NEW YORK, July 10 (Reuters) - Big-serving American John Isner captured his second career ATP title after skipping his brother’s wedding to beat Belgium’s Olivier Rochus 6-3 7-6 in the Hall of Fame Tennis Championship final on Sunday.
The towering American blasted 22 aces past Rochus, 38 centimetres (1 foot 3 inches) shorter than his opponent, to become the first top seed to win the grasscourt tournament in Newport in 35 years.
Isner took a late wildcard into the event and missed his brother’s wedding on Saturday but he said it was worth it.
“It definitely turned out to be a great decision,” Isner said on the ATP website.
“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.”
Isner made four finals in 2010, winning his first title at Auckland, but was best known for winning the longest match ever played, a marathon five-setter against Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon, which he clinched 70-68 in the fifth set.
He had not made a final this year, slipping down the rankings from a career-high 18 to 46, and was overlooked for the U.S. team chosen to play Spain in the Davis Cup quarter-finals.
But the 2.06 metre (6 foot 9 inches) Isner beat Rochus in one hour and 42 minutes, claiming the title without dropping a set in the tournament.
The Belgian, runner-up in the same event last year, dropped serve in the fifth game to concede the opening set and lost the second in a tiebreak after saving five break points.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a better week serving,” said Isner.
“I’m fortunate to have that weapon and I was in a groove for five matches. It carried me to the championship here.”
(Writing by Julian Linden; Editing by Ed Osmond; To query or comment on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org)
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