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Isner Wins $40,000 New York Pro Event

July 13, 2009 02:57 PM

Two years ago, former University of Georgia’s John Isner’s bid for the NCAA singles title fell short in a three-set thriller against Virginia’s Somdev Devvarman in the final in Athens, Ga. On Saturday in New City, N.Y., the pair met on the court for the first time since then, and Isner captured the Kennedy Funding Invitational title.

Isner’s 3-6,6-4,6-2 victory over Devvarman netted him $40,000 and provided a small measure of revenge.

"It was the most painful loss I ever had, and this does help a little bit," said Isner after reflecting on that day in Athens. Without breaking serve, Devvarman claimed the 2007 NCAA title 7-6,4-6,7-6.

Today, Isner is No. 96 in the ATP rankings. He made a triumphant return to the courts at this tournament in New York. He had been out of action the past five weeks due to mononucleosis. The illness forced the 6-9, 236-pound native of Greensboro, N.C., to turn down a wild card to the French Open.

Meanwhile, Devvarman, ranked No. 132, was the defending tournament champion at the fourth annual clay court tournament in New York at Dellwood Country Club. The 2009 event raised more than $1 million to continue the fight against breast cancer.

Isner overcame a slow start against No. 77 Robert Kendrick in the semifinals and eventually posted a 1-6,6-2,6-3 win to reach the final.

Kendrick, a former collegiate star at Pepperdine, was the highest- ranked player in the field. In the final, Isner rallied again after dropping the first set.

"My last two matches, I started poorly, and it cost me," said Isner. "I settled down in the second set, some shots started falling and I played much better. After I got a break at 5-4 and won the second set, I cruised in the third set."

Isner will play in five more tournaments across the United States before returning to New York next month for the US Open. In 2008, Swiss sensation Roger Federer became the first man since Bill Tilden in 1924 to win five straight US Open titles. He has won 34 straight matches in Flushing Meadows, and the streak includes a third round win over Isner in 2007.

Isner was playing in his first US Open and only his fifth tour event when he faced the top-ranked player in the world. Isner delighted the crowd by taking the first set, winning 7-4 in a tiebreak. However, Federer came back for a 6-7(4),6-2,6-4,6-2 win.

 

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