The ATP tour has resumed with the Western & Southern Open in New York, and on Sunday the fans will witness USA’s John Isner taking on Polish Hubert Hurkacz. Like all the others, Isner and Hurkacz are coming off a long hiatus from professional tennis, and will be looking to begin on a positive note.
Both John Isner and Hubert Hurkacz have had a topsy-turvy 2020 so far, with neither player having been able to get on a consistent run of form. Isner in particular would want to make amends for that quickly as the action builds up to his home Grand Slam - the US Open.
At 35 years of age Isner isn’t getting any younger, and he would want to add to the solitary Masters 1000 title that he won in Miami a couple of years ago. On the other hand, Hurkacz is a young power hitter with immense potential, who would be eager to make his mark among the Next Gen of players.
Both players make excellent use of their height to deliver thunderous serves which often leave the opponents flat-footed. Their games tend to lack variety at times, but that is made up for by their ability to produce full-throttle tennis.
Hubert Hurkacz and John Isner can hit an incredibly flat ball, and unleash winners from any part of the court. However, that hard-hitting style can also sometimes lead to a string of unforced errors.
John Isner vs Hubert Hurkacz head-to-head
John Isner leads the head-to-head against Hubert Hurkacz 1-0. He beat the Pole in their R32 match at Washington last year by a scoreline of 6-4 6-4.
John Isner vs Hubert Hurkacz prediction
This match will likely end up being a battle of serves. When in rhythm both Isner and Hurkacz can reel off service games at a devastating pace, leaving the opponents fighting for scraps.
Isner has slightly greater power on his serve and groundstrokes, which could help him hold with more ease. But the Pole would look to counter that with his better court-positioning and movement.
Isner might try coming to the net but that could be a risky strategy as Hurkacz can strike some excellent passing shots. Isner has never been the greatest vollyer, and that is something Hurkacz would look to exploit with his sharp cross-court passes.
This will likely be a close encounter as neither player would concede much ground. However, Isner's experience could see him through in the end.
Prediction: Isner to win in three sets.
Tournament: Western & Southern Open
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York, USA
Category: ATP Masters 1000
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $4,674,780
Match timing: Not before 3 pm EDT (12:30 am IST)
Broadcast: USA - Tennis Channel / ESPN | India - Sony Ten 2