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May 28, 2017

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Defending Isner to face Sela in Atlanta final

ATLANTA -- Top seed and defending champion John Isner reached his fourth Atlanta ATP final in five years on Saturday with a straight-sets victory over fellow American Jack Sock.

Isner, ranked 12th in the world, broke the unseeded Sock once in each set -- both times to take the set.

Serving to keep the match alive at 4-5 in the second Sock double faulted twice, finally sending a forehand into the net on match point to hand Isner the victory after 97 minutes.

Isner avenged a quarterfinal loss to Sock at Newport a fortnight ago and will face Dudi Sela in the title match after the Israeli downed Germany's Benjamin Becker 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

Although Isner owns a 4-1 career record against Sock, he said the hot, humid weather made for heavy going in the match.

"It was not easy conditions at all in the heat today," he said. "I thought I played pretty well. Jack is a really good player. I wanted to win that match."

The big-serving American fired a sedate eight aces, taking his total for the week to 55.

Isner has now reached the Atlanta final in four of the last five years. He was runner-up in 2010 and 2011 and defeated South African Kevin Anderson for the title last year.

Sela is in his second ATP final after a run that included victories over ninth-seeded American Sam Querrey and fourth-seeded Canadian Vasek Pospisil.

Sela, who beat Becker for the first time in three career meetings, fired three aces and broke the German three times, saving five of the seven break points he faced.

"I feel great," Sela said. "The atmosphere is great here in Atlanta. The crowd support was incredible."

Sela's lone appearance in a final came in Beijing in 2008, when he lost to Andy Roddick.

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