Isner defeats Hewitt in thriller, plays Anderson in Atlanta final

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Top seed John Isner saw off Lleyton Hewitt in three sets and entered his third Atlanta Open final – he ended as runner-up in 2010 and 2011, losing to Mardy Fish both times. The seventh-seeded Australian saved three break points in the sixth game of the opener, yet he was eventually broken when serving to stay in the set at 5-4. He came stronger into the set two where he broke the big-serving American in the third game, but Isner annulled the lead and made it 2-2. The former number one then consolidated his second break to move 5-3 ahead and served out the set to square things up. The players rescued all of the break balls they faced in the deciding set and they could only be told apart after a tie-break drama. Hewitt went two mini-breaks down in the beginning of the thirteenth game, yet he got back to level terms by 4-4. He was defending the first match ball on his serve at 6-5, but failed to do so and Isner moved into the final by completing a 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (5) victory after two hours and twenty-five minutes of tennis. The home hope hit 21 aces as opposed to Hewitt’s 12. He is now only one win away from capturing his second title in 2013 after taking the Houston crown in April.

“I thought I played very well,” Isner said to the press. “It’s a case where I’m getting more comfortable, now that it’s my third match out there. I was able to go for my shots more in this match than I was in my previous matches.”

Second seed Kevin Anderson will also play in BB&T Atlanta Open final as he overcame 132nd ranked domestic player Ryan Harrison in straight sets. The South African wrapped up the opener in half an hour by confirming his eighth game break. The young American nearly leveled the terms in the second set, but he wasted a double set ball at 6-5 before falling short in the tie-break. The match ball number one did the trick for the favorite and he obtained his Atlanta final ticket with a 6-3, 7-6 (3) victory. He hit 14 aces (Harrison 8) and rescued all of the five break points in one hour and a half of play. Isner leads their head-to-head series 5-3.

“We’ve been playing each other for many years now and each time it’s been a close match. I’ll have to go out there and take care of my service games and try to create chances,” Anderson commented on the upcoming final clash: “I’ll need to be patient and go into tie-breaks if necessary.”

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