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Clement stands between Isner and maiden title

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:52

John Isner stayed on course for a maiden ATP Tour title in Auckland with a 6-2 7-6(5) victory over Albert Montanes in the semi-finals of the ATP Heineken Open.

The 6’9” American reached the only other final of his career in Washington back in 2007, but with confidence in his game high and his booming serve bailing him out during a tough tie-break he is keen to break his duck ahead of the Australian Open.

“I served really well today, probably the best I’ve served all tournament,” he said after beating the No.8 seed. “That was really the key and I knew if it did go to a tie-breaker in the second I’d like my chances.”

“This time I’m a lot more prepared and I really deserve to be at this stage”

Not only that, but Isner believes he is a better player than he was when, as a wildcard at the Legg Mason Classic, he lost out to Andy Roddick 6-4 7-6 in a run to the final that saw him jump nearly 650 ranking spots in his first six weeks as a professional.

“That was my first tournament and the final came from nowhere,” admitted the 24-year-old. “I think this time I’m a lot more prepared and I’m a lot better player and I really deserve to be at this stage.”

Standing between Isner and his first tournament triumph is Arnaud Clement, after he recorded a 6-3 7-6(2) win over Philipp Kohlschreiber.

The Frenchman overran his German opponent with his gung-ho style, as Kohlschreiber admitted afterwards.

“He played a great match and played every point really well,” said Kohlschreiber. “It was really tough to play against him, he was fast and really aggressive.”

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