Isner loses to Anderson in Delray Beach semifinals

March 4, 2012 12:41 AM
The Florida heat and the play of South Africa's Kevin Anderson took its toll on American John Isner.

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Kevin Anderson took out Andy Roddick on Friday night, then bounced John Isner from the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships on Saturday night.

Talk about a nice couple of days for the 36th-ranked South African.

Anderson beat Isner 7-5, 7-6 (4) and will face qualifier Marinko Matosevic of Australia in the final on Sunday.

The 11th-ranked Isner lost his serve in the 11th game of the first set. He then double-faulted away the first point of the second set tiebreaker against the seventh-seeded Anderson.

Isner entered with a 9-1 record in tiebreakers this season.

"I'm really excited because I couldn't have played a better match today," said Anderson, who won his first career title at Johannesburg last year. "Fortunately for me John gave me a double in the tiebreak and I held onto my serve all night."

The 173rd-ranked Matosevic reached his first career final with a 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (7) victory over Dudi Sela of Israel

Matosevic needed five match points to close it out in 2 hours, 54 minutes on a day when a swirling wind didn't help either player.

"I'm very happy but I'm very tired," Matosevic said. "I was just fighting off cramps.

"In the humidity I just sweat a lot and cramp. I cramped after my match on Wednesday, too."

Matosevic finally eliminated Sela on his third match point in the tiebreaker. He held a 6-5 lead when he double faulted on his first match point of the tiebreaker. He netted a shot on his second opportunity, and won when Sela netted a backhand .

Matosevic dropped to the ground when it was over, then got up and was screaming and raising his arm in victory.

"Fighting," said Matosevic, when asked what won him the match. "Just fighting hard and never giving up out there.

"It was just such a roller-coaster out there."

Matosevic has now won 12 straight matches, which includes winning the Caloundra Challenger in Australia, three qualifying and four main draw matches here in Delray Beach.

Matosevic had two match points on his serve at 5-3 in the third set, but nerves got the better of him and he made four straight errors.

They had played three times in the past and Sela won all three of those meetings in three sets. Two of the matches were at Challenger level events and one was here in the first round last year.

"He was leading in the first, second and the third but I thought I played much better except for the important points," said Sela, who smashed a racket after the loss.

"It was a matter of who was more lucky in this kind of match and he was more lucky."

Matosevic said the two are good friends and he wasn't bothered that Sela left the court before they shook hands because he was sure the Israeli was upset by the loss.

In all, there were 26 break opportunities in the match: Sela converted four of 17 chances, and Matosevic broke on four of nine.

"I felt like I played much better than him and I'm losing and it's a bad feeling," Sela said. "I had 17 break points and always let him dictate the points and didn't play my tennis. He played solid."

Matosevic had difficulty dealing with his serve in the wind.

"I couldn't serve today because it was too ridiculously windy," Matosevic said. "I served 12 double faults so when going into the breaker (I knew) it couldn't get any worse.

"The only way was up."