Isner victorius in Newport

2011-07-11 09:50

Rhode Island - John Isner became the first top-seeded player to win the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in the tournament's history by beating sixth-seeded Olivier Rochus, on Sunday.

Isner won the match 6-3, 7-6 (6) to take the second ATP title of his career after winning the 2010 Heineken open in Auckland.

The match was a contrast of styles with Isner, the second tallest player on the ATP tennis tour at 6.9 feet, using his booming serve to good effect and Rochus, the shortest player on the tour at five feet and six inches, relying on steady groundstrokes and array of slicing returns.

Isner had an overpowering serve all week on the grass courts, but the 26-year-old believes that his showed his best form in the final.

"No. To be honest, I don't think so," said Isner when asked if he's ever served better. "I just served excellent. I was just fortunate to have that weapon. I was in a groove all of my matches. It's huge. I was very lucky to have that serve and it carried me to the championship. It was perfect serving conditions for me, this court, this tournament. I was surprised how much it was kicking on this grass."

On a few serves, Isner had the ball bounce over Rochus' head, drawing laughs from the crowd and the pair even had a little fun before the match, when Isner, towering over Rochus, put his hand on his opponent's head for a photo.

Apart from his height, Isner is also known for holding the record for the longest match ever played in history. His heroic battle against Frenchman Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon in 2010 lasted for 11 hours and 5 minutes, and ended with a victory for Isner in the fifth set.

Isner entered the tournament as a wild card after fellow American Mardy Fish withdrew when he was selected for the United States Davis Cup team. He was given the top seed because he was the highest-ranked player in the draw, coming in at No. 46. Rochus entered the week ranked 74th.

Isner scored 22 aces in total the match and ended the week without having lost a set. The defeat in Rhode Island is a second in as many years for Rochus, after he lost last year's final to Fish. The loss took Rochus' career record to two losses in seven finals.

The winner and runner up earned $76 500 and $40 300 respectively.