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MailTribune.com
  • Isner wins U.S. Men's Clay Court title

  • HOUSTON — From Nicolas Almagro's vantage point, there was nothing unusual about John Isner's serves on Sunday.
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  • HOUSTON — From Nicolas Almagro's vantage point, there was nothing unusual about John Isner's serves on Sunday.
    They were as difficult as always.
    Isner had seven aces and won the battle of big serves with a 6-3, 7-5 victory in the final of the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship.
    "His serve was like normal and his serve today was tough for me," Almagro said. "I want to congratulate him because he's really good player and a good person and he did a good job this week and he won the tournament."
    Isner won his first tournament of the year and the sixth of his career. He had a record 64 aces for the tournament. He broke the record of 60 set by Pete Sampras in 2002. Almagro leads the ATP Tour with 266 aces. He had five against Isner.
    Isner had aces of 144 and 142 mph in the 10th game to hold serve in the second set.
    "I've always known I could play well on clay," Isner said. "This week is surprising because the first ball I hit on clay since September was Monday when I arrived here from Idaho."
    The players were on serve in the second set until Almagro was broken in the 11th game at the fourth break point on Isner's forehand that landed in front of Almagro and out of his reach. Almagro double-faulted twice in the game.
    Isner then served for the match in the 12th game. He added his final ace, bringing it to match point. Almagro popped up Isner's serve to end the match.
    Isner won $82,300 and Almagro earned $43,310.
    Isner is second on the ATP Tour with 258 aces and he won 75 percent of his first serves against Almagro, who won 55 percent of his first serves and double-faulted four times.
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