>> Sunday, April 15, 2012
Latest: Juan Monaco of Argentina defeated John Isner to win his first title on US soil. Watch the 2012 Houston finals highlights here. | Finals Preview: American John Isner continued his exemplary 2012 season by reaching the finals of the 2012 US Men's Clay Court Championship in Houston. Isner defeated third-seeded Feliciano Lopez 6-7(5), 7-6(4), 6-3 to reach his second ATP final of the year and assure his highest ranking ever and become the top ranked American player for the first time in his career. For other countries outside the United States, watch the 2012 US Men's Clay Court Championship finals live online from Houston here.
In the finals, Isner will go against accomplished clay court specialist, Juan Monaco of Argentina. Monaco overcame a first set loss to down American qualifier Michael Russell 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 in the other semifinal. Isner will be looking for his first title of the year and first career title in clay. He has won three ATP titles before but has lost his only final in clay finishing runner-up to fellow American Sam Querrey in the 2010 Belgrade tennis tournament. Monaco has already won a title this year winning at Vina Del Mar. He is through to his 13th final and will be aiming for his fifth ATP win.
Isner and Monaco have met twice previously with Isner coming out on top on both occasions. Their last meeting was in the third round at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells where Isner reached his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final by defeating world #1 Novak Djokovic before falling to Roger Federer. Monaco is also in fine form reaching the semifinals of the Miami tennis tournament before falling to Djokovic.
In the history of the tournament, Isner assures that an American has reached the finals of the US Men’s Clay Court Championships for the fifth consecutive year, and 11th in the past 12 years. American Ryan Sweeting was last year’s champion and Isner will attempt to make it two in a row for Americans by winning the title. The hard serving American from Tampa has not been broken in the whole tournament. He is a perfect 7-0 on clay this year including 3 wins against more accomplished European clay courters in Davis Cup matches. His victims included Roger Federer, Gilles Simon, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. In reaching the finals, Isner will become the 12th different player to become the American top player and fourth in the past decade after Andy Roddick in 2003, James Blake in 2006, and Mardy Fish in 2011.
Monaco is appearing on his first final in a U.S. tennis tournament. The winner of the tournament will take home $79,880 and 250 ranking points. The runner will win $42,070 and 150 ranking points. For US fans, the singles final will start at 12 noon and will broadcast at 2pm through Tennis Channel.