Isner Benefits from Choking Berdych, Clutch Serving for Winston-Salem Title
A little luck and some big serving left American John Isner raising the trophy for the second consecutive year at the Winston-Salem Open on Saturday.
The luck came when opponent Tomas Berdych choked an easy backhand volley into the open court that would have secured him the title in the third-set tiebreak. The big serve came into play as Isner repeatedly serve his way out of trouble in the tiebreak, saving three match points in the 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(9) win.
“It’s a great feeling,” Isner said. “Defending a title is not easy. There’s pressure on you coming into the tournament so I think for me to do that, at both Newport and here in Winston-Salem, it should help me a lot going forward in the coming years…At times probably wasn’t the prettiest of tennis, but I was able to gut it out and am very, very proud of that.”
Berdych took to his changeover chair after the handshake and smashed his racquet to bits.
“I hope it’s going to be enough time to put this match from my mind and keep all those matches before — and those before were pretty good,” the Czech said. “Even this one was not bad until the end. It just happens…it will take some time. Next week, already Monday or Tuesday, I’m starting in New York so it’s not much time to think on the past but to be ready for what’s happening there.”
The effort helped Isner finish at No. 2 behind Novak Djokovic on the 2012 US Open Series Bonus Challenge Standings.
Kvitova Wins New Haven and Continued Momentum into US Open
Former Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova completed her US Open preparation in sterling fashion on Saturday, beating Russian Maria Kirilenko 7-6(9), 7-5 for the New Haven at Yale title.
It ended a U.S. summer hardcourt run that included the Montreal title, a semifinal in Cincinnati and the New Haven crown.
Kvitova against Kirilenko fought off a set point in the first set and came back from 2-5 in the second.
“[In the second set] I was down physically, without energy,” Kvitova said. “It seemed like I was walking, not running. I made a lot of mistakes and went 5-2 down — but then I tried not to think about my shots or tactics and started putting the ball into the court more. Then it was 7-5. I was surprised.”
Kirilenko rued her chances in both sets.
“I was surprised I lost the tiebreak,” Kirilenko said. “The last five or six tiebreaks I’ve won — I haven’t lost one the last four or five months. But it was really close, and I already served for the set and just didn’t make the right decisions, and it’s okay. I was 5-2 up in the second set and again she came back…Even though I lost I still feel positive. I played really well this week. I played a good match today. Unfortunately, I was unlucky in the final today.”
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