AUCKLAND - Big-serving American John Isner beat Taiwan's Lu Yen-hsun in two tight sets in the Auckland Open final on Saturday to complete his preparations for next week's Australian Open in style. The world number 14 edged Lu 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (9/7) to win the eighth title of his career -- and his second in Auckland -- in a match with no service breaks.
"This is the only title I've won outside the US. This is an amazing feeling. I will cherish this one for sure," Isner said. "I'm going to go into the Australian Open with a lot of confidence, which players will tell you is sometimes hard to come by. I'm one of the few players going there on a winning streak, so I have that on my side."
The towering American, who also won the title in 2010, relied heavily on his rocket serve, sending down 23 aces, and after being taken to break point in his first service game was never seriously threatened on serve again. The third seed, 28, had three break points of his own in the first set. He was unable to convert any of them but edged Lu in the tie-break.
In the second set he twice had Lu 0-40 on serve, but the 30-year-old Taiwanese fought back both times to take the match into a second tie-break. Lu, ranked 62 in the world, was playing in his first Tour final, having knocked out four-time champion and world number three David Ferrer in the semi-finals.