Isner wins Winston-Salem epic
Reigning champion beats Berdych to defend his title
Last Updated: August 26, 2012 7:24am
John Isner: Two straight titles at Winston-Salem Open
John Isner won the Winston-Salem title for the second straight year after an epic 3-6 6-4 7-6 victory over Tomas Berdych.
The third saved three match points during a clash which lasted two hours and 26 minutes and will enter next week's US Open on a roll.
The tall American pounded down 22 aces and got a stroke of luck towards the end of the match when a Berdych forehand hit the netcord and bounced high and wide, giving Isner a second match point at 10-9 in the tie-break.
He duly clinched the title with a forehand winner and a stunned Berdych slammed his racquet to the ground in anger after returning to his chair.
"It was a very good match, an incredible atmosphere. It was a lot of fun to play out there."
John Isner Quotes of the week
The Cezch had won three straight points in the breaker to go 5-3 up but put a backhand volley into the net on his first match point and Isner then saved another with a service winner to make it 7-7.
Berdych's final chance came at 9-8 but Isner's serve came up trumps again and he sent down a timely ace before going on to add the next two points.
"It's a great feeling," Isner said on atpworldtour.com.
"Both my titles this year are the exact same titles I won last year. 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.
"It was a very good match, an incredible atmosphere. It was a lot of fun to play out there. There were certainly some tense times all throughout the match.
"At times probably wasn't the prettiest of tennis, but I was able to gut it out and am very, very proud of that."