Nitto ATP Finals Preview & Prediction: John Isner vs Alexander Zverev

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Three players are still in contention to qualify for a place in the semifinals of 2018 Nitto ATP Finals in Group Guga Kuerten, and there is only one spot left.

With Novak Djokovic safely through, Alexander Zverev and John Isner will contest one of the matches to decide the last qualifier. The other match is of course Marin Cilic against Djokovic.

John Isner’s chances of qualifying on his debut are next to zero, even though he is still mathematically not out yet. He once again showed why return games have always been his biggest enemy in his defeat to Cilic. But it was not the return which was worrying because the American was broken three times (twice double faulted to lose two service games)in a row–to lose the second set, and to twice fall behind a break in the third. The big serving Isner failed to replicate his showing in Miami when he upset then World No.3 Cilic en route to his first Masters 1000 title. It was also in Miami when Isner beat Zverev, who will be his next opponent in London.

Alexander Zverev was at the end of another Novak Djokovic masterclass. The German hit a whopping 33 unforced errors in straightforward 6-4 6-1 loss. Zverev later explained during his post match press conference that fatigue played a part, which was due to demands of a grueling long tennis season. The talented young German still has fate in his own hands. A straight sets win will see him through along with Djokovic.
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Prediction: I don’t think Zverev should be too hard on himself for losing to Djokovic. There was a point in the match where the German needed to hit two smashes just to win a point. So I doubt we will see Isner try to retrieve balls left or right every time like the way Djokovic does it with aplomb. Isner was on a mission in Miami when he beat Zverev and a number of very good players, but he has not produced that form here, and unfortunately he has run out of matches. Zverev is a smart pick here.

Pick: Zverev in 2

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