Following impressive performances throughout the week, local favourite John Isner and Latvian No. 1 Ernests Gulbis will meet for a spot in the semi-final of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells. The Isner vs Gulbis Head to Head stands at 1-2 and the Latvian will be looking to extend his lead further and reach his first ATP Maters 1000 semi-final of the season.
12th seeded John Isner defeated No. 30 seed Fernando Verdasco 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-3 to reach the quarter-final at Indian Wells. He struck 10 aces to earn the victory in 1 hour and 53 minutes. Having reached the final at this tournament two years ago, Isner will be looking to replicate that performance this season, starting with a victory over Gulbis in the quarter-final round.
“Yeah, expect the unexpected.” Isner said of his quarter-final opponent. “He’s so talented. We all know that. You never really know what you’re going to get with him out there. He’s a shot maker. He hits the ball extremely hard. He can sort of go crazy out there, too. But it’s kind of like, I don’t know, equate it to like a John McEnroe crazy. He does it but he stays with it. He did that out there today. So, you know, I hope that he cracks some racquets against me tomorrow. That means I will be doing a couple things right. We will see how it goes.”
World No. 22 Ernests Gulbis advanced to the quarter-final in the California Desert with a 7-6(0), 4-6, 6-2 victory against Roberto Bautista Agut. The Latvian struck 38 winners and managed 4/8 break points to secure the straight sets victory in 2 hours and 28 minutes. He has now reached the quarter-final (or better) in five tournaments so far this season.
This marks the fourth time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with Gulbis leading the series 2-1. The Latvian won their first meeting at the 2008 Wimbledon Championships, as well as their second meeting in Monte Carlo, yet Isner won their most recent clash in Vaencia – which was their only meeting on hard court. This could be a telling stat for tomorrow’s match as Isner is playing his best tennis so far this season at Indian Wells, and is the better competitor on hard court out of the two. It will be interesting to see if he can bring his hard court record to 2-0 against Gulbis tomorrow afternoon.
Prediction: John Isner in Three Sets