Isner Beats Almagro for 1st Clay Title at Houston
John Isner has had a rough 2013 thus far, but that ended Sunday when the giant-serving American captured his first career claycourt title, defeating Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 7-5 in the final of the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship in Houston, Texas.
“I’ve always known I could play well on clay,” said the No. 5-seeded Isner after upending the top-seeded Almagro. “This week is a little surprising, as Monday was the first day I hit a ball on clay since September. I knew it was going to be a tough adjustment and that I had to find a way to get through my first match. My second match was really close. I felt I played better each and every round. I played well yesterday and even better today.”
Isner had a 7-8 win-loss record entering the event, and was coming off a loss to Serbia in Davis Cup. In the Houston semifinals he defeated Juan Monaco, who defeated him in last year’s final.
“I was able to go for my shots and be effective on the baseline, especially with my forehand,” said Isner, who recovered from an early break in the first set. “I was really proud with how I played after going down 1-3 [to win] five games in a row. I played exceptionally well those five games.”
Almagro dropped to 12-7 in career finals.
“He did a really good job today. He played aggressive,” Almagro said. “He served like normal, but today was tough for me. I want to congratulate him, because he’s a really good player and a good person and I think he did a good job this week.”
Robredo Ends 2+ Year Title Drought at Casablanca
Spaniard Tommy Robredo won his first title in more than two years Sunday, outlasting South African Kevin Anderson 7-6(6), 4-6, 6-3 in the final of the Grand Prix Hassan II in Casablanca.
“I have been practicing very well during a month in Barcelona before coming here,” said the 30-year-old Robredo. “I knew that I could play a good tournament here and you never know what can happen. I went match by match and kept winning. Today, I was pretty nervous since this is very important for me. I really wanted to win this.”
Robredo fell as far as No. 471 last season after being sidelined five months with a leg injury.
“I’m very happy to win a title again after my injury,” he said. “Those points will help me a lot in the ranking. The goal is to arrive in Roland Garros in the best form possible.After that I will sit down and have a look at my goals.”
Vinci Ousts Kvitova for WTA Katowice Title
No. 2 seed Roberta Vinci upset top-seeded Petra Kvitova 7-6(2), 6-1 to capture the title on the red clay at the BNP Paribas Katowice Open in Poland.
“I played a really good game today,” said Vinci, who traded breaks with Kvitova in the first set. “Petra was playing very well and very aggressively in the first set, getting a lot of first serves in, but I stayed with her and won the tiebreak, and things were better in the second set, probably because she was a little bit tired.”
Kvitova, who has come under fire for her fitness, did not lose a set leading to the final, but was frequently on a string against the Italian.
“She was dictating everything out there — she plays very well on the clay,” Kvitova said. “I also felt a little bit without energy. But she was the better player on the court for sure and she really deserved to win the title here in Katowice.”
Vinci improved to 8-1 in career finals, and next heads to Fed Cup versus Kvitova and the Czech Republic.
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