PARIS, November 5, 2016
John Isner advanced to the final of the BNP Parisbas Masters in Paris, notching his first win over Marin Cilic from Croatia in his seventh attempt.
31-year-old from the United States fired 18 aces, winning 86 per cent of his first service points and saved the only break point he faced to secure a 6-4, 6-3 victory in one hour and 11 minutes.
“I took the court today with a lot of confidence. It’s the first time all year coming into a match I’d won four matches in a row,” Isner was pleased with his performance, adding that it was his best match in 2016.
“So, I knew I was playing well. I knew I was playing the right way, and really, from the the get-go, I was serving extremeley well. That took a lot of pressure off me.”
Isner overtook Ivo Karlovic as the ace leader this year, currently hitting 1,141. The Croat has already finsished his season with 1,131 aces.
By reaching his third career ATP Masters 1000 final after Indian Wells in 2012 and Cincinnati in 2013, Isner will finish 2016 as the top US-American for the fifth straight year and in the Top 20 for a seventh consecutive season.
“I have always been known throughout my career to be a guy who plays very well in the United States, because I am extremeley comfortable there. It’s where I prefer playing as well but I also love playing in Paris. I have played well at the French Open. I have played well here a few times in my career. I do not know what it is but I am very comfortable here.”
In Sunday’s final, Isner will take on Andy Murray, trailing 0-7 in their head-to-head records. The Briton eased past the big-serving US-American in their last meeting at the Erste Bank Open 500 in Vienna last week, winning 6-1, 6-3.
“I only won four games, so I learnt nothing from that match,” Isner was laughing. “I have deleted that match from my memory. I played him some other times and it’s been much closer. I might look back on those matches. I will try to forget about that one last week.”