No. 6 seed John Isner is hoping to deliver a big performance in the Atlanta Open final and capture a record sixth title at the tournament. Isner, a former world No. 8, edged out fellow American Taylor Fritz 7-6 (4) 5-7 6-3 in the Atlanta semifinal.
Isner, 36, has now been through to his ninth Atlanta final. Isner is a five-time Atlanta champion and no one knows better the hard courts of Atlanta than him. However, it won't be easy against rising American star Nakashima.
Last week, Nakashima handed a 7-5 6-4 loss to Isner in the Los Cabos quarterfinal. “I didn’t know much about [Nakashima] prior to last week. But he kicked my ass last week, so we’ll see what I can do tomorrow,” Isner said, per the ATP website.
“He’s 19 years old, that’s crazy. I was fishing on a boat when I was 19, here he is in the final of an ATP event”. Nakashima recovered from a set down to beat Emil Ruusuvuori 3-6 6-4 6-3 and make the Atlanta final.
“He came out playing really well, and I got off to a slow start,” Nakashima said. “But I just told myself to stick to my tactics out there, and I just served a lot better in the second and third sets. That really helped my ground game a lot.
I’m definitely happy to get through this”.
Isner managed to get past Fritz
Isner failed to convert any of his three consecutive break points in the fifth game but dominated the first-set tie-break to win a tight opener.
In the second set, Fritz failed to convert any of his two break points in the ninth game but he earned his first game of the match two games later to take a 6-5 lead. n the following game, Fritz routinely served out for a decider.
Isner responded extremely well to losing the second set as he broke Fritz in the second game and then held on to his serve the rest of the way to book a three-set win.