Isner Powers Through Zverev To Win Miami Title And First Masters
by Staff | April 1st, 2018, 10:15 pm

John Isner had just two wins on the season entering Miami. He leaves as the latest Masters champion, the third first-time winner in the last three after stunning favorite and world No. 5 Alexander Zverev 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4 in the final match on Key Biscayne.

After 12 ATP 250 titles after three Masters runner-ups, this was Isner’s biggest career title.

“To win like that in front of a crowd like that, with that atmosphere, you can’t replicate moments like that,” said Isner. “It was absolutely amazing.

“This tournament has so much history. All the best players have played here thought the years. For Sascha and I to share the court in the last men’s singles match ever here at this tournament is amazing. I never thought I would be in this moment considering how I was playing coming into this event.”

It was advertised as a match dominated by the serves, but early on that wasn’t the case. With nerves playing role as both were in their first Miami final, break point were there for the taking. It was the American who held the chances as Zverev saved three break points in his first service game.

After the two exchanged more break chances in the fifth and sixth games, they began to settle into a serving rhythm.

In the ensuing tiebreak, that fell apart. Zverev got an early mini-break for 3-2 but then lost both his serves. Isner did worse, losing his two, the second via a double fault.

Zverev finally capitalized taking the first set.

With Isner wary and not hitting through the court as he had against Juan Martin del Potro, the second began with both guys still in a serving groove. But almost out of nowhere at 4-all, Zverev came unglued giving Isner the break.

The 32-year-old saved two break points – the second with an incredible rally – to force the decider.

In the third, with Isner gaining his second wind, a nervy Zverev saved another break chance at 1-all and four more at 2-all, but at 4-all he finally surrendered under the pressure and Isner broke then went ace-ace-ace to win it.

“It’s incredible,” said Isner who finished the tournament with 53 straight holds of serve. “I mean, to come back after a pretty disappointing first set, a first set I had certainly some chances in and some break points. I was serving at 403 in the tie-break and lost four straight points. At that point I was actually exhausted. Somewhere along in the second set I found a second wind and I felt so much better in the second set and the third set than I did in the first.”

And that’s how the last singles match on Key Biscayne played out. After 32 years, the tournament moves about 20 minutes north to Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins.

Isner collected his 13th title while Zverev drops his first Masters final. And John returns to his previous career-high ranking of No. 9.

Zverev, who turns 21 later this month, suffered his first loss to Isner in four meetings and didn’t bring his best stuff for the final. His last title came in August in Canada.

“I think I missed more shots today than I did the whole tournament,” said Zverev. “I played bad from the baseline. But, it’s not easy against John, because you always feel the pressure that if you get broken you’re not going to win the set. That’s maybe a factor, but I had a lot of mistakes today that I didn’t do the whole week.

“But he played great. He played very well from the baseline and he returned very well. Obviously there’s his serve, but we don’t need to talk about the serve. I had a pretty good tactic and a gameplan, which, if you just miss, it doesn’t matter. It was not about that. It was more about me not finding a rhythm.”

Isner also becomes the first American man to win Miami since Andy Roddick in 2010. And extra $1.34 million isn’t bad either.

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39 Comments for Isner Powers Through Zverev To Win Miami Title And First Masters

rognadfan Says:

Man oh man! Big John is a master 1000 title holder now.
Hell of a job that he did today. I really don’t like watching more than a few points when these servebots play but today John was much more than just serve bot.
That’s just great to see.


AndyMira Says:

Heh heh!….Finally!..It’s about time Big John win something as BIG as HIM!…Why in the world he didn’t play as aggressive as last week, i have no idea!!…If only he combined those huge serve of his & other factors as well before..he’s already got 5 masters[at least] in his cabinet…

the_mind_reels Says:

A great win for Isner! I think the most impressive thing for me all week, aside from his aggressive baseline play, was how that translated into a very high percentage of sets won that didn’t require a tiebreak: he won 9 of his 12 sets without needing to go the distance. Gotta be some kind of record for Isner, who generally (like Karlovic) finds himself in a hell of a lot of tiebreaks…

Daniel Says:

Forgot that Sock won Paris, so this makes 3 straight Masters that we have a first time winner:

– Paris: Sock
– IW: DelPo
– Miami: Isner
– MC: ????

