Isner made to fight for final berth

Top seed John Isner was forced to come from a set down to beat Denis Kudla 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 in the semi-finals of the Atlanta Open.

Isner, who is the defending champion, needed an hour and 43 minutes to see off Kudla and reach the tournament final for the fifth time in six years.

Kudla secured the lone break of serve in the first set to go 4-3 up before holding on to take the set 6-4. Having seen the opener slip away, Isner was stunned into action and broke Kudla twice, first at 2-1 and then again at 5-2, to steam through the second set 6-2. Incredibly, the American was able to win 100 percent of points on his own serve in the set.

Isner's serve remained a potent weapon in the third set, as he dropped just six points in as many games. Kudla was able to remain on level pegging with his compatriot until the 12th game when Isner broke to take the set 7-5 and with it the match.

Isner will face Marcos Baghdatis in Sunday's final after the Cypriot saw off Gilles Muller 6-7(4), 6-3, 7-6(4) in a two hour and 36 minute battle.

Neither man could manufacture a break in the opening set and it was Muller who edged the tie-break 7-4 to take the early advantage.

Baghdatis had been unable to make any inroads on the Muller serve in the opener, with the Dutchman winning 95 percent of points on his first serve. However, that mark dropped to 66 percent in the second and allowed Baghdatis to twice conjure up a break point chance, converting one to take the set 6-3.

The fifth-seeded Baghdatis served for the match at 6-5 in the decider, but stumbled with the finish line in site as Muller broke back to force a tie-breaker. Baghdatis would make no mistake in the breaker though, racing out to a 3-0 lead before converting his first match point at 6-4.

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