Big-serving American John Isner overwhelmed South Korean Chung Hyeon 6-1 6-4 to advance to the semi-finals at the Miami Open on Wednesday.
A fired up Isner yelled "Come on" and pumped his fist when he broke Chung’s serve in the first set to race out to a 3-1 lead, ending Chung’s streak of 27 consecutive holds of serve.
The 14th-seeded Isner cruised through the remainder of the 25 minute opening set, in which he fired seven of his 13 aces.
The hour-long contest felt all but over when Chung sent a forehand long in the second set to hand Isner a break and a 3-2 lead.
The 21-year-old was unable to find an answer to Isner’s booming serve in a match where he failed to convert his only break point opportunity and was broken four times.
"I played extremely well. Every match I’ve played in this tournament I’ve gotten better," the 32-year-old Isner said in an on-court interview.
"I keep getting stronger and that’s a very, very good sign going forward."
"I know I’m in the semi-finals and I can’t wait to get back on this court."
Isner added that the hot and windy conditions in Miami, where the courts are not particularly fast but where the ball bounces up high, suit his first-strike approach to the game perfectly.
Next up for Isner will be either Indian Wells champion Juan Martin del Potro or Canadian Milos Raonic, who meet later on Wednesday at Crandon Park.
"I expect that match to be very close," Isner said.
"Del Potro is the hottest player on tour right now, hands down, and Milos has found his game as well after having a rough time last year. He’s back playing well."
Aggressive Ostapenko downs Svitolina
French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko overpowered Ukrainian fourth seed Elina Svitolina in two tiebreaks to win 7-6(3) 7-6(5) and advance to the semi-finals of the Miami Open for the first time on Wednesday.
The Latvian was not at her best, spraying the court with 44 unforced errors and having her serve broken six times on a windy day at Crandon Park.
Yet the 20-year-old’s aggressive approach, stepping into the court to take Svitolina’s second serves early and targeting the lines with her powerful backhand, paid off in the match’s biggest moments.
After Svitolina saved three consecutive match points in the second set tiebreak, Ostapenko hammered her 41st winner, a crosscourt backhand, on match point to end the nearly two hour contest.
Ostapenko said she followed coach David Taylor’s advice to stay on the attack against the defensive-minded Svitolina even when she was having trouble with her accuracy.
"When David came on the court he was telling me to keep playing aggressive, to go for the shots," Ostapenko said during an on-court interview.
"Even if you are missing you have to play aggressive," she said.
"I’m just trying to fight for every point and be more consistent and I think I’m getting there in my form."
Ostapenko has now won both of her meetings against Svitolina, which included a victory over the 23-year-old at Wimbledon last year.
Ostapenko will next face either eighth-seeded Venus Williams or American qualifier Danielle Collins, who play their quarter-final match later on Wednesday.