Isner to meet Benneteau in Winston-Salem Open final

Raleigh (North Carolina): Fourth seed John Isner gave himself the perfect U.S. Open boost by upsetting fellow American Andy Roddick 7-6, 6-4 in a slug-fest between two big servers in the Winston-Salem Open semi-finals on Friday.

The towering Isner came from 1-3 down in the second set to beat top-seeded Roddick in just over 90 minutes and will take on French qualifier Julien Benneteau in Saturday`s final.

Benneteau fought back in a wildly fluctuating encounter to beat 10th-seeded Dutchman Robin Haase 3-6, 7-6, 7-6 saving two match points in the final-set tiebreak which he clinched 8-6.

Isner, who grew up in nearby Greensboro, was delighted to beat Roddick in front of his hometown fans and reach his third ATP World Tour final this year.

"It`s such an important event for me," the six-foot nine-inch American told reporters after unleashing eight aces and winning 61 percent of points on his second serve. "I definitely wanted to do well here.”

"I want to go up to New York (for the U.S. Open) with some momentum and that`s what I have right now.”

"I was flat out just luckier than he was in the first set," added Isner, who won the tiebreak 9-7. "After the first three games of the second set, I was able to regroup."

Roddick, whose buildup to the U.S. Open had been interrupted by an abdominal muscle injury, was disappointed with the result but overall happy after playing four consecutive matches this week.

"I`m sad because I feel like I played the better first set but he definitely played better in the second set," said the 2003 U.S. Open champion, who held a 3-1 advantage in previous career meetings with Isner.

"But I haven`t played four matches in a week since February or March, so I think this week served its purpose for me as far as preparation for the U.S. Open."

The season`s final grand slam starts at Flushing Meadows in New York on Monday.

Bureau Report

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