Top-seeded John Isner needed three sets but got past seventh-seeded Mischa Zverev of Germany 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 on Friday to advance to the semifinals of the BB&T Atlanta Open.
The American will next face fourth-seeded Matthew Ebden of Australia, who took down unseeded Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus 6-3, 6-2.
After going 0-3 against Zverev in 2017, Isner won their first matchup of 2018 to even their career head-to-head series at three matches apiece.
“He is a tough player and I played well today. I needed to,” Isner told the media after the match. “It was a weird match. The balls were bouncing everywhere, it was tough to control. I was happy to get through in three sets.”
The match, lasting 1 hour, 37 minutes on the hardcourts at Atlantic Station, was all about serves. After each player broke the other once in the first two sets, Isner dominated with his serve in the deciding set. The 33-year-old, ranked ninth in the world, lost only three points on serve in the set while breaking Zverev twice.
After reaching the Wimbledon semis earlier this month, Isner is looking for his fifth title at Atlanta.
Ebden, who has never won on the ATP Tour, is 1-3 in his career against Isner, but that lone win came earlier this year at the Australian Open.
“I am definitely playing better than I was in the beginning of the year. I was struggling a little bit,” Isner said of his previous match against Ebden. “To his credit, he played much better than me that day in Australia. He had the home crowd on his side. It helps a lot. Now, I’m playing in my backyard and he beat me in his backyard. [We’ll] see if I can turn the tide.”
In the other half of the draw, eighth-seeded American Ryan Harrison took care of third-seeded Hyeon Chung of South Korea 6-7 (3), 6-2, 7-6 (5). He will face the winner of Friday night’s match between Brit Cameron Norrie and second-seeded Australian Nick Kyrgios in the other semifinal.
German Tennis Championships 2018
It was a rough day on the clay in Hamburg as the top three seeds all lost in the quarterfinals.
Nicolas Jarry of Chile beat top-seeded Dominic Thiem of Austria 7-6 (5), 7-6 (7); Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer topped second-seeded countryman Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 4-6, 6-3; and Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili took down third-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain 7-6 (3), 6-4.
Slovakia’s Jozef Kovalik beat Brazilian Thiago Monteiro 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the final quarterfinal.
Of the four winners, Mayer is the highest ranked at No. 36. He is also the only one in the group to ever win a tournament on the Tour — a pair of titles at Hamburg, including last year.
J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open Gstaad
Second-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain made quick work of Japan’s Taro Daniel, winning 7-5, 6-1 on the clay to advance to the semifinals. It will be Agut’s fourth semifinal of 2018 and leaves him as the only player remaining in the field to have won a tournament on the Tour.
He will next face the 101st-ranked player in the world, Laslo Djere of Serbia. Djere barely got by Croatian Viktor Galovic 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-6 (5).
Italy’s Matteo Berrettini beat eighth-seeded Spaniard Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 6-3 and will face Estonian Jurgen Zopp in the other semi. Zopp topped Argentina’s Facundo Bagnis 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in a battle of qualifiers.
—Field Level Media