Mardy Fish Beats John Isner In Three Sets To Repeat As ATP Atlanta Champion

Mardy Fish came back from two match points to overpower John Isner 6-2 in the final set to take the championship in Atlanta, the first All-American final of 2011

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ATP Atlanta Tennis Results: Mardy Fish Beats John Isner in Three Sets

Mardy Fish came back from two championship points to beat John Isner and take home the Atlanta Tennis Championships title. Down a set and down 5-1 in a second-set tiebreaker, Fish looked toast. He stormed back by mixing strong net play and superior back line volleys to beat the 6-foot-9 Isner 3-6, 7-6 (6), 6-2.

Isner beat Belgian Gilles Muller to reach the finals, and took the first set the only way he knows how — with near unhittable serves. Once he broke Fish in the first set, he went in cruise control to take it and give himself a 1-0 lead. The two Americans were facing each other in a rematch of last year's final, which Fish also won.

In the second sit, Fish had a 6-5 lead when Isner hit the best shot of the match, a forehand winner from the baseline to force a tiebreak. Running on adrenaline from the winner, Isner stormed in front 5-1, poised to take the title in straight sets. Fish stormed back, winning six of the next seven points to tie the match.

In the third set, Fish was reinvigorated, running like a madman to cover all angles. Isner was the polar opposite. After Fish broke him in the first set, clinched by a backhand slice Isner terribly mishit that didn't even reach the net, Isner appeared to give up. Fish took the next set at love, with Isner only bothering to move from side to side between points. On game point, he watched Fish's serve go by, along with his chances at the title.

Isner managed only two games in the third set as Fish defended his title. Isner had problems with cramps and took 10 minutes between the second and third set to switch ankle braces. These two are the future of American men's tennis, along with semifinalist Ryan Sweeting, and it's promising that they're raising each other's games to this championship level.

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Mardy Fish, John Isner Set Up First All-American Final of 2011 In Atlanta

The first all-American ATP final of 2011 will look a whole lot like the last one.

For the second straight year, John Isner and Mardy Fish will meet in the final of the Atlanta Tennis Championships, the first tournament in the US Open Series.  No finals since have been contested by two Americans.

Fish won last year's final over Isner in a third set tiebreak, 4–6, 6–4, 7–6(4).

John Isner ensured that Sunday's final in Atlanta would be an all-American affair with his victory in the first semifinal over Luxembourg's Gilles Muller, defeating Muller 7-5, 6-7(3), 6-1.  Isner, the No. 3 seed in Atlanta, was not broken in the entire match, and faced only two break points.  Isner's 28 aces were only 12 more than Muller's 16, which should correctly lead you to believe that this match won't be remembered for stellar returning.

The real difference between the two that won the match for Isner was his percentage of points won on second serve, 77% (20 of 26), the same as his winning percentage on his massive first serve.  Muller was only able to win 52% (22 of 42) on his second serve.

With an all-American final already secured, Top-seed Mardy Fish made routine work of 19-year-old American Ryan Harrison in the second semifinal of the Atlanta, beating the fiery Texan 6-2, 6-4.  Fish never allowed Harrison into the match, breaking serve in the third game of the first set and the first game of the second set.

Fish, who is currently ranked No. 9 after first breaking into the top ten this spring, really seems to be believing that he belongs in the top tier of tennis.  Though his serve didn't win him nearly as many free points as it had the rest of the week, Fish dictated play with his forehand and took almost every opportunity to finish points at net.

Harrison should come away from Atlanta feeling tremendously about how his game is progressing.  Having won his first ATP title in doubles at Newport two weeks ago, this run to his first singles semifinal at the ATP level should fully establish him as a player to watch for the remainder of this American hard court season.

The final of the Atlanta Tennis Championships will air live Sunday on ESPN2 at 3 p.m., and on tape delay at 8 p.m. on Tennis Channel.

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