| By David Drucker

Sunday’s final at the ATP 250 Atlanta Championships, the first tournament in the summer U.S. Open Series, was pretty identical to last year's final as once again, Mardy Fish took on fellow American John Isner. And like last year, Fish was able to outlast Isner in the scorching Atlanta heat, 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-2. Fish's victory last year over Isner in Atlanta, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(7-4), is what some say fueled Fish’s hot summer results all the way into this year. For Isner, it was the opposite.

To go with his record-shattering match at Wimbledon against France’s Nicolas Mahut, this match with Mardy Fish was pretty much the nail in the coffin, sucking the last bit of life and energy Isner had left for the season. Isner showed poor results from last year's Atlanta Championships all the way through to this year, where he finally broke through on the grass courts at Newport, R.I. winning only his second career ATP title.

This year’s final between Fish and Isner was slightly different from last's year. The main difference was Isner looked to be fresh, not worn out. He picked his spots perfectly in the first set with his serve and forehand, and forcing the break to grab the first set, 6-3. Fish, who seemed to be frustrated with the way the ball was coming off his strings, sent for a few of his racquets to be restrung for the second set. Back and forth, the two Americans went on serve where it looked as if Isner was content on just getting to a tiebreaker serving from behind in the score.

As they played through the tie-breaker, the 6”9 Isner let two championship points slip away, giving Fish the opportunity capitalize and take the match into a decisive third set which he did, winning the tie-breaker 8-6. The air was pretty much let out of Isner's sails as he failed to match Fish’s energy and shot-making ability in the third set.

For Fish, this was his first title since last year's Atlanta Championships. Though Isner had won a title since last year's championship match, he slipped in the rankings. Contrary to Isner, Fish failed to win another title since last year's final in Atlanta, but jumped in the rankings to a career best top 10 spot with consistent winning results. Both men are playing great tennis and will look to continue their summer success in the next edition of the U.S. Open Series. Fish heads to Los Angeles for the Farmers Classic, while Isner’s next U.S. Open Series tournament looks to be Washington, D.C., which begins Monday, Aug. 1.