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to advance to the third round here for the first time in his career. More
January 14, 2014 07:51AM
HOUSTON -- Juan Monaco indicated he will be a threat to the big-name players at the upcoming French Open by claiming his second clay court title of the season with victory in the U.S. Mens Clay Court Championships. The 28-year-old Argentine defeated American John Isner 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in the final. Monaco rushed through his post-match media commitments, because he had to catch a flight to Europe and be in Monte Carlo in time for his match there on Tuesday. "No time to rest," Monaco said. "Im just going to make a quick warmup, and then Im going to go on the court. My energy is OK. Ive played a lot of hours here (in Houston). I dont need to practice, I just need to focus on the match and do my best." Isner wouldve moved up to No. 8 in the rankings with a victory, but Monaco broke Isners serve three times to hand the American his first clay loss of the year. The 26-year-old Isner dropped to 7-1 on clay in 2012, and he acknowledged after his semifinal win over Feliciano Lopez that he was playing on tired legs. He arrived in Houston straight from Monte Carlo, where he won two clay matches to help the U.S. defeat France in Davis Cup play. Isner felt fatigued in the first set, and Monaco took the early lead. "It took me a lot to get warmed up and get me engaged in the match," Isner said. "I was pretty tired and kind of sluggish at the beginning." The victory on Saturday moved Isner up to No. 9 in the rankings, and he became the top American, passing Mardy Fish. He already has wins this year over Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, but dropped to 20-7 this year overall. "Very good strides this year, but it still could be better," Isner said. "Ive just got to keep working. I know theres room to improve in my game." Monaco, meanwhile, improved to 11-2 on clay this year. He came in ranked 16th and his first victory in America will move up him to No. 14, matching a career high. Healthy again after coping with ankle and wrist injuries over the previous three years, Monaco feels like hes close to top form, just in time for the height of the clay season. Hes won four of his five career titles on clay, including a victory at Vina del Mar in February. "This is a great moment in my career," Monaco said. "Im very happy about that. Now, I have to keep working. This season is just the start. I have the clay season in Europe, which is very important for me." The 6-foot-9 Isner won 44 consecutive service games in the tournament before Monaco broke him twice in the first set to take control. Isner had eight aces in the match, but also had five double faults. The players contended with a stiff breeze that blew into their faces when they played at the north end of the court. Monaco coped with the wind better, and he had Isner down 30-40 in the eighth game of the third set. When Isner missed a backhand wide, Monaco bent at the waist and clenched his fist, knowing he would serve for the match. "It was really windy," Monaco said, "but I didnt think about that. I just had to keep playing, to keep moving my legs." Monaco sprayed a forehand wide on the first match point, but caught Isner coming into the net and passed him with a pinpoint backhand down the line. Monaco dropped to his knees and clenched both fists as Isner trudged off the court with his head down. "The final set, it was a battle," Monaco said. "We fought to the last point." Los Angeles Clippers Jersey UK . -- The Atlanta Falcons have agreed to a six-year contract with left tackle Sam Baker, bringing back another key play on a team that came up just short of the Super Bowl. Golden State Warriors Jersey UK . Kadri will replace Colby Armstrong, who was placed on injured reserve by the team on Thursday after suffering a left ankle sprain during the first period of Wednesdays win over the Winnipeg Jets. http://www.nbashopofficial.co.uk/boston-celtics/ .C. United on Saturday night and boost the Unions playoff hopes. Nick DeLeon scored in the 36th minute for United (3-23-6), which had ample opportunities to build on its lead but went its 10th straight match without a victory. Los Angeles Lakers Jersey UK .79 seconds Thursday, finishing 0.06 ahead of Asafa Powell at a Diamond League meet. San Antonio Spurs Jersey UK . Charlie Rogers, manager of the Local Heroes sports bar, says business has taken a hit without hockey on one of the more than two dozen screens in the bar, but he expects that to change once the puck is dropped.NEW YORK -- Another career first for Milos Raonic. The hard-hitting 21-year-old from Thornhill, Ont., defeated Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 7-5, 6-4, 7-6(4) at the U.S. Open on Thursday, firing 30 aces to advance to the third round here for the first time in his career. More importantly, Raonic is the first Canadian male to get this far in this event in 24 years. Montreals Martin Laurendeau, who now captains Canadas Davis Cup squad, reached the fourth round of the U.S. Open in 1988. Raonic played better Thursday than he did in his opening match against Colombias Santiago Giraldo. The Canadian had to rally from a set down and break to earn the first-roundd victory.dddddddddddd "I played much better today than in the first round, as far as the basics go," Raonic said. "But I still need to do quite a few things better. "The two breaks I got, I played good points each time. But I wasnt happy with my return games, I wasnt doing enough with the ball." The 15th-seeded Raonic needed two hours 10 minutes to clinch the win. Hell next face 32-year-old American James Blake, who dominated 24th-seeded Marcel Granollers to win 6-1, 6-4, 6-2. "I do feel good about my game, Im getting better and better," Raonic said. "I now have two days to get even better." ' ' '
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