by JAMES HENRY
CINCINNATI – Top-ranked American John Isner is basking in success on home soil again. But he’s not done yet.
“I’m just very happy. Playing tournaments of this magnitude and being able to get wins like that on a packed stadium court full of American fans cheering me on, it’s an unbelievable feeling,” he said. “It’s one that I haven’t had too much at a tournament this level.”
Isner defeated Juan Martín del Potro 6-7 (5), 7-6 (9), 6-3 to advance to the end of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.
It was his third consecutive win against a top-10 player. He beat Milos Raonic, the newest and youngest member of the ATP World Tour Top 10, in the third round and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals.
Isner, who is projected to climb back into the top-20 rankings next week, will battle resurgent World No. 3 Rafael Nadal in the final, which is scheduled to start at 12:30 p.m. Sunday. The Spaniard ousted Tomáš Berdych 7-5, 7-6 (4).
“I’ve never beaten Rafa,” Isner noted of their three previous encounters.
But, he added, he is up for the challenge.