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Fish claims second straight title in Atlanta

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Originally published on: 26/07/10 10:58

“It’s probably as good as it’s [ever] been,” grinned a triumphant Mardy Fish after claiming his second consecutive tournament victory at the Atlanta Tennis Championships on Sunday.

The rejuvenated American defeated countryman John Isner 4-6 6-4 7-6(4) in searing heat in Atlanta for his tenth win on the bounce, adding a second trophy to a run that has seen him reach three finals in his last four tournaments.

“I’ve never won two tournaments in one year,” grinned the 28-year-old. “I’ve never won two tournaments in a row, and on the ATP Tour, I’ve never won 10 matches in a row.”

Much has been made of the lifestyle change the former world No.17 has undergone since his knee surgery last September.

“I had some pretty bad eating habits,” Fish confesses. “I love pizza and French fries and cheeseburgers and stuff but I haven’t had any since that September day since my knee surgery.”

Undoubtedly, the move away from fast food – that has seen him shed 30 pounds over the past year – made the difference against world No.19 Isner.

After upsetting top seed Andy Roddick in the semi-finals, Fish broke the 6ft9 American twice in three games when on the cusp of a straight sets defeat to grab a 3-1 advantage in the deciding set.

And though the lead was short lived, the fighting-fit Fish overcame the sweltering heat to clinch the two-hour-45-minute contest in the tie-break.

“I was a little lucky to pull through,” admitted the world No.35. “Today was an extremely physical match just with the heat. He’s no fun to play, that’s for sure. He gives a lot of people a lot of trouble.”

Featuring in his first tournament since ‘that match’ at Wimbledon, Isner lamented his third final defeat of the season, having lost in Memphis and Belgrade to fellow American Sam Querrey.

“This is the third final this year that arguably I could have won,” said the 25-year-old. “I lost two finals earlier this year when I was up in both of them, one of them I was serving on match point. This one could’ve gone either way. It’s disappointing.”

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