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New Dad Isner Bolsters London Hopes In Stockholm

John Isner as a father wins a lot like John Isner as a married man without kids. The top American won his first match on Thursday since becoming a dad on 15 September. Isner beat countryman Bradley Klahn 7-6(2), 6-7(5), 7-6(5) to reach the Intrum Stockholm Open quarter-finals.
The No. 1 seed hit 31 aces, won 80 per cent of his service points and never faced a break point to advance past Klahn for the second time in the past three months (US Open). Isner improved to 3-4 in decisive-set tie-breaks this season.
“It was extremely tough. I didn’t think it was going to be that tough but who knows, I think I needed a match like that to try to get me going,” said Isner, who was playing his first tour-level match since losing in the US Open quarter-finals on 4 September.
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The 33-year-old is looking to make up ground in the ATP Race To London this week. The 6’10” American is currently in 10th place in the Race; the top eight qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held 11-18 November at The O2 in London. Isner has 2,975 points, 560 points behind eighth-placed Dominic Thiem of Austria (3,535). Isner will pass ninth-placed Kei Nishikori if he reaches the Stockholm semi-finals.
In the quarter-finals, Isner will face compatriot Tennys Sandgren, who defeated German Oscar Otte 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-3. Sandgren had never reached a tour-level quarter-final before this season, but the American moved into his fourth of the year. If the 27-year-old springs the upset against World No. 10 Isner in their first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting, it will be his third victory against an opponent inside the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings this year. Sandgren defeated Dominic Thiem and Stan Wawrinka en route to the Australian Open quarter-finals.
View The ATP Race To London
In other action, No. 2 seed Fabio Fognini ousted Slovakian Lukas Lacko 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 28 minutes to reach the last eight. It has been a strong season for the Italian, who has already claimed three titles.
Fognini, who is one spot off his career-best ATP Ranking of No. 14, began the year with five ATP World Tour trophies. He will try to make his ninth semi-final of 2018 when he plays reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion Hyeon Chung on Friday in the pair’s first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting.
In the final match of the day, Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis beat #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-2, 6-4 to set up a quarter-final meeting with fourth seed Jack Sock of the U.S.
Source: ATP World Tour

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