The first of the Miami Open Masters semi-finals will feature two big hitters and could prove to be an explosive affair when the in-form Juan Martin del Potro takes on a fired-up John Isner for a place in the title round.
I keep getting stronger and that’s a very, very good sign going forward. I know I’m in the semi-finals and I can’t wait to get back on this court. John Isner
Isner booked his spot first as he brought to an end Hyeong Chung’s excellent run. He overwhelmed the Korean star in 68-minutes, striking 13 aces to stride into the last four 6-1 6-4.
With the 21-year-old unable to find an answer to the American’s booming serve. He failed to convert the single opportunity which came his way while his opponent succeeded on four occasions.
“I played extremely well. Every match I’ve played in this tournament I’ve gotten better,” the 32-year-old Isner said in his on-court interview, having arrived in South Florida with just two wins to his credit all year.
“I keep getting stronger and that’s a very, very good sign going forward. I know I’m in the semi-finals and I can’t wait to get back on this court.
“The conditions were perfect for me. The way the ball bounces, the court isn’t too fast, so it’s great for me. I have played well here before, but I am delighted to get this far.”
Next up for Isner is the Indian Wells champion Juan Martin del Potro who is chasing the ‘Sunshine Double’ of Indian Wells and Miami.
“I expect that match to be very close,” Isner said. “Del Potro is the hottest player on tour right now, hands down.”
Del Potro, who has an army of Argentine supporters attending his every match in Crandon Park, didn’t let his faithful followers down.
He faced Milos Raonic and came from behind to defeat the equally big-serving Canadian 5-7 7-6(1) 7-6(3) after two hours and 53-minutes of relentless play.
There was very little between these two giants of the game but in the event, the South American held his nerve better in the tiebreaks.
“I love to play in matches like this,” the visibly weary winner said after his 15th consecutive win, and 20th of the season.
“We both played well, the difference was perhaps that I just played better in the tie-breaks.
“I am tired now, but at least I have a day off to prepare for Friday. It’s going to be important that I recover physically and mentally because that was a real battle.”
And he can expect another when the pair face each other on Friday.