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Filip Krajinovic Ousts John Isner, Sets Paris Masters Final Against Jack Sock By Richard Evans For 10sBalls

Filip Krajinovic of Serbia reacts after winning against John Isner of USA the semi final match at the Rolex Paris Masters tennis tournament in Paris, France, 04 November 2017. EPA-EFE/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON



It was all set up for two Americans to make Paris their own by reaching the final of the year’s last ATP Masters 100 event. It never happened. A 25-year-old Serbian called Filip Krajinovic whose career had been put on hold for two years in his teens through shoulder surgery and again a little later as a result of bone spurs on his wrist, matched John Isner blow for blow, refusing to panic despite the fact that “my arm was shaking as I served for it.” After winning match point he burst into tears. His 6-4, 6-7, 7-6 victory will be remembered a one of the shocks of the year

Even allowing for the fact that Rafa Nadal’s withdrawal had allowed him pass through to the semi-final unhindered – everyone needs their bit of luck – Krajinovic had produced some inspired, hard hitting tennis throughout the week while reserving his best for the unfortunate Isner. In the second round, Filip took care of Sam Querrey 6-4, 6-4. Jack Sock, who did not allow a hugely pro-French crowd to put him off, controlled his match against Julien Benneteau and deprived the 35-year-old Frenchman of the opportunity to reach his first ever ATP Masters 1000 final. With retirement on the horizon, it is unlikely he will get another chance.

The contrast between Isner and Krajinovic, once they met in the day’s first semi-final, was stark. Isner came in to the event ranked 14 in the world, knowing after reaching the semi-final, that two more victories would earn him the last spot in the ATP World Finals in London. Krajinovic began the week at 77. Isner has won 12 ATP titles and has $12,317,944 in career earnings. The Serb will be trying to earn his first ever title when he meets Sock on Sunday. His career prize money amounted to just $860,429 at the start of the week.

Refuting any suggestion that he might be suffering an injury, Isner said, “It wasn’t a physical issue. Of course, I was a little tired but that’s it”

But the frustration level was high. “Very, very disappointing,” he said. “I thought Filip played a really good match and hats off to him. But I had an opportunity to do some things I’ve never done before – you know, finish in the Top Ten. I have finished between 11th or 19th eight consecutive years which is very good. It’s consistent but….”

Isner made it clear how much he wanted one those years pass ‘consistent’. But 32 is not old for a tennis player in this day and, for Big John, there is still time.

Sock will have no illusions as to how well his opponent can play when they meet in the final. Having seen Krajinovic take out two top Americans, Jack will not want to become the third in a week. But he will have to play well to stop that happening.

Jack Sock of USA in action against Julien Benneteau of France during the semi final match against during at the Rolex Paris Masters tennis tournament in Paris, France, 04 November 2017. EPA-EFE/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

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