By Tucker Verdi
John Isner served his way to a 6-1, 6-4 win over Hyeon Chung Wednesday afternoon, advancing to his second semifinal in Key Biscayne.
The 6’10” former Georgia Bulldog was absolutely dominant on serve, firing 13 aces and winning an astonishing 31 out of 32 points on his first serve, which he landed 71% of the time.
“When I’m serving like that,” Isner said, “especially in conditions like this where the ball’s getting up high against my opponent, I know I can be very tough to beat.”
It was tough for Chung, but the 21-year-old Korean was never given a chance to attack Isner’s powerful serve. Isner, who has been to three Masters finals and six Masters semifinals, was asked about the pressure he might feel at this point in his career to win such a big title.
“What it comes down to for me is keep doing what I’m doing and just keep that feeling that I’m having on the court,” the 32-year-old responded. “You can’t play when you’re tense and tight and elbows stuck here and you can’t release on your shots. It’s no fun playing like that.
“The way I played this week is a lot of fun.”
What might not be fun for Isner is that he now plays Juan Martín del Potro, whom he says is “playing the best tennis in the world right now.”
Del Potro won an epic match with Canadian Milos Raonic that was played late into the night on Stadium Court. Raonic would break del Potro to claim the first, which was followed by four successive breaks to begin the second set. In the end, the Argentinian’s composure got him the win 5-7, 7-6(1), 7-6(3).
The crowd was once again energetic, with Argentinian flags and soccer jerseys peppered throughout the stadium.
Del Potro advanced to the semifinals of his second consecutive Masters event after his title run in Indian Wells just over a week ago.
Isner and del Potro have met 9 times, with the latter besting the former in 6 of those matchups. But since del Potro returned to the tour in 2016, they’ve each won 2 and lost 2.
This looks to be an exciting battle of Isner’s big serve and powerful strokes with del Potro’s seemingly dominant play at the moment, even against the toughest opponents.
For full results of the day’s action, visit miamiopen.com/2018-results.
Get your tickets to see Del Potro vs Isner here.
About the Miami Open presented by Itaú
The 2018 Miami Open will be played March 19-April 1 at the Crandon Park Tennis Center in Miami. The two-week combined event is owned and operated by IMG. The Miami Open is one of nine ATP Masters 1000 Series events on the ATP calendar, a Premier Mandatory event on the WTA calendar, and features the top men’s and women’s tennis players in the world. The tournament is widely regarded as the most glamorous on the ATP and WTA calendars because of its exotic Miami location, thriving nightlife, five-star hotels and restaurants, beautiful weather and beaches, and its celebrity appeal. For ticket information, call +1.305.442.3367 or visit www.miamiopen.com.
Itau is the largest Latin America privately owned bank, with approximately 94,000 employees and operations in 19 countries throughout the Americas, Asia and Europe. Itaú’s relationship with sport goes back to the 1970s, when Itaú first sponsored the Itaú Tennis Cup in Brazil in 1970. Itaú has been a sponsor of the Miami Open for the last six years, and also sponsors the Rio Open, the only combined ATP/WTA event in South America. Itaú also supports the Brazilian Women’s Tennis Circuit, only female professional tournament in South America, certified by the Brazilian Tennis Confederation (CBT) and the International Tennis Federation (ITF), as well as the Tennis Institute Training Center, responsible for the development of young, new talent.
IMG is a global leader in sports, fashion, events and media, operating in more than 30 countries. The company represents and manages some of the world’s greatest sports figures and fashion icons; stages hundreds of live events and branded entertainment experiences annually; and is one of the largest independent producers and distributors of sports media. IMG also specializes in sports training; league development; and marketing, media and licensing for brands, sports organizations and collegiate institutions.