Fixture: (2) John Isner vs Thiago Monteiro
Date: 9 January 2021
Tournament: Delray Beach Open 2021
Round: Round of 16 (Second round)
Venue: Delray Beach, Florida, United States
Category: ATP 250
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $349,530
John Isner vs Thiago Monteiro preview
Second seed John Isner will begin his 2021 campaign at the Delray Beach Open in Florida. After receiving a bye in the first round, Isner will take on Brazil's Thiago Monteiro in the second round.
Monteiro overcame the challenge of compatriot Thomaz Bellucci in the opening round, winning 6-3, 7-5.
Isner on his part will be hoping that he fares better this year than he did in 2020. At 35 years of age, the American doesn’t have many years left on tour, and as such will have to make every campaign count.
Isner’s best results in 2020 came at Auckland and Acapulco, both of where he made the semis. But after the tour's resumption, the 35-year-old put in a dismal run of performances that saw him lose in the first round of the US Open and second round of the French Open.
Isner has also been embroiled in unwanted controversy lately, having actively campaigned on Twitter against wearing masks. Many have spoken up against the American's seemingly misguided beliefs, and his fans would be wondering whether that will affect him mentally during the upcoming season.
That said, based on reputation alone, John Isner is one of the favorites for the title in Florida - if not the outright favorite.
Thiago Monteiro is likely to put up a tough challenge, given that he did well against Bellucci in his first match. The 26-year-old is better known for his prowess on slower surfaces, but on Thursday he executed the basics very well.
Monteiro dropped serve just once against his countryman, and won 74% of his first serve points. Those are good statistics in isolation, but they will need to be even better against Isner - a player who can hit anyone off the court with his mammoth serve alone.
John Isner vs Thiago Monteiro head-to-head
John Isner leads Thiago Monteiro 1-0 in the head-to-head. The two had played each other in the first round of the 2020 Australian Open, where Isner needed four tiebreaks to get past the Brazilian. The American ended up winning 6-7(5), 7-6 (4), 7-6(7), 7-6(5) to advance to the second round.
John Isner vs Thiago Monteiro prediction
On paper, John Isner is the overwhelming favorite to win this match. However, the 84th-ranked Thiago Monteiro is more than capable of causing an upset.
The southpaw has a good wide serve and he can pose a few questions to Isner’s backhand, which tends to disappear during matches. Monteiro’s groundstrokes are more accurate than Isner’s, but the American boasts of a more punishing forehand.
If Isner serves well, he will likely win this match. However, it is difficult to predict the level that the mercurial American will bring after such a long time away.
Given that Monteiro has already played a match, he is more acclimatized to the conditions in Delray Beach. Isner might need some time to find his rhythm, and in a best-of-three sets match that's always dangerous.
Prediction: Thiago Monteiro to win in three sets.