The BB&T Atlanta Open continues to bring out the best in top-ranked American John Isner with a packed house of Georgia fans cheering on the four-time champion as he cruised past Alex de Minaur in the second round on Wednesday. The top seed powered to a 6-3, 6-2 result over the #NextGenATP Australian to set a quarter-final showdown with No. 7 seed Mischa Zverev.
The 19-year-old De Minaur was coming off a tight opening round win over Polish lucky loser Hubert Hurkacz but had no answers to the 6’10” Isner’s huge serving. The American finished with 15 aces and dropped just two points on his first serve. He did not face a break point.
“Yeah it was a pretty comprehensive win. You never know how you’re going to come out. This was my first match on hard court since Miami so it’s been a little bit and hadn’t practised too much because the focus was on resting after that long match (at Wimbledon) so I’m very happy.”
It was the 33-year-old’s first match since that epic six-hour, 36-minute semi-final defeat to South Africa’s Kevin Anderson in the Wimbledon semi-finals, a match in which Isner ultimately fell short 26-24 in the fifth set. It was a match that boosted Isner’s profile back home since.
“I’m very mature now. I know what it takes to bounce back from something like that,” Isner said. “As soon as I got off the plane I worked out actually. I have to keep my body constantly moving. Just sitting on a couch for days on end, I would have felt even worse… so I feel pretty good right now.”
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The win sends Isner into his fifth quarter-final of the season, with his biggest result coming in April when he claimed his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title at the Miami Open presented by Itau. He has claimed four titles from seven finals in Atlanta and only once has he failed to reach the final, in 2012, when he fell to Andy Roddick in the semi-finals.
Zverev, though, will favour his chances of ending that streak. The German carries a 3-2 FedEx ATP Head2Head record into the quarter-final clash.
“I’ve never played him in Atlanta so that might help,” Isner said. “He’s certainly going to have a lot of belief against me on Friday.
“He cleaned my clock at the US Open last year, he beat me in five sets in the Australian Open (in 2017) and he beat me somewhere else also. He’s a very good player and gives a lot of players trouble.”