by ATP Staff
Isner denied the Spaniard eight break point opportunities, and converted the lone break of serve in the sixth game of the third set to advance in two hours and 37 minutes, improving to 2-1 versus Lopez.
The World No. 10 is aiming to win his fourth title and first on clay. Isner is through to his second clay-court court final, having finished runner-up in Belgrade two years ago (l. to Querrey).
In the final, Isner will take on Argentine Juan Monaco. The 26-year-old American holds a 2-0 record against Monaco, winning their third-round encounter at the BNP Paribas Open en route to reaching his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final in Indian Wells (l. to Federer).
World No. 16 Juan Monaco advanced to his second title match of the season, overcoming American qualifier Michael Russell 5-7, 6-1, 6-4. The fourth-seeded Monaco capitalised on six of his 11 break point opportunities, including the final game of the match to secure the semi-final win in two hours and 25 minutes.
“It wasn’t easy to play. It was very windy and he played great tennis,” Monaco said. “It was difficult to get a rhythm. They were tough conditions, but I’m happy to win the match and be in the final.”
Monaco is looking to add to his triumph at the VTR Open in Vina Del Mar (d. Berlocq) and will contest his 13th final (4-8 record).
“I’m disappointed. I played a really good first set,” said Russell. “I was a little tired in the second set and he kind of upped his game. In the third set, I played good and bad. He came up with some good shots. Unfortunately the last game was tough.
“But I feel like I’m playing well again for the first time in a year and a half… I did my best two results in one tournament, [reaching] the semi-finals and beating a Top 10 guy, in Houston. It doesn’t get much better than that. Hopefully I’ll stay healthy and keep it rolling from here.”