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John Isner Takes Major Step in Race To London For The NITTO ATP Tennis Finals • Buy Tickets

John Isner of the USA in action against Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro during their quarter final match of the Rolex Paris Masters tennis tournament in Paris, France, 03 November 2017. EPA-EFE/IAN LANGSDON



While the trainer worked over his outstretched right knee rigorously, John Isner was busy gulping down a bottle of water with his right hand while vigorously pumping his clenched left fist toward his support box.


The 14th-ranked American gained the gift of second life yesterday.


An energized Isner was a multi-tasking master in Paris today.


Isner cranked 15 aces and did not face a break point decoding Juan Martin del Potro, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-4, advancing to Rolex Paris Masters semifinals for the third time while keeping his hopes for securing a spot in the World Tour Finals alive.


Del Potro stepped onto court facing a simple challenge: Win and he was in as the eighth qualifier for the season-ending finale in London.


Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro in action against John Isner of the USA during their quarter final match of the Rolex Paris Masters tennis tournament in Paris, France, 03 November 2017. EPA-EFE/IAN LANGSDON

Depleted from playing his fifth consecutive week, del Potro’s London dream was within reach, but his body—and a hard-charging Isner—denied him the destination.


It was the third consecutive three-set win for Isner, who has pumped 60 aces this week.


The former all American from Georgia was nearly on a plane back to the States yesterday staring down a 2-5 third-set deficit to Grigor Dimitrov. But the Bulgarian blinked on serve. Isner fended off a match point and rallied to win in a third-set tie break.


That near tournament death experience has sparked new life in Long John.


“I took court knowing I’ve been playing pretty well and also playing with house money because of yesterday being down 5-2 in last set,” said Isner. “I sort of escaped yesterday. I was given new life today and took advantage of it.”


Pablo Carreno Busta currently occupies the eighth and final spot for the World Tour Finals.


The Spaniard will advance to London if both Isner and Jack Sock fail to win Paris.


If either American takes the title on Sunday, he will join Roger Federer, Nadal, Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic, Dominic Thiem, David Goffin and Dimitrov in the London field.


The 32-year-old Isner, who was runner-up to Andy Murray in Paris last November, has a clear path to the Paris final. Isner will play 77th-ranked Filip Krajinovic for a spot in Sunday’s final.


The Serbian qualifier advanced to his first Masters semifinal when world No. 1 Rafael Nadal withdrew from today’s scheduled quarterfinal due to a knee injury.


The US Open champion’s quest for his first Paris Masters title—and a record 31st Masters 1000 title—was derailed by a cranky knee that pained him during his three-set triumph over Pablo Cuevas yesterday.


“I did all the things I had to do to try to play this event,” Nadal said. “I did one treatment last night to try to play today, but it’s impossible to go on court like yesterday.


“I have to pull out that’s it. Sorry for the tournament, sorry for the fans. This is a sad day for me and I understand for the tournament, too. But especially for me. I came her to try my best and go as far as I can.”


The 16-time Grand Slam champion hopes to be fit for the ATP World Tour Finals, set for November 12-19th at the O2 Arena.


“I am going to try my best to play in London, but I can’t talk about that now,” Nadal said.


Meanwhile, Isner, who signed the Tennis TV camera lens with a motivational message, “Keep Pounding”, can hammer his way into London with two more wins in Paris.


If Nadal cannot play London, then the ninth man in the race would take his place in the eight-man London field.


In that scenario, del Potro could gain entry as an alternate. However the 2009 US Open champion, who posted a 20-5 record since the start of the Flushing Meadows major, told the media in Paris he’s heading back home to Argentina to rest and recover.

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