Playing some of his best tennis, John Isner put a halt to Juan Martin del Potro’s 15-match win streak, overpowering the Argentine 6-1, 7-6(2) to reach his first career Miami Masters final.
The American who ripped through Marin Cilic and Hyeon Chung, continued to pound forehand and pound serves, relegating del Potro to a virtual spectator watching winners fly by.
“Things are just clicking. Look, if I’m returning well and getting in return games, that should bode well for me, given how I serve. Very happy it’s all sort of coming together right now,” Isner said. “I just know with my game, if I’m doing the right things, it doesn’t really matter who I’m playing. I’m going to be very tough to beat.”
Isner raced out to a quick 3-0 lead in the match over a weary-looking del Potro, and cruised to an opening set route.
Del Potro got his serve in rhythm in the second but missed on several 0-15 chances on the Isner serve.
In the breaker, it was Isner blasting away with his forehand, winning the last four points of the match to advance to his fourth career Masters final.
“There was a game plan. I stuck to it pretty well. I think more importantly than that, it was just a case of me playing some good tennis out there and being relaxed, which was crucial,” said Isner who had just two wins entering the event.
Isner finished with 39 winners to Del Potro’s 10, and in forehands only that difference was an astonishing 19-2. And John never faced a break point.
“John deserved to win today. He served unbelievable. He played great tennis on the tie-break. He was too good for me,” Del Potro said.
“He has a better serve than me, and then when he plays as good as today, he’s one of the tougher guys on Tour,” he added. “Not many players can return his serves. He plays every time making winners. When he has a good day, he has everything to win a title like this. I think he was better for today.”
On Sunday, for the biggest title of his career, Isner will take on yet another 6-foot-6 foe in Alexander Zverev.
The German won a close first set overcoming a 3-0 deficit in the opening breaker to pull away from Pablo Carreno Busta 7-6(4), 6-2.
“I tried to be more aggressive. I made some winners; made some backhand winners finally in the match and found my rhythm,” said Zverev said of the breaker. “I think after that, I started to play really well, not only in the tie-break but also the second set.”
Zverev is into his third Masters final in the last year. And he’s never lost once he reaches the semifinals at this level, though the lose set he did lose was to Isner at Rome.
“I’m happy where I am right now, and hopefully it will be another great match here and then I can go to the clay court season,” he said.
Zverev leads 3-0 over Isner but both Masters meetings last year went the distance.
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