This shows the void at the top with the Big 4 + Wawa having issues. Yes, Fedeerer still won the main prize in this period. But 3 straight Masters is telling.

If Nadal doesn’t come back 100% fit and with his confidence somewhat shaken not trustuing his body in the last 6 months, MC can have a new winner as welkl.
Several top 20-30 players won’t play there: Fed, DelPo, Wawa, Thiem, Murray, Anderson, Isner, Kyrgios, Sock.

Oh, Nadal is guarantee 3 more weeks as #1, which will tie him with McEnroe for 170 total weeks at joint #6 all time, at least till after MC April 23rd. If he defends his MC title he will go for 171 weeks, sole #6 all time; if he doesn’t defend MC, Fed back at #1 and Nadal joint #6 all time with 170 weeks in his 5th run at #1.

Margot Says:

Daniel: Dimi won WTF. Another first time winner.

Daniel Says:


I think Isner didn’t play that agressive against others due to who was on the other side of the net. In his previous 3 Masters final he got Fed, Nadal and Murray.

One thing is having to go through 2 or 1 of the Big 4, another is the current scenario where several players know there is a shift.

2 of the Big 4 + Wawa were not even in the draw and the other 2: Fed and Djoko lost R64. This is an oportunity that did not present many time, but maybe will be the status quo going forward.

Enterign clay we already know Fed and Murray are out; Nadal returning from injury, but his clay aura still is intact; Wawa seems on his way down and Djoko (sorry to say), is no longer a threat to any player anymore, actually all of them want a piece of him right now. It’s like tennis cirucit is a jungle and once one is sick, injured or old, the predators come right after those ones.

This shift as none is consistantly dominant at the top is affecting everybody. I believe we’ll be wathicn many more ISner like in the zone players going all out for 1 tourney zooming in confidence form now on. They have more believe now and things will get even harder for former dominatn players to keep winning and in their comebacks as well.

The way Coric challenged Federer in IW, Goffin last WTF, Kokkinakis in Miami. Tennis is more unpredictable by the day, for the benefit of ocasional great runs.

Daniel Says:

Yeah Margot,

So, 4 of the last 5 big tourneys have new winners. Slams are a different animal and its gonna be a step harder for these players as big 4 have the experience and dominance on their side, to reaitn those at leats for another year.

But the way things are gojg I wouldn’t be surpised at all if in the next 3 Slams we have all new winners. I mean, I can easily see Thiem holding RG, Raonic / Dimitro / Kyrgios holding Wimbledon and any of those plus Zverev and a few other at USO.

If Nadal is not fully recoevered, Andy has a slow return, Djoko doesn’t find his form and Fed feels the age, who is gonna win those tourneys?

AndyMira Says:

But Daniel…Honestly,watching Big John played last week..i think if he’s to faced Fed,Rafa or Andy…his chance of winning also very high…He’s really a different player last week!..We can see his determination & desire to win even from the distance..yeah?

I think what’s difference is his mentality & self belief…now & then..I don’t know what brought that’s on…But,he certainly can challenge Rafa or other clay courts specialists come CC swing…Oh!..bad for everybody! face him with his 60% or 70% confidence is bad enough..let alone the new found confidence Big John!…Ohohohoho!…it’s going to be interesting CC this year!

skeezer Says:

Isner was for sure on a hot streak, he even said so. Don’t believe it is going to last and he wins a bunch more tourneys this year however. John will return to…..John. He’s 32, why would he all of the sudden be so consistently this good? Not gonna happen……but for now he is King of Miami, kudos to him and a great run.

Debbie Downer

j-kath Says:

We were told that Fed and Rafa planned to play doubles at Wimbledon and Okie and I wondered if it was an April Fool’s comment…….attaching this article where it is mentioned….and I think they are saying it was an April Fool…
here it is, if you can bear reading thru the nonsense…..

Daniel Says:

Indeed AM, I saw some highlights later and he was making winners from the back of the court from every corner, Amazing!

