2018 ATP World Tour Finals: Novak Djokovic vs John Isner, Preview and Prediction
On paper, Novak Djokovic is the overwhelming favourite to beat John Isner in the group stage match at the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals in London.
The Serbian is ranked number 1 in the world, and is a five-time winner at the year-end event. The American is world number 10, and this is his debut in the World Tour Finals. Even this debut was possible only because two of the world’s top eight, Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro, withdrew from the event due to injury.
Their head to head record is very much against Isner who has lost a whopping eight matches of the ten they have played against each other. What’s worse is he has lost all of his last five encounters to Novak, and all of them were on his preferred surface – hard court.
Isner last won a match against Djokovic way back in 2013 when he got the better of him in the Cincinnati Quarter Final in a tight three-setter. He has not played against the Serbian since 2015 when he was easily beaten in straight sets in the China Open.
Now he is running into him after a gap of three years when the Serbian is in top form and looks almost invincible. Novak has won the last two Grand Slams of the year and two Masters events along with a runner-up finish at Paris Masters.
But all is not lost for Isner. There is certainly some cause for optimism for the 6’ 10’’ American. He will draw confidence from the fact that he too has had a great season and has had some big achievements of his own this year.
Isner can draw inspiration from his Miami Masters title which he won by beating three top 10 players in the process – Marin Cilic, Juan Martin del Potro and Alexander Zverev. He also managed to reach the semi-finals of Wimbledon, where he lost to Kevin Anderson in a marathon encounter.
He will also be buoyed by the fact that Djokovic comes into this tournament on the back of a loss to the big-serving Karen Khachanov. Like the young Russian, Isner too has a big booming serve and a great forehand. If he can manage to defend well on his backhand side, he can certainly cause an upset.
Prediction: Novak Djokovic to win in 3 Sets