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Isner aces his way into Paris final

November 5, 2016 10:29 PM

By McCarton Ackerman, USTA.com

John Isner recorded his best result of 2016 in his last tournament of the season, knocking off 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic to advance into the final of the Masters 1000 event in Paris.

The 31-year-old American scored his first victory over world No. 10 Cilic in front of a vocal French crowd, 6-4, 6-3. Isner fired 18 aces and saved the lone break point against him. He won the final four games of the match to prevail in one hour and 11 minutes. Isner has dropped serve just twice in his five matches this week, with both breaks coming in his quarterfinal against fellow American Jack Sock.

“I took the court today with a lot of confidence. It's the first time all year coming into a match I'd won four matches in a row,” said Isner. “I knew I was playing well. I knew I was playing the right way and serving extremely well. That took a lot of pressure off me.”

Next up for Isner in the championship match is Andy Murray, who will overtake Novak Djokovic on Monday as world No. 1. The American is winless against Murray in their seven career meetings, but is ready to reverse the trend.

“It's going to be a huge challenge for me, but that's what makes this game so awesome and so tough at the same time. There are so many great players, and Andy, of course, is one of the all-time greats,” said Isner. "I have never beaten him before, but I had never beaten Cilic before coming into this match.”

Isner is looking for his first ATP World Tour singles title of the year, with his best result being a runner-up showing in July at the Emirates Airline US Open Series event in Atlanta. Should he defeat Murray on Sunday, it would give the American his first singles title in Europe and the biggest tournament victory of his career.

Currently ranked No. 27 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, Isner is projected to move back inside the Top 20 on Monday. A win over Murray would see him finish the year inside the Top 15. 

Editor’s note: Isner lost to Murray in the Paris final, 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-4.