With Sam Querrey and Reilly Opelka among the home casualties already, American hope is best placed with 14th seed John Isner in the men’s tournament. He plays Jan Lennard Struff for a spot in the third round on Thursday. A big hitting clash with Marin Cilic likely awaits the winner at the weekend.
Struff could be at a career high ranking if he wins this one but would likely need one more win to confirm going above No. 33. The German has improved his consistent and packs a strong 1-2 punch in his game. He followed his round three run in Cincinnati (where he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas) with a comfortable win over Casper Ruud in round one. He was never really troubled in the 6-4 6-4 6-2 win, hitting 20 aces and saving the only break point he faced.
Isner won Newport and looked to be getting back to form following a few months absence but he has not performed well during the US Open series at which he usually thrives. He won just one match at each of Washington, Canada and Cincinnati while losing in his first in Atlanta, a tournament he has won multiple times in the past.
He beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez convincingly in his opener, hitting a whopping 29 aces in the process. More importantly, he looks to be fit once more and possibly ready to mount a charge in this part of the draw. “The most important thing is that I’m feeling healthy right now, which is really all you can ask for,” Isner said in an interview before the tournament. “Training’s been good — I got here two days ago and just started my practice yesterday, and I’m just trying to get ready.”
While Struff looks ready to pounce on any weakness shown by the American, breaks are likely to be at a minimum in this one which as usual has to favour Isner. The head to head is currently 3-0 in his favour but the last meeting did happen over 3 years ago.
Prediction – John Isner in four sets