By Erwin Ong
CINCINNATI – Another day, another upset.
American John Isner has now logged three wins against Top 10 opponents at this year’s 2013 Western & Southern Open, counting his victory in Saturday’s semifinal over seventh seed Juan Martin Del Potro. With the partisan crowd behind him, Isner saved a match point in the second set and went on to win 6-7(5), 7-6(9), 6-3.
"I'm just very happy," shared Isner after the match. "Playing tournaments of this magnitude and being able to get wins like that on a packed [stadium] full of American fans cheering me on, it's an unbelievable feeling."
Del Potro had control of the match until he had an erratic service game while leading a set and 5-4. This was when he double-faulted twice, including on match point. Isner pounced on the next few exchanges and broke Del Potro. "[The break] gave me a lot of momentum," said Isner after the match.
Del Potro also noted this ninth game as the turning point: "I missed my chance in the second set," lamented Del Potro. "I'm very disappointed for that." But the Argentine, who will take the next week to prepare for the last major of the year at the U.S. Open, also gave much credit to his opponent.
"[Isner’s] game's on the rise. He's improving a lot, and he's moving fast," said Del Potro. He has experience, of course, and he's a really tough opponent for us."
The American, now 16-3 since July, is through to final, where he awaits the winner of the semi between Rafael Nadal and Tomas Berdych. His win-loss record is 2-2 against Berdych and 0-3 against Nadal, but comes in with the momentum of his three scalps at this tournament, along with a 16-3 win-loss record since after Wimbledon.
Isner’s only other appearance in the finals of a Masters 1000 event came at the 2012 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif. He will attempt to be the first American to win the Masters event in Cincinnati since Andy Roddick did so in 2006.
In doubles, the Spanish team of Granollers and Lopez, seeded No. 2, beat Rohan Bopanna and Edouard Roger-Vasselin to reach the finals. They will play the winner of the match between the World No. 1 Bryan Brothers and the team of Mexican Gonzalez and American Scott Lipsky.