Monday, 2 April 2018

Isner lifts Miami Open Trophy

The final day of the 2018 Miami Open was celebrated by a great Men’s Singles Final between Sascha Zverev (4) and John Isner (14).

This was the last time the Crandon Park venue on Key Biscayne would host the tournament, a long time partnership ending on a high note.

Isner threatened Zverev in the early stages of the opening set, and had five break chances in the first three German service games.  Zverev would save all of those and the pair easily held for the remainder of the set, and a tie break decided the result.

Isner had entered the match on the back of 37 consecutive holds of serve, and led the tie break 4-3.

However, Zverev upped the ante, taking the final four points and winning the set 7-6(4).

Isner kept powering his serve in set two, but Zverev continued to return with conviction, the timing and placement top shelf.  Isner was patient, and although he couldn’t find a path through the Zverev defence (only two aces for the set) he levelled at 4-4 with relative ease.

Then the turning point arrived - a series of errors off the German racquet, mostly due to Isner’s deep probing forehand, contributed to the first service break of the match.

Isner then ran into a truck laden with nervous tension as he attempted to serve out the set at 5-4.  He faced and saved his only two break points for the set before capturing it 6-4 and forcing a decider.

In set three, although again serving second, Isner placed Zverev under pressure from the outset.  He had three break points at 2-2 and another chance to crack the fourth seed, all of which evaporated.

Still, it appeared only a matter of time, and that came in game nine where Zverev finally wilted.  The point giving Isner a 5-4 lead exasperated Sascha to the point of destroying his racquet.  He was resigned to his fate.

Isner served a love game, finishing appropriately with an ace, to win the Miami Open final 6-7(4) 6-4 6-4.

18 aces among 44 winners underscores a great days work.

At 32 years, 11 months, John Isner now is the oldest male player to win a first Masters 1000 title, and reclaims the mantle of number one American ranked player (at #9 his equal career high).

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