Krajinovic surges into Paris Masters final
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Filip Krajinovic continued his dream sequence in Paris on Saturday with a gutsy three set win over the ninth seed John Isner to reach his first final at a Masters series tournament. With 1000 ranking points offered to the winner they are most prestigious events after the four Grand Slams in Melbourne, Paris, London and New York.
Krajinovic came through two qualifying rounds before entering the main draw on 30 October. But since beating the Japanese player Yuichi Sugita in the first round, he has dispatched the 10th seed Sam Querrey and the experienced Frenchman Nicolas Mahut.
His journey was expected to end on 3 November in the last eight against top seed Rafael Nadal. But the Spaniard withdrew from their clash citing a knee injury.
Krajinovic exploited his good fortune to the full against Isner appearing the fresher of the pair as he saved three break points early in the first set. He capitalised on his one chance on the Isner serve and took the opener 6-4.
Isner dominated the second set tie break winning it 7-2 and the 32-year-old American appeared to be on the verge of his second consecutive final in Paris when he surged into a 4-2 lead in the final set tie break with a service winner.
But he lost his mini-break when he dumped a forehand into the net. Two points behind his own serve nudged Krajinovic ahead and though a 31st ace brought Isner back to 5-5, Krajinovic claimed the next two points to continue his blaze to Masters glory.
“This is the best day of my life,” said the 25-year-old to the acclaim of the fans on centre court at the Accor Hotels Arena in Bercy. “I came here to play in the qualifiers and I’ve reached the final."
Choking back the tears, he added: “I had bad luck with injuries last year and I dropped to 300 in the world. My goal was to get back into top 100 but now after this run I’m into the top 40. It’s been great.”
Krajinovic showed verve and no little nerve to take control of the final set shootout and Isner was generous in defeat. “When I was up 3-0 in the final set tiebreak I was feeling very good. But he hit two unreturnable serves to make it 3-2. If I’d got one of those two points the match would have swung in my favour quite a bit.
“When I served at 4-2 up he guessed right and he guessed right when I served at 5-5 so that’s credit to him. He did the right things at the end.”