Roddick Faces 6-foot-9 John Isner in Washington Final

Posted on August 5, 2007

Just two men remain standing in Washington on Sunday and both will fight for the Legg Mason Tennis Classic title, as the championship final of the $600,000 International Series event takes place in the American capital.

This is the first all-American ATP singles final since Indianapolis in July 2006 (with Blake beating Roddick).

Andy Roddick will be playing in his third ATP final of the season, having won on the grass courts of Queen’s club (beating Nicolas Mahut in the final) and finishing runner-up on clay at Houston (falling to Tommy Haas). This is his 10th time to reach the quarterfinals or better this season, having also been a semifinalist four times (including at the Australian Open) and a quarterfinalist three times (including at Wimbledon).

The American is 22-3 lifetime in Washington, capturing the title in 2001 (beating Sjeng Schalken in the final) and in 2005 (beating James Blake in the final) and reaching one semifinal and one quarterfinal. He missed last year’s event due to an abdominal strain. Seeded No. 1, he has won three of his four rounds this year in straight-sets, going to three just once in the third round, beating No. 15 seed Radek Stepanek, 6-3, 1-6, 7-5.

Roddick is playing his 36th career ATP singles final and is 22-13 in his previous 35. Thirteen of his 22 titles have been won on hardcourt, including his first Grand Slam at the 2003 US Open and ATP Masters Series titles at Canada and Cincinnati (both 2003), Miami (2004) and Cincinnati again (2006).

Roddick is attempting to win the US Open Lever 2000 Challenge for the third straight year, and with his win in the semifinals assured himself of assuming the lead after this week (he came into this event at No. 5). He has won at least one ATP title in five of the last six summers leading into the US Open (he won three in 2003).

Playing in only his second career ATP event (after falling in the first round of Newport in July to Dick Norman), John Isner has broken through to his first ATP final. A wild card into this event, he has upset three seeds in his five rounds to get here, namely No. 8 Benjamin Becker, No. 2 Tommy Haas and No. 9 Gael Monfils. He has also achieved this feat by winning every one of those matches in third set tie-breaks; it is believed to be the first time a player has won five matches in a row at the same tournament in third set tie-breaks.

Isner has only been broken four times in 86 service games this tournament (once by Tim Henman, twice by Becker and once by Monfils, who served for the match up 6-5 in the third set before being broken back).

The World No. 416 is the second-lowest-ranked player this year to reach an ATP final. Peter Wessels was ranked No. 488 going into ‘s-Hertogenbosch, where he eventually finished runner-up (falling to Ivan Ljubicic). He is bidding to become just the third player in ATP Rankings history to win an ATP title, after Lleyton Hewitt won 1998 Adelaide as the World No. 550 and Yahiya Doumbia won 1988 Lyon as the World No. 453. He should crack the Top 200 (at around No. 190) if he loses today and may go as high as No. 157 with a win.

Isner could be the sixth man in 2007 to win his first ATP title, after Gilles Simon (Marseille), Juan Monaco (Buenos Aires), Ivo Karlovic (Houston), Philipp Kohlschreiber (Munich) and Steve Darcis (Amersfoort).

The North Carolina native won the Lexington Challenger title last week and in June won the U.S. Futures #14 title in Chico, California. In May, he led the University of Georgia to the National Championship team title. (ATP Digital Services)