My overall point is that his determination and shift of level last week may have been trigged by the total absence of Big 4 from the get go. Kind of it literaly ignite him. These guys kind used to “respect” too much the big 4 (not their fault really, their results are / were intimidating, they had this aura before each matc, each truney. In the past they enter these Slams and Masters knowing deep down they would not win it, semis would be a huge achievement itself.
Now, they are hungry and when confident can produce stellar tennis.

I loved Big 4 dominance, but i like these unpredictability also. We may take a few months to adjust.

Margot Says:

AM: Dunno about that. As Daniel implied any one of the “Big Four” might be in Isner’s head. I also feel that if Sacha had kept his own head he could’ve won. Isner looked beaten at the beginning of the 2nd, but Sascha didn’t push home his advantage. Inexperience perhaps?

j-kath Says:

Isner is Isner and I’m delighted he won his first Masters. But any of the “Big Four” on what should be a normal day for them (i.e. no major injuries) can respond successfully to his big serve etc. etc. I guess it’s called experience.

Humble Rafa Says:

In America, this achievement is good for “Hall of Fame” status.

Humble Rafa Says:

In Spain and Switzerland, you will get a 4″ x 4″ tile on walk.

Chris Ford Says:

Djokovic spent 5 years assembling the team he needed prior to his monster 2011 season and let them all go at the peak of his success. I think that, his moody wife, all kinds of distractions and burnout thoughts in his head have as much to do with the mess he is in as age and injury do. Two years ago, I thought he was going to be the last of the Big 4 to retire. Now I worry he will be the 1st.

skeezer Says:

How does anyone really know Djoker’s personal life besides hearing about it from 3rd parties. Results are what matters, blame goes around when your favorite is not winning. Gotta be someone else’s fault, no? LOL…
Fact is Nole has been a Champion. THAT is inside of him somewhere. It will come back out before he is done. ? Let him have his space, his life, and his decisions. As long as he claims he is happy, wtf?

AndyMira Says:

Daniel & M…I know,i know..the aura of the Big 4…but,the thing is…there is no Big 4 atm…Rafa still not 100% yet..and when he’s not 100%..his confidence also lacking…of coz,if Rafa is 100% healthy,it could be another story..only Fed still going strong,even tho,i think there’s already a crack in Fed’s armour after losing to Kokki & DelPo…

I’m not saying that John will win slam or many Masters atm…but,he’s certainly found a way to do it…maybe he’s a late bloomer like wawa?We still don’t know about that right?Just like we never thought that Roger capable of adding 3 slams at the age of 36..i really like what i saw from John last week…He’s awesome!..And oh yeah guys!…Check this out…Only time will tell…But i wish John would win more this year..

Okiegal Says:

Mira…..I’m liking your comment at 8:42…..

Markus Says:

It is not inconceivable that there will be a first time slam winner this year. I hope it is one of those guys who have been around but could not make it past the Big 4 + Wawrinka. The NextGen does not seem ready yet because those old guys (Isner age range) seem determined to block them to claim their late rewards. Why, even Verdasco has come to life. Who will it be?

AndyMira Says:

Miss Okie!…Oh!U do??Ohohoho!..Great!…Honestly,i can’t wait for John to keep on shining…He & other big hitter’s deserve to be appreciate too…Just because they have huge serve & their tennis is so called boring…but,they’re also a tennis player & deserve to be adore like other exciting tennis players on tour…I’m really happy finally Big John showed to the world that his tennis can be exciting too…

Daniel Says:

Agree Markus, if there is anybody to be a first time Slam winner, balancing the last 10 years it should be someone like Ferrer, Tsonga, Berdych, Isner and co. guys whose best time are behind them and who were blocked time and again by Big 4.

As AM correctly pointed out, they are not playing or not “well” at the moment, so if there is a time, is now. Any late bloomer win will be great.

