Tennis: Isner wins first claycourt title


John Isner of the USA returns a shot against Nicolas Almagro of Spain during their finals match at the US Men’s Clay Court Championships at River Oaks Country Club on April 14, 2013 in Houston, Texas. Scott Halleran/Getty Images/AFP

HOUSTON – Fifth seeded John Isner claimed his sixth career title and first on clay by beating Nicolas Almagro in straight sets in the final of the US Clay Court Championships on Sunday.

The American blasted seven aces en route to a 6-3, 7-5 win over clay court specialist Almagro at River Oaks Country Club.

Isner, who was runner up in Houston last year, went one better this time, being broken just once in the 81-minute match.

Almagro had won all 12 of his previous titles on the clay surface but he couldn’t overcome four double faults and three service breaks on Sunday.

“He did a really good job today,” Almagro said of Isner. “He played aggressive.”

“He served like normal, but today was tough for me. I want to congratulate him, because he’s a really good player and a good person and I think he did a good job this week.”

Isner finished second to Juan Monaco last year and he avenged that loss with a three-set win over the Argentine in the semi-finals on Saturday.

The world number 23 Isner had lost both previous matches to Almagro, including a five-set loss in the Davis Cup semi-finals in 2012.

Almagro was seeking to win his first title in 2013 and like Isner, was appearing in his first final of the year.

He fell to a 17-7 season record and a 12-7 mark in Tour finals.

Isner earned $82,000 in first place prize money.

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