John Isner goes full stretch to return a shot from Ryan Harrison during the final of the BB&T Atlanta Open. Picture: John Amis/AP
John Isner goes full stretch to return a shot from Ryan Harrison during the final of the BB&T Atlanta Open. Picture: John Amis/AP

Isner joins elite company with Atlanta Open win

JOHN Isner has joined elite company in accounting for compatriot Ryan Harrison to win the Atlanta Open for the fifth time in the past six years.

Top seed Isner beat the eighth-seeded Harrison 5-7 6-3 6-4 at Atlantic Station - his second successive final win over his fellow American.

Isner, 33, became the fifth American man to win the same tournament at least five times, after Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi.

"I'm very comfortable here," Isner, the 208cm-tall former University of Georgia star, said.

"I make breakfast in my own room, I go to the Publix next door, it really feels like I'm at home and that helps so much."

However, it was tough going at times for Isner with Harrison taking the first set and being the better player early in the second.

Isner appeared to be wilting in the heat but Harrison could not take his chances.

His opponent squirmed out of trouble before pouncing when presented with a break opportunity.

A revitalised Isner never looked back in the third set as Harrison's frustration finally boiled over and he smashed his racket against the court.

"I realise I was fortunate today," Isner said.

"I've been on the other end where you have four or five chances to put your stamp on the match and you don't get it.

"I just had one chance and played a good point and was able to win the second set, and had one chance in the third and got up early.

"That's how our sport goes sometimes."

Defending champion Isner improved to 31-4 in the event, having won three straight titles in Atlanta from 2013-15 and losing the 2016 final to Australian Nick Kyrgios.

He has 14 ATP Tour titles, breaking through for his first ATP Masters 1000 success at the Miami Open in April.

- Reuters



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