John Isner, the American tennis player, has climbed to the World No. 9 spot after a huge win at the Miami Open today. Isner now has a greater chance of appearing at the ATP Finals in November at the London O2 Arena, since he must finish in the world's top seven to guarantee a place.
Isner came into the Miami Open having only won one ATP tour match in 2018, and he was ranked No. 17 in the world.
However, despite his poor form leading into the tournament, Isner beat Juan Martin del Potro, Marin Cilic, and Chung Hyeong to set up an encounter in the final with world No. 4 Zverev. Prior to the final, Zverev had a 3-0 winning record against Isner, but the German was seen as a slight underdog by pundits such as Greg Rusedski thanks to the American's impressive, and unexpected, form in Miami.
After losing the first set in a tie-break, Isner bounced back to win the match 6-7, 6-4, and 6-4. Matches at the Miami Open are renowned for their length because of the slow clay court, and the final was no exception, as it lasted two hours and 28 minutes.
The towering American's main weapon is his serve and he used it to great effect against Zverev, losing none of the three break points that he faced throughout the match. In contrast, Zverev faced 12 break points on his own serve, and Isner was able to claim two of them. Isner won the match in fitting fashion with an ace.
After the match, Isner acknowledged that it was a special moment for him to win the last Miami Open to be held at Crandon Park in Key Biscayne, Florida. Next year, the tournament will move to the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.
"I couldn't have scripted this. I never thought I would be in this moment considering how I was playing coming into this event. For me to come out the winner in the last men's singles match ever here is pretty unique."The 32-year-old became the oldest player to win a maiden Masters 1000 title by beating Zverev, taking that honor from Ivan Ljubicic, who was 31-years-old when he won the title at Indian Wells in 2010. The American will want to use this tournament victory as a springboard for the rest of the year.
Isner had lost his previous three Masters 1000 finals. He became the first American male to win the Miami Open since Andy Roddick in 2004.