first set and grabbed the desired break at 3-2 with a backhand down the line winner, blasting four good serves in game nine for a 6-3. The Spanish veteran created that break point at 2-1 in the second set but he failed to return a booming serve of his rival who closed the game with a forehand winner to level the score at 2-2 and keep the serve intact.
Finding the rhythm on the return in the seventh game, Reilly converted the fifth break chance with a volley winner, clinching the win with four winners in game ten to set Isner clash just like in Atlanta three years ago. The third American who will play in the semis is the last year's finalist Sam Querrey who took down Jason Jung 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in swift 88 minutes for the best result on the Tour since New York last year.
Sam fired 23 aces and besides that one loose service game in the second part of the match he controlled the course of the encounter with a single break in sets one and three. In by far the most extended clash of the day, the Canadian qualifier Brayden Schnur took down the Italian veteran Paolo Lorenzi 6-7, 7-6, 7-5 in two hours and 39 minutes for the maiden ATP semi-final, heading to New York with no ATP wins on his tally.
Schnur won just three points more overall, landing 24 aces and saving all three break points he faced to mount the pressure on the other side of the net. Lorenzi saved four set points in the first set tie break to win it 9-7 and he was two points away from the win in the second set tie break before Schnur stole it 7-5 to force a decider.
Nothing separated them in the first ten games of the final set and Brayden grabbed the only break in game 11 after a terrible volley from Paolo that cost him dearly. Brayden sealed the deal with a hold at 15 a few minutes later for by far the best result in a career.