Isner As Powerful As Ever In Miami
New stadium, same John Isner. The defending Miami Open presented by Itau champion staved off a feisty effort from Italian Lorenzo Sonego 7-6(2), 7-6(7) to win his seventh consecutive match at the ATP Masters 1000 event.
Isner was playing for the first time at Hard Rock Stadium, where the tournament moved this year after 32 years at Key Biscayne. But the seventh seed stuck to familiar patterns against the 23-year-old qualifier, who was playing a Top 10 opponent for the first time.
Isner blasted 38 winners, including 20 aces, and although he was down 1/4 in the second set tie-break, the 6'10” American served his way back into it.
Last year, Isner came into Miami with a 2-6 record and ranked No. 17 in the ATP Rankings. But his maiden Masters 1000 title (d. Zverev) ignited his 2018 season, which saw him make his debut at the Nitto ATP Finals and finish inside the Top 10 of the year-end ATP Rankings for the first time (No. 9).
The 33-year-old is in a much better place this year. He remains at No. 9 in the ATP Rankings and improved to 11-6 on the season. Isner has reached three semi-finals in his past four tournaments.
He will next face Spain's Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who powered past 25th seed and Australian Open semi-finalist Lucas Pouille 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Pouille was 5-2 after the Aussie swing but has since gone 0-3. Ramos-Vinolas converted four of his seven break points and owns a 1-1 FedEx ATP Head2Head record with Isner.
Croatia's Borna Coric overcame a mid-match hiccup against Roberto Carballes Baena of Spain to advance 7-6(7), 0-6, 6-2. Coric won only 48 per cent of the points in the match (89/184), but he'll next face Frenchman Jeremy Chardy. The two have split their four FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings.
Seventeenth seed Nikoloz Basilashvili raced past Germany's Mischa Zverev, who saved eight match points in his first-round match, 6-3, 6-2 in only 67 minutes. Basilashvili will next play Dutchman Robin Haase, who fought off South African lucky loser Lloyd Harris 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.