John Isner defended his titles this year in Newport and Winston-Salem (adding his first title in Auckland he has now won five). The giant American survived three tight matches: in the opening round was two points away from defeat to Klizan, in the semifinal was forced to play a 3rd set tie-break against Tsonga (their third decisive tie-break in four meetings) as well as against Berdych in the final. The Czech should have created a triple match point in the deciding tie-break but played a tentative forehand leading 5:3 and Isner passed him down the line. A short time afterwards Berdych had a championship point on serve (6:5) and missed an easy backhand volley. Isner fought off two another match points (6:7 & 8:9) with aces (22 in total), and made a forehand put away on his second match point. The furious runner-up broke his racquet immediately, it’s astonishing that Berdych, who had the best tie-break ratio between 2011 and May ’12, has lost the last 9 tie-breaks! “It’s a great feeling. Both my titles this year are the exact same titles I won last year,” said Isner. “Defending a title is not easy. There’s pressure on you coming into the tournament so I think for me to do that, at both Newport and here in Winston-Salem, it should help me a lot going forward in the coming years. I’m absolutely thrilled.” Donald Young snapped a 17-match losing streak beating Leonardo Mayer in the first round.
Winston Salem (250)
S: (3)John Isner d. (2)Tomas Berdych 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(9) – 3 m.p.
D: S.Gonzalez/S.Lipsky d. (ALT)P.Andujar/L.Mayer 6-3, 4-6, [10-2]
Choker of the week: Michael McClune in the second round. The unknown American led in the 3rd set tie-break against Jurgen Melzer 6:3*, 7:6 & 9:8. The Austrian saved five match points and won 2-6, 6-2, 7-6(10).