Fish Repeats As Atlanta Champion
by ATP Staff
In a rematch of the 2010 Atlanta Tennis Championships final, World No. 9 Mardy Fish saved two match points against John Isner, defeating his compatriot 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-2 to repeat as champion on Sunday.
Isner served for the second set up 6-4 in the tie-break, but Fish strung together four straight points to force a third set. “When you’re in that position, it’s almost over,” Fish said afterwards. “I was lucky to get out of it. I stuck some returns and put some balls in play. I played some good points from then
Added Isner, “In hindsight, I should have served and volleyed on the second serve. He got it in play and I went for too big of a backhand and missed it by a lot. He played the point well and the next two points, he served two really good serves.”
Fish quickly grabbed the momentum, breaking Isner’s serve and holding at love to move ahead 2-0. A double fault by Isner gave the top seed an insurance break in the seventh game and he finished off the 26 year old Greensboro native to win his first crown of the year. “It feels great to win here again and start off the summer like I did last year,” said a pleased Fish. “This year, it was a bit different coming in as the top seeded guy. You’re sort of in the position where everyone is looking for you, knows where you are, so it feels great to come through today and all week.”
The title is Fish’s sixth overall in 18 final appearances, and it’s the first time he’s successfully defended a championship. He improves to a 3-1 record against Isner, winning all three of their meetings on hard courts. Each of their four encounters has gone three sets. “The goal is to do better
than last summer, and last summer was better than I had ever done before,” stated Fish.
“I want to stay in the Top 10 for as long as I can and keep bettering my career high ranking and do things I’ve never done before. Today is one of them as I had never defended a title before, so it’s another milestone for me.”
Isner’s loss snaps his eight match winning streak – he won his second career title two weeks ago at the Campbell’s Hall Of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport. The 6’ 9’’ American drops to 2-5 in ATP World Tour finals; all of his losses have come to his American peers. “The match was in my hands. I was up a set and a break… it’s as simple as that,” said a disappointed Isner.
“I’ve lost five finals in my career – two to Mardy, two to Sam [Querrey] and one to Andy [Roddick], and arguably could have won every single match. This is the second where I’ve had match points and the other ones I’ve been one or two points away. I don’t know what it is… I keep coming up a little short when I play a friend.”