An inspired John Isner ended the 15 match winning streak of Juan Martin Del Potro after a near perfect display of serve and powerful groundstrokes as he entered his fourth Master’s series final with a 6-1,7-6(2) win in the day session on Friday at Crandon Park. He will play the 20 year old German sensation Alexander Zverev in Sunday’s final as he advanced with a 7-6(4),6-2 win over the Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta in the evening session.
Isner, seeded 14th, went into the tournament having won only 2 of his 8 matches in 2018. Fresh from his upset win over the second seeded Marin Cilic and the decimation of Hyeon Chung, Isner got off to a flying start against the fifth seeded Argentine breaking in the second and then in the sixth game of the opening set as he took the first set 6-1 in 26 minutes.
In the second set Del Potro saved a break point in the ninth game but Isner was not to be denied as he dominated the Argentine in the second set tie-break. The match lasted one hour and twenty two minutes. Isner hit 13 aces and never faced break point in the entire match converting two out of the three break point opportunities. He advances to a fourth Master’s final, having earlier finished runner up in Indian Wells 2012(lost to Federer), Cincinnati 2013(lost to Nadal) and Paris Indoors 2016 (lost to Murray).
The American who is assured of reaching the Top Ten when rankings are released on Monday has his task cut out against the fourth seeded Zverev who can reclaim the number three ranking if he were to lift his third Master’s series title on Sunday. He won his maiden title at Rome last year (beat Djokovic) and then in Montreal (beat Federer).
After a closely contested first set which was settled in a tie-break, Zverev was always going to be a winner as he broke serve twice in the second set against Carreno Busta who will now get the number 11 ranking after his Semi-final finish in Miami. Like Isner, Zverev never faced break point in the entire match lasting one hour and twenty seven minutes in the evening session. He hit 10 aces and won 35 out of the 40 first serve points.
The final will be repeat of the round of 32 match between the duo last year. Zverev won a match decided by three tie-breaks and expect the final on Sunday to repeat a similar pattern if both maintain their service form. Zverev has beaten Isner all three times they met but Isner has the potential and crowd support to finally end his losing streak. Zverev, age 20 is 13-4 this year and going for his seventh career title. Isner, age 32 is 7-6 in 2018 and he is bidding for his 13th career title.
After a tepid start to the year, the man predicted by many to be the next greatest thing in tennis – Alexander Zverev has quietly strung together a few wins and this would be another big step towards making those predictions come true for the youngster. He has not lost a set in the two Masters finals he has been to and he will be keen on continuing that streak tomorrow.
Prediction :- It will be important for both players to get off to a quick start to put any kind of pressure on the opponent. The match will probably have two tie-breaks and I expect Zverev to win three closely contested sets. Isner is assured top Ten and returning as the highest ranked American displacing Jack Sock.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: sportzcosmos@]