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John Isner vs Ryan Harrison BB&T Atlanta Open tennis live: Isner goes for fifth Atlanta title in 2017 rematch against Harrison

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 28 Jul 2018
  • John Isner vs Ryan Harrison is live from Atlanta at 5.00pm local time on Sunday (10.00pm BST)
  • Isner has won seven of their 10 previous meetings, including last year in the Atlanta final
John Isner (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

John Isner goes in search of a fifth BB&T Atlanta Open title on Sunday when he takes on compatriot Ryan Harrison in a rematch of last year’s showpiece.

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John Isner and Ryan Harrison will square off for the BB&T Atlanta Open title for the second straight year as the two Americans clash for the 2018 silverware on Sunday. Isner is the man in Atlanta, winning the title four times since 2010, and comes into this final on the back of a career-best season in which he has won a first ATP Masters 1000 title and made a maiden Grand Slam semi-final, while Harrison is aiming for a second ATP World Tour title after falling just short to his big-serving countryman 12 months ago. Isner and Harrison take to court at 5.00pm local time on Sunday (10.00pm BST).

Looking to join John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras as the only Americans to win five or more titles at a single tournament, Isner has once again produced some of his best tennis in Atlanta - the same state where he played his college tennis for Georgia before turning professional. Making the final of the BB&T Atlanta Open in seven of the last eight years since 2010, Isner has won the title on four occasions (2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017), while he also finished runner-up to Mardy Fish in 2010 and 2011, along with falling to Nick Kyrgios in the 2016 showpiece. The only time he failed to make the final during that period was when he went down to Andy Roddick in the 2012 semi-finals.

Isner will have another opportunity to bring home the Atlanta silverware after reaching his eighth final at the tournament this week. Playing his first match since that Wimbledon semi-final marathon with Kevin Anderson, Isner clinically dispatched Aussie teenager Alex de Minaur in straight sets to reach the quarter-finals, but from there the towering American has been made to dig deep, firstly snapping a three-match losing run against Mischa Zverev to prevail in three sets before overcoming the disappointment of blowing a set-and-a-break lead (and a match point) against Matt Ebden in Saturday’s semi-finals to ultimately emerge triumphant by a 6-4 6-7(1) 6-1 scoreline.

"It was tough," Isner said after the match. "Just like yesterday, I was able to get out early in the third set and that definitely took some pressure off. I'm very happy to be back in the final here. I need to get in the air conditioning and just rest so I could be ready for tomorrow."

After losing six of his first seven matches of the 2018 season, Isner has come out of nowhere to compile the best year of his career. It all started in Miami as he conquered the likes of Marin Cilic, Hyeon Chung, Juan Martin del Potro and Alexander Zverev to secure his first ATP Masters 1000 title in stunning fashion, while after making the Madrid Masters quarter-finals and fourth round of the French Open, Isner advanced to his first major semi-final at Wimbledon, losing that aforementioned heartbreaker against Anderson 26-24 in the fifth after six-and-a-half hours on court.

It was an agonising defeat, but Isner remains inside the top 10 at No. 9 in the world and has done a great job of putting that loss behind him in Atlanta. Can Isner pick up his fifth title at the tournament on Sunday?

Ryan Harrison (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Once upon a time labeled as the ‘next big thing’ in American tennis, it’s safe to say Ryan Harrison’s career hasn’t lived up to those lofty early expectations - but the 26-year-old has still been able to forge out a solid career for himself after spending a few years in the wilderness after his initial breakthrough into the top 50 in 2012 - a few seasons after he won his first tour-level match over Pablo Cuevas as a 15-year-old in Houston.

Now working with former pro Michael Russell, Harrison hit his career-high ranking of No. 40 midway through last season after he secured his first ATP World Tour title at the now-defunct Memphis Open, while he also finished runner-up in Atlanta to Isner and made quarter-finals on the clay of Estoril and the hardcourts of Tokyo. Harrison started 2018 in promising fashion as he made the final of the Brisbane International, losing to Nick Kyrgios, the third round of the Australian Open and the quarter-finals of the ATP 500-level Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco, but failed to win back-to-back matches again until this week in Atlanta.

Harrison has also been made to work hard in order to return to the Atlanta final, winning four consecutive three-setters over James Duckworth, Lukas Lacko, Hyeon Chung and Cameron Norrie. Can the American avenge last year’s loss to Isner and capture his second career title on Sunday?

That match was one of 10 in their head-to-head, with Isner winning seven of those encounters, including a 7-6(1) 7-6(7) triumph in the 2017 Atlanta final. Seven of their last nine sets have gone to tiebreaks, so we can expect at least one on Sunday, but what should give Harrison some confidence is the fact he’s won their last two hardcourt meetings outside of Atlanta and it took two tiebreaks to beat him in last year’s showpiece. Not much separates the pair, and it will likely be another close contest, but given Isner’s love affair with Atlanta, I can’t go past the top seed once again.

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John Isner vs Ryan Harrison BB&T Atlanta Open tennis live: Isner goes for fifth Atlanta title in 2017 rematch against Harrison

John Isner goes in search of a fifth BB&T Atlanta Open title on Sunday when he takes on compatriot Ryan Harrison in a rematch of last year’s showpiece.

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