Is Another Miami Title In The Cards For Isner?
John Isner has repeatedly dismissed the idea that he will defend his Miami Open presented by Itau title. His reasoning: He's won only one ATP Masters 1000 title during his 13-year career. The seventh seed, however, might just prove himself wrong this week.
Isner moved into his 12th ATP Masters 1000 semi-final, and he'll face #NextGenATP Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, who beat 11th seed Borna Coric of Croatia, for a place in his fifth final at the prestigious level.
Isner's most recent Masters 1000 semi-final – and final – came here in South Florida a year ago, when he beat Argentine Juan Martin del Potro and Alexander Zverev of Germany to win his maiden Masters 1000 crown.
Isner did it by playing clutch in tie-breaks, and he's following a similar script this fortnight. Isner has won his past 10 matches in Miami, and during that stretch, he's 10-1 in tie-breaks, including 7-0 this year.
The World No. 9 missed his only chance to break in the first set when Bautista Agut dipped a forehand pass that Isner netted. The Spaniard, however, donated a double fault at 1/5 and Isner finished the tie-break with his 13th ace.
The 33-year-old Isner was the clear aggressor, striking big from the back of the court and looking to come forward. Bautista Agut, meanwhile, was more content hanging out at the baseline and trying to move Isner from side to side.
The Spaniard did much of his damage from the back of the court on Tuesday during his upset win against No. 1 Djokovic, the second time he's beaten the Serbian this season (Doha). And the Spaniard fought off Isner's threats well, saving two break points at 4-4 in the second set.
Bautista Agut had a set point on Isner's serve at 5-6, 30/40, his first break point of the match, but the American erased it with an ace. The Spaniard, however, maintained the momentum and led the tie-break 3/0, including two points won on Isner's serve. But for the second match this tournament (Edmund), Isner overcame a double mini-break deficit to advance.
Did You Know?
Isner and Frances Tiafoe are the first American duo to reach the Miami quarter-finals in the same year since 2008 when Tournament Director James Blake (QF) and Andy Roddick (SF) accomplished the feat.