As predicted by Kevin Anderson at the yesterday’s press conference, the Atlanta 2013 final clash would be marked by good serving and decided in tie-breaks. In the end, it was top seed John Isner who was crowned the new BB&T Atlanta Open king – he conquered the ATP World Tour 250 hard court tournament for the first time after losing two finals in 2010 and 2011.
The second seed South African player earned a couple of set balls in the tenth game of the opener, yet his first set victory was postponed as Isner ultimately squeezed into the tie-break – Anderson kept serving flawlessly and went one nil up two mini-breaks later. He then extinguished the only break point danger he faced during the match early in the second set and missed two more opportunities to seize the domestic player’s serve in the following game. There were no more upsets later in the set and another tie-break followed – this time Isner held his nerves and squared things up by putting away the first out of four set balls he had prepared.
The decider followed the established pattern with the home hope saving six break points, including two championship balls at 6-5. This gave the US player a psychological advantage as Anderson could not find a foothold in crucial moments of the clash – Isner thus raced through the all-deciding third set tie-break and tucked away the second match ball to the joy of the home crowd, whilst his opponent will surely be ruing his missed chances as he failed to convert any of the eleven break points. The American also won the battle of aces, hitting 24 of them as opposed to Anderson’s 21. He captured his seventh career title with a 6-7 (3), 7-6 (2), 7-6 (2) victory which will see him return to the Top 20 of the ATP Rankings.
“There’s no question I play my best in the U.S. This is where I’m very comfortable. I compete extra hard and things seems to work out for me when I’m playing in the U.S,” Isner said after claiming the title.
“I was holding easily and trying to give myself chances, which I did. Just wasn’t able to capitalise on them. That was the difference today,” Anderson commented on the outcome of the match. “He stays in there. He serves well, he plays well when it matters, and he definitely played two better tie-breaks than me.”