Isner eases into semi-finals

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John Isner moved a step closer to capturing his first Masters crown after a near flawless 6-1 6-4 win over Hyeon Chung in the quarter-finals of the Miami Open

It’s taken the big-serving American time to hit his stride this season, but he appears keen to make up for lost time in the Sunshine State.

Isner was rarely troubled by his latest opponent, and based on current form, he will relish the prospect of his semi-final meeting with Juan Martin del Potro.

Chung, who reached the last eight without conceding a set, was expected to deliver a big performance, however he never quite got to grips with his rival’s thunderbolt of a delivery.

Only del Potro has won more matches than the Korean this year, and perhaps fatigue was a contributing factor behind his lacklustre display.

Isner had won two of his three previous encounters with Chung prior to this afternoon, and he wasted little time imposing his game on his young opponent. The 32-year-old was outstanding against Marin Cilic in the last sixteen, and he was equally aggressive against his latest foe.

The American delighted the sparse crowd inside Stadium Court by achieving a break of serve in the fourth game. The Korean cannoned a backhand beyond the baseline to slip 3-1 behind – and a telling roar from Isner greeted his miscue.

Isner ensured there would be no way back for his opponent by making an impressive 72% of first serves in the opening stanza. It was a lead that was never under threat, and he claimed another three games in succession to move halfway towards his intended target after just 25 minutes of play.

Chung was more engaged in the second set, and he created his first break-point chance in the fourth game. Isner quashed his hopes of a breakthrough, though, with a booming delivery.

Isner had survived his first scare, and he was in the hunt in the following game. Chung was under the cosh, and he eventually succumbed to the pressure. The 21-year-old nudged a backhand long to slip 3-2 behind, and it proved to be a fatal mistake.

The American remained untouchable on serve  - and he applied the finishing touches to ensure progression.

Despite struggling physically, del Potro found a way past Milos Raonic to extend his winning run to 15 matches.

The Argentine looked laboured as he conceded the first set, however his will to win – an underrated aspect behind his recent success – helped him prevail 5-7 7-6(1) 7-6(3).

"It was a great tennis battle," said the Argentine. "We both enjoyed the game and the crowd were amazing, making for an incredible atmosphere on court. I'm so glad to still be alive and reach the semi-finals."

Posted by: Graham Semple

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