John Isner: The Biggest of them All

John Isner, a 6 foot 11 American from Georgia is normally known for having primarily a huge serve, first and second serve. He is known for scraping through matches in several tiebreak sets, holding his serve at will, while ever so often breaking. It is rare when he looses serve, and it is just as rare when he breaks. However, when he gets an early break, it frees his game up so much and he is a totally different player. He takes more risks in return games, and looks for forehands to attack, and then is able to put so much pressure on his opponent, leaving them with no other way to win. However, while his game has limitations, such as the weaker backhand wing, or getting returns into play, or winning long and hard fought points from the baseline, he was able to do all those things extremely well this week. He is generally not the most interesting to watch, but he definitely proved that he is far more than just a big serve. Having played college tennis, Isner has been a successful top 20 player the past 10 years. He has won 13 ATP titles, and has had tremendous success in North American Hard-court tournaments, especially the masters 1000s. He has reached the finals of Indian Wells(2012 lost to Federer), finals of Cincinnati(2013 lost to Nadal), and finals of Paris Masters (2016 to Andy Murray), and has fallen short. But today, and this week in Miami came the unexpected victory against a great young Player in a hard fought nail biting three-setter vs. Sascha Zverev. Both men came into this week with minimal expectations, and rough starts to their 2018 campaign. Despite the Big Four not present, Isner’s route to the final was incredibly impressive, and involved very few tiebreakers and energy consumed. After getting through a shaky first round vs. Vesely in three sets, Isner went on to beat in-form Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-3 6-4, then knocked off a very tough opponent (number 2 seed Marin Cilic 7-6 (0) 6-3), and then crushed the best young player of the last 6 months, Hyeon Chung, 6-1 6-4, and then stopped Del Potro’s impressive 15 match winning streak 6-1 7-6, before beating another top 5 player Zverev in the final. These highlights below show the key moments in the final where both players raised their level, and then Isner found another gear from the baseline, while suffering from the heat and exhaustion, and then achieved the biggest title of his career at age 32:

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