ATP Tour

Isner needs final-set tiebreaker to reach Stockholm SF

John Isner (Getty)
John Isner (Getty)

Stockholm - On the day Wimbledon introduced final-set tiebreakers, the player behind the two longest ever matches at the All England Club needed yet another one to advance to the semi-finals of the Stockholm Open.

Big-serving John Isner won his second all-American matchup of the week in the Swedish capital, beating Tennys Sandgren 7-6 (8), 6-7 (5), 7-6 (2) in the last of the quarter-finals on Friday. All six sets played by the top-seeded Isner at the tournament have gone to tie-breakers.

Two epic matches involving the big-serving Isner at Wimbledon likely prompted the Grand Slam to announce earlier Friday that final-set tiebreakers will be played at the grass-court event from next year, when the score reaches 12-12 in the decider. He beat Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in the final set of a match that took more than 11 hours in 2010, and lost 26-24 to Kevin Anderson in the fifth set in the semi-finals this year.

They are the two longest matches in the history of a tournament that began in 1877.

Both of Isner's wins in Stockholm have been hard-fought and involved late-night finishes.

"It was very tough," said the 10th-ranked Isner, who beat Bradley Klahn 7-6 (2), 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5) in the second round on Thursday. "It's similar to last night — very late.

"I need to take care of myself and go to bed."

Isner concluded the march of the top three seeds into the semi-finals.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, the third seed from Greece, beat Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-3, 7-6 (4) and second-seeded Italian Fabio Fognini advanced after his opponent, Chung Hyeon, retired during their match. Fognini was leading this year's Australian Open semi-finalist 7-5, 2-1.

In the other quarterfinal, fourth-seeded American Jack Sock lost 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to Latvian Ernests Gulbis, the 2014 French Open semi-finalist, who next takes on Isner.

 

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