Miami | Isner blasts DelPo out
John Isner and Alexander Zverev will face off for the Miami Open Masters and it is difficult to predict who will end up on top taking into consideration their performances over the last ten days.
Isner is serving like a demon but Zverev is showing plenty of resilience and has the psychological advantage of having beaten the American in their previous three meetings.
John deserved to win today. He served unbelievable. He played great tennis on the tie-break. He was too good for me Juan Martin del Potro
Isner certainly played some of his best tennis as he brought Juan Martin del Potro to heel in the first of the semi-finals 6-1 7-6(2), ending the big Argentine’s winning streak at 15 matches which included titles at Acapulco and Indian Wells.
His game, based on his powerful serving from which – if the ball comes back! – he can deploy an equally powerful forehand, was used to great effect against his in-form adversary who he basically blasted off court in under 30-minutes to take the opening set.
DelPo picked up his game in the second but missed several chances to make any progress past 0-15 on the Isner serve. But while he stayed with him during the second set he never reached a break point and cin the tiebreak, the big American blasted away with his forehand picking up the last four points to claim a place in the final, his fourth final at Masters level.
“Things are just clickin,” Iser said later. “Look, if I’m returning well and getting in return games, that should bode well for me, given how I serve. Very happy it’s all sort of coming together right now.
“I just know with my game, if I’m doing the right things, it doesn’t really matter who I’m playing. I’m going to be very tough to beat.
“There was a game plan. I stuck to it pretty well. I think more importantly than that, it was just a case of me playing some good tennis out there and being relaxed, which was crucial,” Isner, who had only won two matches in this season before Miami, added.
Isner produced 39 winners to Del Potro’s 10, and in terms of forehands, he swept 19 winners past DelPo who only managed 2!
“John deserved to win today. He served unbelievable. He played great tennis on the tie-break. He was too good for me,” Del Potro admitted.
“He has a better serve than me, and then when he plays as good as today, he’s one of the tougher guys on Tour,” he added. “Not many players can return his serves. He plays every time making winners. When he has a good day, he has everything to win a title like this. I think he was better for today.”
On Sunday, for the biggest title of his career, Isner will take on yet another 6-foot-6 foe in Alexander Zverev.
The German won a close first set overcoming a 3-0 deficit in the opening breaker to pull away from Pablo Carreno Busta 7-6(4) 6-2.
“I tried to be more aggressive. I made some winners; made some backhand winners finally in the match and found my rhythm,” said Zverev of the breaker which took him into his third Masters final in 12-months. “I think after that, I started to play really well, not only in the tie-break but also the second set.
“I’m happy where I am right now, and hopefully it will be another great match here and then I can go to the clay court season,” he said.
Zverev leads 3-0 over Isner but both Masters meetings last year went the distance.
Looking ahead to the final against Isner, Zverev said: “It’s not going to be easy. He’s playing maybe the best tennis of his life so it’ll be great.
“I’m looking forward to it. I’m actually quite happy that he’s in the final, he’s somebody that I grew up with on the practice courts.
“He’s been practicing with me since I was 14 years old. I was lucky as a junior to have him at the Saddlebrook academy and it’s going to be a great final.”
Zverev, who swept past Carreno Busta in 88-minutes and is nearing his best form,
added: “It was another good match. I think in the first set I didn’t start off as well as I wanted to but his game and his ball is quite different from [semi-final opponent] Borna’s.
“Borna [Coric] has a lot more topspin. Pablo is someone who hits the ball very flat so I had to adjust to that but once I found my rhythm I played a great match.
“You have to mix it up but obviously the main game plan was to be aggressive.
“He’s somebody who won’t miss much, especially with his ball inside he can do a lot of damage. [My plan was to be] aggressive and I had to win the match myself.”
Last year Zverev has won both of his Masters finals beating Novak Djokovic in Rome and Roger Federer at the Canadian Open in Montreal.