John Isner is Continuing his European Adventure
John Isner is starting to look like he likes European clay after all. The gangly American showed shot variety and grit in dispatching the tricky clay courter, Pablo Cuevas, in Madrid. Three tie breaks were required to split these wily competitors. However, Isner eventually ground the Uruguayan down 6-7(9-11), 7-6(7-3), 7-6(7-4). Filling the final quarterfinal spot.
The Fight That Returned in Miami Continues
Isner was not at his best against Cuevas. His movement does not seem to be 100% yet on red clay. However, he has a new found spirit since winning the Miami Open 2018.
The last time an Isner match went to three tie-breaks against Peter Gojowczyk in Delray Beach, Isner’s fight seemed to wain. He eventually lost out. Yet against Cuevas, a mammoth 32 aces helped him increase the 1st service points won percentage from 66% against Ryan Harrison in the last round to 75%. This never allowed Cuevas any sustained rhythm. Sure, Isner still looks vulnerable to a barely half-decent passing shot, but his clay game is getting there.
Isner Wouldn’t Meet Nadal Until the Final
There has been increasing conjecture that if anyone is to stop Nadal on clay, then Isner could be the man. On the evidence of Madrid so far, he still has a few levels to go up to really trouble the clay maestro. That said, chinks seem ever so slightly to be starting to show in Nadal’s armor.
Diego Schwartzman pushed Rafael Nadal hard in their Round of 16 contest, but still Nadal did the job in two sets. Isner would definitely fancy his chances if the pair were to meet in the final.
Isner v Zverev: A Quarterfinal to Savor
Both Isner and his German next opponent are growing in confidence. A baseline bonanza looks to be in store. Especially if their only clay meeting (Rome 2017), whereby Zverev won an entertaining three setter, is anything to go by. Zverev leads the head-to-head 3-1, but there has been no meeting between the pair this year. Isner is more confident than at this stage last season.
John Isner could be a danger over the European clay season, if he can get a few big match wins under his belt. Beating Zverev would mean that you would have to look out for Isner on the Euro clay.