John Isner d. Julien Benneteau 4-6 6-3 6-4.
I’m both elated and gutted. I want to cheer and I want to cry. I am praising the tennis gods and I am cursing them. But I know that when you’re this torn after a match you’ve seen something good.
It wasn’t a pretty match. Irene’s presence was very much felt and the gusts of wind forced a lot of errors. The match for the most part was on Isner’s racquet- he had 45 winners and 34 UFEs (to 23 and 13 for Benny), and once he got past his “lackluster” start he was pretty much in control.
But Benny also showed flashes of the brilliant tennis that has gotten him to the final, a path that included 9 matches in 8 days. His serve was much improved from last night and he can hit passing shots that send tingles up your spine.
In the end the tournament likely ended the way it should. Hometown boy John Isner (I’m a bit sick of using that phrase to be honest) won his third title (his second in two months) and moved to #3 in the U.S. Open Series standings. After a more than lackluster first 6 months to the year Isner has re-established himself as a threat and is headed into the Open with confidence.
But it was a gut-wrenching loss for Benneteau who is still searching for a first title. The enigmatic Frenchmen had a career week and was one set away from making it the most memorable one of his life. It was tough to see him sob into his towel when the match was over, but I hope he takes the positives from this week and runs with them. If he keeps up this level he should be surpassing his career high of 32 in no time.
Congrats John, thanks Benny. What a week.
(I have a lot more to process about this week and this final, and will be doing so over the next couple of days here on this blog, but I wanted to go ahead and get this up. What are your thoughts on the final?)