MIAMI, April 1, 2018
At 32 years and 11 months, US-American John Isner has become the oldest ATP Masters 1000 champion, winning the final edition of the Miami Open presented by Itaú held at Crandon Park Tennis Center. The World No. 17 rallied past Alexander Zverev in Sunday’s singles final 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4.
The first German to reach the Key Biscayne final in the 34-year tournament history, however, had the better start. After five consecutive mini-breaks, Zverev won two points on his serve to clinch the opening set tie-break 7-4 after 58 minutes.
At this stage Isner looked like a totally different player to the one we saw against Juan Martin del Potro in Friday’s semi-final. He looked jaded and his body language wasn’t portraying someone who believed in a comeback victory. Yet, the local favourite wasn’t about to make it easy for Zverev and one scrappy game from the World No. 5 led to the first break of the encounter in the ninth game of the second set. Isner served out in the following to push the match the distance.
It all came down to the ninth game of the final set, when Zverev had opened up his service game with a double fault before Isner hit an exquisite forehand winner down the line. Then a backhand sailed long from the 20-year-old German and Isner had two break points. He only needed the one, as Zverev hit the net and lost control of his emotions, smashing his racket in fury.
After that, Isner found the perfect service game when he desired it the most. His 18th ace of the match sealed the victory in two hours and 29 minutes.
What a week for @JohnIsner!
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) 1. April 2018
20-year-old Zverev was aiming to become the youngest Miami champion since 19-year-old Djokovic claimed the title in 2007.
“You deserve to be a Masters 1000 champion,” Zverev told Isner during his on-court speech. “Doing this here is very special for you. We both grew up in Saddlebrook, practising together since I was 14 so I want to thank you for teaching me how to play the game and practising with me from such a young age.
“You are a big part of what I do on the court so thank you.”
Isner lifted his 13th ATP World Tour trophy, earning $1,340,860 in prize money as well as 1,000 ATP ranking points.
“I couldn’t have scripted this. I came into this tournament, I won one ATP World Tour match all year and was playing very poorly. I won my first match in three sets and that’s how tennis goes — you start to gain a little confidence and next thing you know things start to roll your way,” Isner was happy afterwards. The Tampa resident will now return to his career-high singles ranking of World No. 9.