ATLANTA (AP) — Top-seeded John Isner avoided an upset in his Atlanta Open title defense Thursday night, rallying for a 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-5 victory over wild-card entry Robby Ginepri in the second round.
Trailing 5-4 in the third set, the 12th-ranked Isner fought off two match points and evened it at 5-5 with consecutive aces.
The former University of Georgia star had his only service break of the match to go up 6-5 before firing the last four of his 30 aces to close out Ginepri, an Atlanta resident ranked 281st.
Isner's history of tight early matches in Atlanta continued. He began the match with 24 unforced errors in the first set to Ginepri's six.
"This is the fifth year of this tournament, and three times 7-5 in the third," he said. "It's not easy coming in and playing your first match on a hard court in a while. I honestly didn't want to play Robby because he's a good friend, and I knew one of us was going to lose."
Earlier, Thiemo De Bakker pulled off the upset that Ginepri could not when the Dutch qualifier beat second-seeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa 6-4, 7-5 in match delayed 2 hours, 15 minutes by rain to advance to the quarterfinals.
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