Argentina’s Juan Monaco won his second ATP Tour title of the year with a three-set victory over American John Isner in the final of the US Men's Clay Court Championship in Houston.
Monaco – who has won all five of his career titles on clay, including his triumph in Vina del Mar, Chile in February – beat Isner 6-2 3-6 6-3 to continue his impressive start to the season.
The 28-year-old went into the final having never beaten the big American before; thus his tennis betting Betfred odds were against him. Monaco had lost both of their previous meetings on hard court but was at home on his favoured surface.
He broke twice in the opening set to take control of the contest, before Isner hit back in the second, with his powerful serve to the fore.
Momentum was with Isner going into the deciding set but it was Monaco who claimed the only break to secure the title and a career-high ranking of 13.
"This is a great moment in my career. I've worked very hard to be here. I have the claycourt season in Europe now, which is very important for me. This tournament is going to bring me a lot of confidence," said Monaco.
Isner climbed to ninth in the world despite defeat, leapfrogging compatriot Mardy Fish to become the highest ranked America.
The 26-year-old rued his slow start but was encouraged by his overall performance.
"I came out of the gates slow. I wasn't quite there. It took a while to get warmed up and engaged in the match," said Isner.
"He was pressuring me pretty well all day. All in all, it was a good effort and was the best match I played all week. That's encouraging. I was a little tired, but I didn't feel it at the end."