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Anderson Stuns Isner, Will Clash with Qualifier in Delray Beach Final

In the battle of the giants, Kevin Anderson prevailed over top seed John Isner 7-5, 7-6 to reach the final of the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships.

Anderson interrupted an All American semifinal by beating fourth seed Andy Roddick in the prior round. Before this match, Isner had yet to drop a set this week. Isner, the world number eleven, had a slim edge over Anderson in their record of 3-2.

In the opening set, each man had no trouble holding serve for ten games. Suddenly though, with Isner netting a forehand, Anderson had triple break point.

The South African captured the break on another mistake by Isner. Then, with a comfortable service game, Anderson shut down the set.

After guarding serve to start the second set, on a backhand error by Anderson, Isner had his initial break point. However, Anderson battled trough to maintain serve.

With each man cruising on serve, a tiebreaker was called upon. Isner double faulted the very first point. This was the only advantage that Anderson needed to punch his ticket into the final.

The South African will face qualifier Marinko Matosevic. The Australian ranked 173rd edged out Dudi Sela 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 to book his maiden final appearance in an ATP event.

In the first set, Sela overcame a 1-4 deficit. Later, in an error plagued game by Matosevic, Sela seized a second break for 6-5. Then, with a love game, Sela swiftly closed out the set.

The second set, Matosevic capitalized on triple break point and consolidated for a 4-1 advantage. Although unable to convert on two further break opportunities, this time around, Matosevic held his nerve. Consequently, the sole break was enough for Matosevic to force a third set.

In the final set, once again, the early break went to Matosevic. The Aussie built a 5-2 lead.

After Sela guarded serve, Matosevic went up 40-15 for double match point. The pressure was insurmountable as Matosevic caved in and Sela ultimately broke.

The third set was settled in a tiebreaker in which Matosevic saw Sela roar back from 0-3. Still, Matosevic was able to refocus and close out the match.

The 26 year old qualifier has had an amazing tournament with wins over Ivo Karlovic in the first round, sixth seed Alex Bogomolov Jr. in the second round and 2010 champion Ernests Gulbis in the quarterfinals.

Anderson and Matosevic collided once previously on the challenger circuit. In a three set match, Matosevic had to retire before the match was decided by a tiebreaker.

The South African is in his third career final. Anderson’s only title came last year in his hometown in Johannesburg.

Nathalie Narcisse

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