Three-time defending champion John Isner has won the tallest match-up in ATP World Tour history to set up an Atlanta Open final showdown with Australia’s Nick Kyrgios.
The 208cm Isner defeated the 211cm Reilly Opelka 6-7 (7-5) 6-4 6-2 in the second semi-final.
Isner had 22 aces against Opelka, the 18-year-old Michigan player who recently replaced the former University of Georgia star as the tour’s tallest player.
The top-seeded Isner has won 15 straight matches in the hardcourt event and reached the final for the sixth time in seven years. The last of his 10 tour titles came in Atlanta a year ago.
Kyrgios is a step closer to claiming his second ATP World Tour Title.
In difficult conditions because of humidity, Kyrgios needed one hour and 36 minutes to see off Yoshihito Nishioka 6-3 3-6 6-3.
Kyrgios is the tournament’s second seed and after his decision to miss the Olympic Games the 21-year-old Australian said his confidence was high going into the final.
“It feels good. I knew at the start of the week that I could get this far. It’s not really surprising, but it’s rewarding for sure,” Kyrgios said.
Kyrgios fired 16 aces and saved three of the four break points he faced.
He broke for a 3-1 lead in the first set with a forehand winner down the line and although Nishioka saved two set points in the eighth game, Kyrgios held his serve to love at 6-3.
Nishioka capitalised on a series of unforced errors from Kyrgios in the second set to send the semi-final into a decider.
But it didn’t take Kyrgios long to rediscover his rhythm, converting his fourth break point in the sixth game to seize an advantage.
“It was a hot and humid day,” Kyrgios said.
“Yoshi is a great player and makes you play a lot of balls and a lot of rallies.
“The crowd was great today too. I came out strong (in the third set) and that shows good fighting spirit.”
Nishioka said Kyrgios’ serve was the difference as he tried to match with the world No.18.
“I think I played very well, but he has a great serve,” Nishioka said.
“He has a great second serve and I didn’t have many chances to break. I couldn’t put pressure on his first serves either.”
Kyrgios broke through for his maiden ATP win in Marseille in February.