ATLANTA (AP) — Top-seeded defending champion John Isner and Jack Sock each rallied Friday in the Atlanta Open to set up an all-America semifinal between the practice partners.
Isner beat Marinko Matosevic 7-6 (8), 6-4 in hot conditions, taking advantage of the Australian's mistakes to run his Atlanta record to 14-3.
Sock later topped Slovakia's Lukas Lacko, 7-6 (6), 6-2 after trailing 3-5 in the first set.
In the other quarterfinals, Germany's Ben Becker beat Dutchman Thiemo de Bakker 6-4, 6-2, and Israel's Dudi Sela topped fourth-seeded Vasek Pospisil of Canada 7-5, 1-6, 6-2.
Matosevic and Isner both slowed their pace of play in the second set as temperatures were in the high-80s under a blazing sun. On several occasions, Isner bent over between points to gather himself.
"I knew he was struggling out there a little bit, and he knew I was struggling a little bit," Isner said after ending the mid-afternoon match with his 17th ace. "A lot of times in situations like that ... even though I appear to be super tired and I am super tired, I can muster up enough energy to pop some big serves in.
"The beginning of that second set it felt like someone put us both in an oven."
In the first game, Matosevic broke Isner's serve. The defending champion would go on to win a modest 70 percent of his service games, well below the ATP-leading 93 percent win rate that he carried into the quarterfinals.
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