Sunday, 1 April 2018

Isner and Zverev to fight for Miami title

The men’s final will be contested between Sascha Zverev (4) and John Isner (14) after Mens Semi Finals were decided on Day Eleven of the Miami Open.

This will be Isner’s fourth attempt to win a Masters 1000 final, having previously lost to Federer in Indian Wells (2012), Nadal in Cincinnati (2013), and Murray in Paris (2016).

13 times in the first 20 years of the Miami Open, did an American lift the Men’s Singles trophy, but since 2004, only Andy Roddick has represented the Stars and Stripes in a final (2010), where he repeated his success of six years earlier.

Long John has a chance to relive America’s past glories, but how did he reach this point ?

It was a victory over seemingly unstoppable Juan Martin del Potro (5), whose charge toward three successive tournament victories is now kaput.

In the opening set, Isner held serve - hardly a shock - then belted winners from both sides plus a forehand volley to break the Argentine serve in the third game. This set the scene for a 27 minute extravaganza of 19 American winners, including five aces, plus a sizzling ground stroke display allowing nothing from del Potro to strike through.

No winners from the fifth seed and no break points achieved.  Meanwhile Isner broke once again to lead 6-1.

Sure, del Potro may have been suffering some fatigue from his epic struggle against Raonic, but no credit should be taken away from the wonderful display from John Isner in set one.

Set Two, however, was more of a contest that non partisan sections of the crowd were seeking.

No service breaks, and Isner kept up his efficiency from the line, winning 28 of 34 points behind his delivery.  This included another 20 winners, 8 aces, and some brilliant volleying, notably in the tie break which was carried seven points to two by the 14th seed.

Isner won 6-1 7-6(2) to a mixed reception - clearly the majority loved the result but a large Argentine presence in the crowd were disheartened, as were the diehard “delpo” fans who follow the player, not the flag.

Sascha Zverev (4) did not face a break point throughout his semi final against Pablo Carreno Busta (16), but the opening set was tight, needing a tie break to resolve the impasse. Zverev won through, thanks to some quality backhands, taking him from 0-3 to 7-4, and a one set lead.

The second set was a master class from the German as he hit winners from every part of the State of Miami, leaving Pablo without an answer.

14 points won from 14 first serves was an indication of  Sascha’s dominance, and he proceeded to win 7-6(4) 6-2.

30 winners against 21 unforced errors for the match.  

The final should be a ripper with two players at the peak of their powers.

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