John Isner claimed his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title by beating Germany’s Alexander Zverev 6-7 (4/7) 6-4 6-4 in the Miami Open final.
Ninth-seeded American Isner, 32, sealed the biggest win of his career with an ace to overcome fourth seed Zverev in just under two-and-a-half hours and claim his third top-six scalp of the tournament.
Isner, 6ft 10in, arrived at Key Biscayne with little hope after a poor run of form, but has beaten world number two Marin Cilic, South Korea’s Hyeon Chung and favourite Juan Martin del Potro en route to the title.
“I couldn’t have scripted this,” Isner said in his post-match interview. “I came into this tournament, I won one ATP (World Tour) match all year and was playing very poorly.
“I won my first match in three sets and that’s how tennis goes – you start to gain a little confidence and next thing you know things start to roll your way.”
Neither player broke serve in the opening set, which Zverev, 20, edged in a tense tie-break after he had saved five break points.
Isner was first to break in the ninth game of a close second set before serving out to win it 6-4 and level the match and repeated the feat at the same stage in the decider.
Zverev was broken for a second time at 4-4 when he dumped the ball into the net and Isner held his nerve to clinch the title with an ace.
Isner, who lost his three previous Masters 1000 finals to Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray, has climbed back to world number nine, a career-high ranking he last held in 2012.