Isner breaks Casino Curse in Newport
Originally published on: 11/07/11 09:55
John Isner became the first top-seeded player to win the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships since the Newport event’s inauguration in 1976 after defeating Olivier Rochus on Sunday.
The American won 6-3 7-6(6) to secure the second ATP title of his career and add to his 2010 Heineken Open triumph in Auckland.
At 6’9”, Isner made the most of his aerial advantage over the diminutive Belgian, firing several serves that bounced clean over 5’6” Rochus’ head.
“I just served excellent,” said Isner, who struck 22 aces. “I was just fortunate to have that weapon. I was in a grove all of my matches. It’s huge. I was very lucky to have that serve and it carried me to the championship. It was perfect serving conditions for me, this court, this tournament. I was surprised how much it was kicking on this grass.”
By virtue of his victory in an hour and 42 minutes, Isner ended the ‘Casino Curse’ that had plagued the top seed at the event for the last 35 years, but his victory came only after he had taken the decision to miss his brother’s wedding to take a wildcard into the event because of the withdrawal of fellow American Mardy Fish.
“I told myself that I was going to take the wild card here and the only way I was going to miss the wedding was if I got to the semi-finals,” he said. “But it definitely turned out to be a great decision and I owe a huge thanks to Mark Stenning for the wild card. It’s the perfect start to the summer and I really feel like my best surface is the hard courts in the U.S. so I’m going to have a lot of confidence from this.”
Rochus, meanwhile, was also in high spirits after making the Newport final for the second successive year. “My level was good all week,” said the 30-year-old. “He was better than me today – a bigger serve – but I’m proud again to be in the final here two times in a row.”