These two players have already crossed paths once. It was last year in Washington. John Isner won that match 6-4 6-4.
John Isner knows this Masters 1000 well, having already played it 12 times. He has been eliminated 4 times in the first round, and his best performance is a final in 2013. In the previous edition, he was eliminated in the 2nd round by Carreno Busta.
Hubert Hurkacz has been playing Cincinnati for the last two years. He has never yet managed to get past this first round. Roberto Bautista beat him in 2019.
This match will primarily be a server battle. These two men are indeed able to remain very solid on their commitments. It’s not necessarily the kind of match that’s very exciting to watch, but I hope to be pleasantly surprised.
John Isner seems to me to be a safer choice in this match. First of all because he has the best serve (Hubert Hurkacz’s second balls can be real cannonballs), and that could be very useful in case of tie-break. Then because he will play at home and that should allow him to stay in the game all the time. Indeed, the American likes to play in his own country and that regularly makes the difference.
Obviously, Hubert Hurkacz is far from having lost. He can quite manage to engage the rallies more than once (let’s not forget that he knows how to return) to take control (via a forehand that can easily overwhelm his opponents). But John Isner should not let himself get caught up in this. He should, as usual, quickly take risks by attempting a forehand missile (yes, he too knows how to do it) or climb into the net to put an end to the Pole’s delirium.
A win for John Isner in a match watched by the mentally strongest spectators?
Prediction: John Isner wins