John Isner vs Marin Cilic- US Open Preview and Prediction
This year's US Open continues to impress fans throwing up one exciting match after the other. It is the clash of the giants this time as John Isner and Marin Cilic meet in a crucial third-round encounter.
John Isner ranked World Number 14, has been the leader of the American tennis scene for the last 12 years and has gone from strength to strength. He managed to reach the quarterfinals in the US Open last year losing to the eventual runner-up Del Potro in four sets.
Isner stormed into the top 10 of the World rankings and played the ATP Finals for the first time. His debut, however, turned out to be a disaster, as he lost all the three matches in the group stage to Djokovic, Cilic, and Zverev respectively.
Isner at 6'10" was stunned in four sets in the first round of the Australian Open by his compatriot, Reilly Opelka who was taller than him at 6'11". Both the players used their big serve and sent down 87 aces in total. It was tough for Isner as he lost the match in 4 tiebreakers despite winning more points than Opelka.
Opelka and Isner met once again in the semifinals of the New York Open and it was Opelka who again had the last laugh winning in three tiebreaks slamming 43 aces. Isner continued his great form reaching the semi-finals of the Delray Beach Open before losing to the Brit, Daniel Evans, in three sets. He achieved a hat-trick of semifinal appearances in the Acapulco Open. Isner lost to the eventual champion- in-form Nick Kyrgios in three sets. Kyrgios was playing so well as he had defeated Nadal and Wawrinka in his previous matches
Isner entered the Miami Open as the defending champion and reached the finals defeating the likes of Edmund, Agut, and Felix Auger- all in straight sets. Federer crushed him 6-1 6-4 in the finals.
Isner was forced to skip the entire clay-court season due to a left foot injury and directly entered the grass-court season after rehabilitation. He suffered an upset against a lower-ranked Kukushkin in a thrilling five-set match in the second round of Wimbledon.
The American bounced back winning his favourite tournament- Hall of Fame Tennis Championships for the fourth time in his career. He suffered his third loss in a row to his nemesis- Opelka in the pre-quarterfinals of the Atlanta Open losing 6-7 7-6 6-7.
Coming to the US Open, Isner performed poorly in the North American hard-court tournaments losing early in Washington, Montreal, and Cincinnati. He has picked up steam as it was evident in the first two rounds where he beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Jan-Lennard Struff both in straight sets.
On the other hand, Marin Cilic has been having a terrible season. He began the season with a surprise loss to Roberto Bautista Agut in five sets in the fourth round of the Australian Open. Cilic lost a lot of points as he was the runner-up in the Australian Open 2018. He suffered a huge dip in form crashing out early in the big hard-court tournaments- Dubai, Indian Wells and Miami failing to reach even the quarterfinals.
The clay-court season turned out to be a damp squib as he made early exits in Monte Carlo, Hungary, and Rome. Injury concerns were seen when he gave a walkover to Djokovic in the Madrid Open quarterfinals.
He was unlucky again as he lost a pulsating five-setter to Dimitrov in the second round of the French Open. Cilic did not impress again as he lost in the second round of Wimbledon to Joao Sousa in straight sets.
Cilic picked up form reaching the quarterfinals and pre-quarterfinals in the Washington Open and the Rogers Cup losing to Medvedev and Thiem respectively. His confidence hit another low as he lost to an unheralded Radu Albot in straight sets in the first round of the Cincinnati Open.
Cilic has been impressive in the US Open so far dismissing Martin Klizan in straight sets and overcoming a set deficit against Cedrik-Marcel Stebe to win in four sets in the second round.
John Isner and Marin Cilic are meeting for the 12th time on the tour. Though Cilic leads the head-to-head record comfortably with eight wins and three losses, he will be wary of Isner's red-hot form and 3 losses to him in the last five matches.
The American crowd will give more support for the homeboy even though Cilic was a champion here in 2014. Many American players made their appearance in the men's draw but only Isner and Sandgren are remaining, while others Fritz, Tiafoe, Johnson, and Querrey are out.
It will be a physical battle in terms of the big serves while a mental battle in terms of holding the nerves in high-pressure situations.
Cilic has an edge in experience and flexibility and will be relying on his powerful forehand to save him from tough situations.
This match is expected to go down the wire as both players will be looking to follow the same strategy of " Hold your service games and Win your tiebreakers".
Isner will depend upon his big serve to take games quickly while Cilic has to improve his serve by many notches as he has committed 20 double faults in the first two rounds despite compensating that number with 30 aces.
The fans will be excited and the organisers can expect a full house for this marquee encounter.
John Isner to win in five sets