These two players have met 3 times in the last 3 years. John Isner won the first two matches played in Shanghai in 2017 and Wimbledon in 2018. While Stefanos Tsitsipas won their last match in Beijing in 2019.
Note that there were 5 tie-breaks during these 3 matches. Amazing with Big John.
Stefanos Tsitsipas is playing this tournament in Cincinnati for the third year in a row. This is the first time he reached the 1/8 final. In 2019, he was eliminated in the second round by Jan-Lennard Struff. Before this new edition, it was his best performance.
As for John Isner, he knows this Masters 1000 very well. This is the 13th time he has played it. His best performance is a final in 2013. Last season, he was out in the second round. On the other hand, this is only the 3rd time he has reached this level of competition, and he managed to reach the quarter-finals twice.
In this edition
In his first round, John Isner defeated Hubert Hurkacz in two sets without a tiebreak. After that, he defeated John Millman after a match played in 3 sets (including 2 tie-breaks) and nearly 3 hours of play.
The world’s 6th ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas took advantage of his ranking to skip the 1st round. To reach the 1/8 finals, he won his second match against Kevin Anderson (6-1 6-3).
Stefanos Tsitsipas must not take this match too high. John Isner seems very sharp on serve. Moreover, it is never easy to play this American on his home.
The Greek had a very good recovery match, although it should be noted that Kevin Anderson was slightly down. He didn’t let up on his serves and seemed very strong on the court. So he was able to get back on his feet and that tells me that his level should go up a notch for this new match.
But that’s not why this match is won in advance. Stefanos Tsitsipas is well established in the Top 10 and therefore has to make sure that he can beat everyone. However, and as I said before, John Isner is in pretty good shape on his serve (his fatal weapon). Just look at his last match against John Millman where he scored 35 aces, 72% firsts and 80% points. When he serves like that, no matter who he’s facing, he can give him a date in a tiebreaker (or even create a surprise).
Stefanos Tsitsipas will have to play it seriously and intelligently. To do so, he will have to put pressure on the American as soon as he can. We will have to let go of aggressive returns to make him doubt, and force him to move in the rallies to wear him down. Lack of lucidity could do the rest.
Because yes, John Isner comes out of a match of almost 3 hours and won’t have a day to breathe. The 21st world champion will have to battle against a much more physically demanding opponent.
One could almost say that John Isner has the key to this match. He has already done it in the past and could take advantage of being on his continent to find some unsuspected resources and leave with the victory. Stefanos “D’Artagnan” Tsitsipas will have to assume his 6th place and avoid playing random deciding games.
Prediction: Stefanos Tsitsipas wins