Tommy Haas and John Isner headlined a talented field of men's tennis players descending on Delray Beach Tennis Center this February for the 2014 Delray Beach International Tennis Championships.
However, it was No. 7 seed Marin Cilic who maintained his recent strong form and emerged as the victor, knocking off South African Kevin Anderson in Sunday's final to win his second singles title of the season. The annual ATP World Tour 250 series outdoor hard-court tournament has been around since 1993 and has been held in Delray Beach, Fla. every year since 1999.
Haas, who entered as the world No. 12 and tournament's overall top seed, won the event in 2006, but was coming off a surprising semifinal exit here a year ago. His 2014 performance was even more shocking for how underwhelming it was, as American Steve Johnson defeated Haas in three sets in the second round.
Isner, currently ranked No. 13 in the world, hadn't competed since he was forced to withdraw from the 2014 Australian Open with an ankle injury. The 28-year-old was looking to become the first American to win this tournament since Mardy Fish in 2009.
The big factor counting against him in this tournament was rust—something Isner had to overcome if he was meant to be competitive in pursuing his first singles title of 2014 in Delray Beach, per CBS12.com's John Evenson:
I haven't really practiced that much since the Australian Open, so I'm just trying to get fit, just get the feel of putting hours on the court. I want to win this tournament, but if that doesn't happen so be it.
It was a commendable effort in his return to action, but Isner fell short in the semifinals versus the red-hot Cilic. Kei Nishikori, Feliciano Lopez and Lleyton Hewitt highlighted the other top contenders who showcased their skills throughout the week.
Read on to get up to speed on the how the event unfolded, starting with a recap of the thrilling, three-set final.