Five-time Truist Atlanta Open champion John Isner made a good start towards a sixth trophy at the ATP 250 on Tuesday behind a 36-ace barrage. The 36-year-old American eliminated countryman J.J. Wolf 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-4 to reach the second round after two hours and eight minutes.
“I was very happy with how I played today. J.J. is an incredibly tough player. He’s actually had a lot of bad luck with injuries recently,” Isner said in an on-court interview. “He was on his way up, got derailed a little bit. But it’s only a matter of time until he gets back to where he belongs, and that’s a very high ranking in my opinion.”
Wolf, who is playing just his second tournament of the season, returned impressively in the second-set tie-break to force Isner into a deciding set. But the sixth seed won 81 per cent of his service points and saved the only break point he faced in the match to set a clash against countryman Jack Sock or Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis.
Another seeded American, fifth seed Taylor Fritz, beat Russian qualifier Evgeny Donskoy 6-3, 6-4. Fritz saved the only break point he faced and converted his two opportunities to earn a showdown against countryman Steve Johnson, who defeated Aussie Alexei Popyrin on Monday.
Second seed Jannik Sinner now knows he will play Australian qualifier Christopher O’Connell, who rallied past home favourite Denis Kudla 4-6, 6-3, 6-3. The World No. 132 hit the shot of the day in the third set of his match, when he struck a tweener past his 28-year-old opponent, who was at the net.
In other action, seventh seed Benoit Paire battled past Japan’s Yasutaka Uchiyama 7-5, 6-72), 6-4. The Frenchman will next play Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori, who clawed past American Mackenzie McDonald 7-6(3), 7-5.