John Isner captured the biggest title of his career with a 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4 win over German Alexander Zverev at the Miami Open. This was only the second set the American dropped en-route to lifting the trophy. Isner also became the first American since Andy Roddick to win the title in eight years.
Zverev edges out Isner to win the opening set
The big-serving American began the match with a comfortable hold to 15. In the very next game, Zverev struck a double-fault to gift double breakpoints to Isner at 15-40. An unreturnable serve out wide followed by an unforced error sent the game to deuce.
A third breakpoint would go Isner's way but once again, Zverev denied the American before going on to hold a tight game for 1-1. Isner had an easier time on serve, holding to love for a 2-1 lead. On his second service game, the German had a more comfortable time to draw level at 2-2. He then grabbed his first break point of the match at advantage.
A solid ace down the middle brought the game to deuce with the world number 17 going on to win the next two points for 3-2. Isner would have two more breakpoint chances in the very next game but the German would again deny Isner to survive the game and stay in the set at 3-3.
The next six service games would be held as a tiebreaker followed, 6-6. The first four points went on serve but five breaks of serve on the trot saw the 20-year-old Geman take a 4-5 lead. A solid unreturnable serve down the line gave him a set point before clinching the set a point later, 6-7(4).
Isner wins the second set to draw level
The world number 5, ahead a set, began the second set with a hold of serve to love. The young German then sent the second game to 30-all but Isner came through to draw level. The next three service games were comfortable holds of serve with the loss of only one point with Zverev ahead 2-3.
The 20-year-old once again sent the game to 30-all and Isner, just like the second game, came through to draw level at 3-3. The next two games also went with the server as neither played thus far looked like getting broken. However, in the ninth game, the American earned a crucial breakpoint with Zverev shanking a forehand shot.
Having failed to break the 20-year-old on five previous occasions, the big-serving American broke through to serve for the second set ahead 5-4. Zverev attempted to deny Isner by grabbing just his second break point of the match after seemingly being forced to defend before attacking.
Isner denied Zverev and moments later would be forced to save the second breakpoint. He then earned a set point and having missed the chance to clinch the set, the 32-year-old did so on his second set point with an unreturnable serve out wide for 6-4.
Isner captures the biggest title of his career
The start of the third began with two holds of serve to love, 1-1. In a long-ish third game of the set, Isner grabbed a break point opportunity with a stroke of luck as Zverev served up a double-fault. His serve then came to his rescue with an unreturnable serve sending the game to deuce once more as he let out a big cheer.
He eventually held serve to edge out ahead at 1-2 early in the third set. The American flashed through his service game, holding his second consecutive love hold game for 2-2. Zverev continued to allow Isner opportunities and the world number 17 grabbed triple breakpoints.
But the German dug himself out of a near impossible task to deny his American opposition, saving all three break points to send the game to deuce. Isner would have a fourth breakpoint saved as Zverev held on to lead 2-3. The next three games then went to the server as the set was locked at 4-4.
The home favorite then went two breakpoints ahead in a crucial ninth game. The German seemed control at 15-40 but the American continued to play balls into court which led to a forehand hitting the net as he broke. This led to Zverev smashing his racquet in frustration. Isner went love-40 up and earned three championship points before clinching the set 6-4 and the title.