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American John Isner (who will play for the Boston Lobsters on July 11 & 12) became the first top seed to win the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships since its inauguration in 1976 when he defeated Olivier Rochus 6-3, 7-6(7) on Sunday in Newport.

The 26-year-old Isner won his first ATP World Tour title of the season and the second of his career, after lifting the trophy in Auckland (d. Clement) in January 2010; he has a 2-4 record in finals. Victory also marked Isner’s 100th tour-level win (100-80 record).

In a match that featured the biggest-ever height differential in an ATP World Tour final, 6’9’’ Isner fired 22 aces as he dispatched 5’6’’ Rochus in one hour and 42 minutes. The right-hander converted his fifth break point to take a 5-3 lead in the first set and closed out his advantage. He squandered five further break points in the second set, but prevailed in the decisive tie-break.

The American became the third successive homegrown winner at the ATP World Tour 250 grass-court tennis tournament and received 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points and $76,500.

It has been a turnaround week for Isner, who had dropped to World No. 46 after beginning the season at No. 19. Coming in to Newport, he had won back-to-back tour-level matches only twice in the first six months.

The 30-year-old Rochus lost out in the Newport final for the second year in a row, having been beaten by Mardy Fish in 2010. The Belgian was contesting his ninth ATP World Tour final, his first since the 2010 Newport title match, and dropped to a 2-7 mark. His two titles came on clay at Palermo (d. Nargiso) in 2000 and Munich (d. Vliegen) in 2006.

Photo: WTT