Miami Open 2019, Semi-Finals: John Isner vs Felix Auger-Aliassime, Preview and Prediction
Before the tournament, big John was not in the best of form this season, but he seems to have suddenly found his mojo back at Miami and looks very much like the defending champion that he is.
Predictably, it has been his big serve that has played a major role in his progress so far. He has won all his matches in straight sets and seven of those eight sets have gone to tie-breaks, and he has won them all.
Whether it is players with a lesser pedigree such as Lorenzo Sonego or the ones capable of much better tennis such as Kyle Edmund or Bautista Agut, his go-to method has been to ensure that he wins all his service games, and take the set to a tie-break, where his bigger serve gives him the advantage.
He has been broken only twice in the tournament so far and has broken his opponents’ serve three times. In his quarterfinal match against Roberto Bautista Agut which he won in two tie-breaks, he kept 85 percent of his first serves in, winning 77 percent of those and won 58 percent of his second serves.
His semi-final opponent, Auger-Aliassime has a contrasting game style. He does not possess the kind of big serve that Isner has, but his return game is markedly better than the American’s. As a result, in the five matches he has played so far in the tournament, we have seen lot many breaks of serve, unlike the matches involving Isner.
The Canadian’s serve has been broken nine times in the tournament, but he has broken his opponents’ serve a whopping nineteen times as well. After two three-set matches in the first two rounds, he has won his last three matches in straight sets against players of the caliber of Borna Coric and Nikoloz Basilashvili.
He has played two tie-breaks so far and has won them both. His match with Isner is expected to have at least one tie-break, if not more. And if that comes to pass, he will not only need to serve better but should also try to find a way to break Isner’s serve.
What will go against Auger-Aliassime is that he could be more fatigued in comparison to his opponent, as he has had to spend a lot more time on the court. He will need to be at his absolute best to stop the American from making it to a second consecutive final at Miami.
Prediction: John Isner to win in Straight Sets