One week after the Final Four of college basketball took place in Houston, we are down to the final four at River Oaks.
For the first time since 1970, three former champions - Jack Sock (2015), John Isner (2013) and Juan Monaco (2012) - have reached the US Clay semifinals. This marks the third time in the Open Era a trio of champions are included in the final four. The last time that happened was 1970 when Zeljko Franulovic (1969), Clark Graebner (1968) and Cliff Richey (1966) were semifinalists.
Isner and Sock will face off in an all-American semifinal. This will be the fourth time in five years the USA is represented in these semifinals. As these two will play each other Saturday, it assures an American will reach this final for the eighth time in the nine years since the tournament came to River Oaks.
Isner is attempting to reach his 21st career ATP final and third at River Oaks (2012 runner-up, 2013 champion). Isner, the winner of 10 career titles, has fired 38 aces through two matches this week.
Sock has won seven straight matches at River Oaks. The defending champion here is bidding to reach his fourth career ATP final. He is attempting to be the first back-to-back champion at this event since Andy Roddick in 2001-02.
Isner has a 4-2 series lead against Sock, and has won both meetings on clay, including a 2013 second round meeting here at River Oaks.
Saturday will be the sixth meeting between Monaco and Feliciano Lopez. The Spaniard Lopez has won four of the contests against Argentina’s Monaco. They have met twice on clay, splitting those two meetings.
Monaco is bidding to reach his 21st career ATP final. Monaco has the fifth most clay court wins among active ATP players with a 230-136 record, and seven titles, on the surface.
Lopez, who is one of only 13 active ATP players with over 400 career match wins, is bidding to reach his 14th career ATP final. He is back into the River Oaks semifinals for the second time (2012), and is looking to reach his fourth career clay court final.
Saturday’s semifinal play begins at 1 pm.