PARIS – Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic edged John Isner of the United States 6-4, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (5) on Saturday to advance to the Paris Masters final.
With his victory, the 25-year-old qualifier reached his first ATP Tour final since turning pro in 2008, achieving that feat at an indoor hard-court ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event that is one of the biggest tournaments on the tennis calendar.
The ninth-seeded Isner was just two wins shy of clinching the final berth in the ATP Finals, the eight-man, season-ending tournament that will be held in London from Nov. 12-19.
The American’s defeat makes his fellow countryman Jack Sock the only player standing between Pablo Carreño Busta of Spain and the last ticket to London.
Sock, who is taking on Julien Benneteau of France in the other semi-final match, must win the tournament to book a spot in the ATP Finals.
Isner fell just short despite blasting 31 aces during the first-ever match between the two players, which lasted two hours and 29 minutes.
Krajinovic made the most of the lone break point he created to clinch the first set.
He did not threaten Isner’s serve the rest of the way but managed to sneak out the victory by protecting his own serve, including saving two break points in the third set.
Krajinovic advanced to the semi-finals when Spanish world No. 1 and top seed Rafael Nadal withdrew from the tournament on Friday with a knee injury.