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Isner rolling again at BB&T Atlanta Open & Tommy Paul advances to first ATP quarterfinal


John Isner improved to 24-4 lifetime at the BB&T Atlanta Open with a clinical 6-3, 6-4 win over Vasek Pospisil during second-round action on Wednesday. Isner, a three-time champion of the event and three-time runner-up, cracked 10 aces and did not face a single break point while getting the job done in one hour and seven minutes.


Fresh off a title on the grass of Newport, Isner took control of yet another match right away by breaking Pospisil for a 2-0 lead in the opening set. It was all but over when the second seed broke again at 2-2 in the second.


In a stretch that spanned from early in the first set to midway through the second, Isner won an amazing 26 straight service points. He lost just points total on serve in 10 games.


“I love coming back here,” Isner assured. “I’ve said it a million times. I don’t think I need to give the reasons again, but I’m very comfortable here; enjoy playing. So I’m very fortunate that this tournament is here.”


Compatriot Tommy Paul joined Isner in the quarters, as did Lukas Lacko and Wimbledon quarterfinalist Gilles Muller.


In this event alone, Paul has already doubled his entire previous ATP-level win total. With only one coming in, the world No. 291 picked up his second of the week by knocking off Malek Jaziri 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-3 in two hours and 18 minutes.


In a back-and-forth affair, Paul promptly fell behind 3-1 in the third after taking the second set. But the 20-year-old broke twice in a row to pull ahead 4-3 before another momentum swing seemed to be in the cards. In a 0-15 hole, Paul came up with a diving backhand volley winner and eventually held to 30 thanks to flurry of well-constructed points.


“That was a good game,” the American reflected. “It was big. I think I had a sloppy point on the first point and I was like, ‘Come on, man. You can’t give away free points in this game.’ Then I really feel like I zoned in and played a couple of really good points.”


Jaziri, who had played a three-setter against Reilly Opelka 24 hours earlier in which he fought off an incredible eight match points, wilted thereafter. Paul earned a third break in succession to close out the proceedings in style.


“It’s definitely a good feeling,” Paul commented. “When I won the match I was pretty excited. It’s kind of crazy. At the beginning of the year I was playing Futures–I was playing Futures a month ago. Maybe I might end up playing Futures in a couple months, but right now I’m playing well. Hopefully I can keep it going and ride on this confidence.”


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.