John Isner of the USA in action against Spain's Feliciano Lopez during their third round match at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, 20 January 2012. EPA/MARTIN PHILBEY AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT |
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).
Russell was appearing in his first tour-level semi-final, having knocked out ninth-ranked Mardy Fish in the second round and 19-year-old Ryan Harrisonin the quarter-finals.
“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.”
Maria Sharapova is set to become a stable mate of Oprah Winfrey, Denzel Washington and Martin Scorsese as the sale of IMG to William Morris Endeavor Entertainment LLC, one of the oldest names in the Hollywood talent business, is expected to be announced later today.
World no.2 Novak Djokovic, determined to once again unseat Rafael Nadal from the top spot in world tennis, issued unexpected news this morning by declaring Boris Becker would become his head coach in the build up to the Serb’s Australian Open title defence next month.
Maria Sharapova has revealed she has been undergoing a course of platelet-rich plasma injections and shock-wave therapy to overcome the right shoulder issues that kept her off court for the entire late summer and fall season including the US Open.
Amidst collecting just about every award has to offer, albeit from a considerable distance while still ensconced in his Miami training base, Andy Murray has finally given the thumbs up to his return to action after back surgery and officially announced he will be playing next week’s Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi.