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Bizarre Break Point Helps Maxime Cressy Edge John Isner In Newport SFs | ATP Tours

Maxime Cressy’s breakout 2022 season continued Saturday at the Infosys Hall of Fame Open, where the American reached his third final of the year with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 victory against four-time Newport champion John Isner.

The fourth seed ended Isner’s 10-match tournament winning streak with a strong serving performance and a consistent baseline game that helped him get the better of the few rallies in the match. Cressy escaped 15/40 as he served for his place from him in the final, producing a sublime pickup volley to save the first break point before sealing the match with a serve-and-volley play.

“John just completely leveled up on the serve starting in the second set,” Cressy said in his on-court interview. “Just hitting the lines and hitting many more aces. I just had to focus on what I could control, my serve. He definitely played a big level starting in the second set.

“The opportunities came and I seized one of them, by luck. I apologized to him, but I guess I created the luck by staying patient.”

That luck came late in the third set, when Cressy secured the decisive break in bizarre circumstances. After Cressy brought up a break chance with strong returning, he lobbed a desperate shot just over the net at ad-out. But the ball traveled back onto his side of the net after bouncing, leaving Isner unable to make a play on the ball from an awkward position.

Cressy dominated the opening set, with Isner receiving a visit from the tournament physiotherapist for an apparent calf problem. But after dropping serve twice in the opener, Isner dialed in on both serve and return in set two as he forced a decider.

The younger American was back in control in the final set as Isner began to misfire from the baseline under heavy pressure from deep Cressy returns. After saving two break points at 1-2 in the decider, Isner could not escape later in the set.

Cressy finished with 22 aces to his opponent’s 13, winning 86 per cent (32./37) of his first-serve points in the one-hour, 51-minute contest.

With the victory, Cressy advanced to the third tour-level final of his career, with all three coming this season. He is seeking his first title after falling just short in Melbourne against Rafael Nadal and in Eastbourne against Taylor Fritz.

The American has moved up 81 spots in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings since the end of the 2022 season, the biggest rise among players inside the top 50. Currently at a career-high of No. 41, Cressy is up to No. 34 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings and could move as high as No. 32 with the title in Newport.

After earning his first Top 10 win in a victory against Felix Auger-Aliassime at Wimbledon, Cressy credits his rise to his newfound confidence.

“Not so much on the court — it was more mental to get that confidence that I can compete in the ATP [events],” he said. “Conditioning and confidence was a key for me and I’ve been able to build it throughout the last two months so I’m incredibly happy.”

Now 2-0 against Isner this season following his five-set win at the Australian Open, Cressy will face third seed Alexander Bublik in Sunday’s final. The Kazakh defeated Jason Kubler 6-3, 6-2 later on Saturday to reach his second Newport title match.

“Facing me in Newport is not an easy task,” the 24-year-old said after cooling off the red-hot Aussie, who upset top seed Felix Auger-Aliassime in the second round after reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon as a qualifier . “I played well. I wish him all the best … he had his streak of him, maybe I will have mine.”

Buiblik was in command from the start, breaking early in both sets as he cruised to victory without facing a break point. Using deft touch and several well-timed drop shots to complement his powerful groundstrokes, the World No. 42 improved to 9-4 on the grass this season and 9-2 at Newport.

He will seek the second tour-level title of his career against Cressy, after lifting his maiden trophy in February in Montpellier. Following victories against Jack Sock, Andy Murray and Kubler this week, Bublik will face a new challenge in his first ATP Head2Head meeting with Cressy.

“It’s not easy to prepare for him, but that’s what tennis is all about: adjustments,” he said. “I’ll try to do certain adjustments in my game and we’ll see how it goes tomorrow.”

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