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By KEN POWTAK Associated Press
NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) — Fourth-seeded Maxime Cressy ended John Isner’s 10-match winning streak on Newport’s grass courts, beating the fellow American 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 on Saturday to advance to the Hall of Fame Open final.
Cressy will face No. 3 seed Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan. Bublik beat Jason Kubler of Australia 6-3, 6-2 in the other semifinal.
The matches were played before former Australian player Lleyton Hewitt was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame during a ceremony on the side courts. Hewitt was elected into the Hall for the 2021 class, but due to travel restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic he was unable to travel for last year’s ceremony. There was no class elected for 2022.
In a rematch of the opening round of the Australian Open when Cressy rallied from two sets down to beat the four-time Newport champ, Cressy broke twice in the opening set.
“I personally love to return big serves,” he said. “I love when the ball comes fast to my racket.”
But the strangest point came when Cressy broke to go up 5-3 in the final set.
Cressy hit a lob, Isner, 37, charged the net, but the ball bounced back over to Cressy’s side before the 6-foot-10 Isner could reach it for the game’s final point.
Second-seeded Isner seemed somewhat shocked by the result and there was a long buzz in the stands.
“It was definitely a strange feeling,” Cressy said. “I really did not believe that I broke him at the moment, that the ball did come back on my side. I was like: ’Did I break?” When I heard it was, I couldn’t believe it. It was hard to move on and really be focused.”
Cressy fell behind 15-40 in the final game before the 1 hour, 51-minute match ended when Isner barely got his racket on a forehand return as the ball bounced away.
Cressy is looking to win his first career ATP title after entering week ranked 41st in the world.
“My goal for this season was to be top 10,” he said. “I really believe the momentum is carrying me that way.”
In the other semi, Bublik, 25, a 2019 Newport finalist, is looking for his second career ATP title after winning at Montpellier this year.
“I think its great to play in any ATP final,” he said. “It’s good for the history, for your own career.”