Okiegal Says:

@Mira……..I also like your comment @ 9:25. You are so right….. big ace serving guys do need to be appreciated…..It can’t be held against them because they are tall and serving comes easy for them. I was so glad he won…… he played hard and was so happy he made his US fans happy….. plus he’s got the sweetest smile!!❤️❤️

Margot Says:

It’s not just the serve per se tho., is it? Plenty of players deliver lightening bolts. It’s the trajectory of the serve which, due to Isner’s height, means it can bounce way above the head of the receiver, meaning a return is impossible, especially if there’s limited space at the back of the court. This gives Isner an unfair advantage IMHO. Time for a “”League of Giants.”

Willow Says:

Andi Mira that final on Sunday was very good, Johns tennis was anything but boring ….

AndyMira Says:

Miss Okie…Yeah!…Big John’s smile is very sweet!…Big,gentle,boyish & one of the nicest players on Tour..What’s not to like aye?

Willow…Yeah Will!…was a very good final…He certainly upped his game tremendously last week…For me,what stand out more was not only his aggressiveness..but his mental strength too..To beat Sascha who’s in hot form & much younger & not afraid of anyone..was really amazing.Oh!…beat his own demon too considering he lost 4 finals before…

Humble Rafa Says:

Dear Staff,

Time to update the Funk/Trunk and put the Arrogant One in the trunk (and leave him for three months).

rognadfan Says:

^^Damn! Why such obsession with the trunk?
Where are you, between the trunk, in the bushes? ;)

SG1 Says:

Definitely a nice story. Hard not to be happy for Isner after many years of struggling at the bigger events. The better player didn’t win the match…but the more determined player certainly did.

You have to think that at some point in next year or two, Zverev is going to put it all together and dominate for a while. He has all the weapons and he puts himself in his opponents service games an awful lot. Kind of like a Djokovic but with a more explosive game.

SG1 Says:

Margot Says:

This gives Isner an unfair advantage IMHO. Time for a “”League of Giants.”


Zverev did a phenomenal job getting back a lot of Isner’s 1st serves which was quite impressive. If you’re Diego Schwartmann, a guy at 6′-4″ is a giant with crazy angles. There’s a relativity to it all. A 6′-10″ guy can’t move laterally as well as a 6′-3″ player of equal level.

This was Zverev’s match to win and if he had played to his capabilities, he would have won it going away. But, this is why the matches are played. Intangibles often play a role in how matches turn out. Isner stayed aggressive and held his nerve. Zverev didn’t.

SG1 Says:

Even if you go back to the 80’s and early 90’s where baseline tennis was less pervasive, big guys like Markus Zoecke, Milan Srejber, Slobodan Z and others didn’t pile up big wins even though they served huge. As with pretty much everything in life, there’s a sweet spot (no pun intended). Federer is at the perfect height to be coordinated, nimble and powerful. Same with Rafa, Novak, Andy and Stan.

Humble Rafa Says:

Where are you, between the trunk, in the bushes? ;)

I like bushes but Xisca doesn’t like when I talk about it.

Truth Says:

Who knew that Isner was the best and most versatile US star? Age 33.
Successful on clay against Fred. Certainly not Roddick the “Fed nemesis”.
All that John height and still nimble. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 Frederer fans talk about how great Fred is on clay, but he failed on hard court with no sane Djoker around. Old old Fred.

rognadfan Says:

‘I like bushes but Xisca doesn’t like when I talk about it.’

This sentence should’ve been like this
I like bushes but Xisca just shaves it off far too often. ;)

Oh well! who r you kidding with! you’re just living vicariously, daydreaming being the Bull.

Humble Rafa Says:

I like bushes but Xisca just shaves it off far too often. ;)

I am not good with technical details.

Okiegal Says:

@HR@2:13…..You should be good at it. It has to be done very
slowly…… like slow and one thing in your favor, no time violation warnings you have to be concerned with!! Lol

rognadfan Says:

Okiegal-Literally lol-ed after reading your comment.
But at some point we should stop treating the vicariously living HR as the real one; Before it is psychologically irreversible. ;)

Humble Rafa Says:

I meant describing the technical details. Execution is all based on mastery practiced over years and well ingrained. It’s all good on that end.

Okiegal Says:

@rognadrafa………LOL!!! We’ve created a monster!!!

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