Published: Mon, April 02, 2018
Sport | By Fredrick Flores

Booming serve powers American John Isner to signature title at Miami Open

Booming serve powers American John Isner to signature title at Miami Open

But as shadows lengthened, Isner drilled three consecutive aces to finish off No. 4 Alexander Zverev 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-4. Notably, the 32-year-old, who will break into the top-10 of ATP rankings for the first time since 2014, came up with an attacking masterclass in the semi-final to end Juan Martin del Potro's unbeaten run this season. What's at stake in men's finale?

Isner, the big hitter, fittingly won on a pair of aces, one at 127 miles per hour, and the victor at 133. During the trophy presentation, he turned to Isner and said, "Thank you for teaching me the game and practicing with me so much". "I'll never win here", said Zverev after the match, with a smile. But the USA's Jack Sock broke the sequence past year, also in Paris, and thus set the stage for another Argentine - Juan Martin del Potro - to triumph in Indian Wells a fortnight ago.

"He came out a little bit slow, simply because he's played so many matches and he's understandably sort of running on fumes", said Isner.

Zverev, the fourth seed, advanced to the final on the strength of his 7-6 (4), 6-2 victory over Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain. Sloane Stephens won the women's title on Saturday, making it the first time since 2004 that Americans swept the men's and women's titles (Roddick and Serena Williams won in 2004). But the teams in the final were CoCo Vandeweghe, an American, and Ashleigh Barty, an Australian, going against the Czech Republic duo of Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova.

Isner found the path to this final through a dark wood, toting an anemic 2-6 record in 2018.

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In the second-set tiebreaker, Isner was again obliged to wait out the fans as he prepared to serve at 4-2. Since the first match he played in Key Biscayne, a tight 3-set victory over Jiri Vesely, Isner has won all 40 of his service games.

He smacked consecutive aces to reach 6-all, and made all four first serves in the tiebreaker, including aces of 138 and 139 miles per hour. In his first match in the desert, Isner reached match point against Gael Monfils but couldn't close it.

"I was practising with him when he was 14 and I knew he was going to be the next big thing in tennis".

Zverev leads 3-0 over Isner but both Masters meetings a year ago went the distance. "To win like that, with a crowd like that, you just can't replicate that".

"This is a big hurdle for me, mentally more than anything, to get over the hump in a tournament like this", he said. [ALSO LIKE] "Amazing' was Zverev's word of choice, which was completely fitting considering the unbelievable twists and turns of the final he just contested, saving 10 of 12 break points faced and battling it out against one of the ATP World Tour's biggest servers".

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