John Isner vs Jan-Lennard Struff
Isner is another one of those big, huge serving sorts that tend not to fare well over the best of five sets in hot conditions at the US Open and on what’s set to be a warm day I’m happy to take him on with Struff.
Isner has certainly had his share of odds-on defeats here at his home major and I’m yet to really see anything from the big man since his foot injury back in March that suggests he’s close to his best form currently.
Losing to Pablo Carreno Busta in lively conditions in Cincy was another weak result for Isner, as was the defeat to Cristian Garin in Montreal, so I think there’s a bit of a case of the layers pricing this one up on past form and possibly that great myth of ‘home advantage’.
Playing in front of his home fans didn’t do Opelka much good against a German last night and the same may well be the case for Isner, who’s lost here three times to another German, Philipp Kohlschreiber (and to another one, Mischa Zverev)
Now it’s the turn of a different German, Struff, to try and inflict a sixth odds-on loss upon Isner at the US Open (Kyle Edmund was the other one apart from Kohli and Zverev) and he’s in the form to do it.
Struff’s self-belief has been on the up for a while now and it’s seen him overtake the likes of Isner in terms of his combined service hold/break numbers, leading Isner marginally this season on all surfaces and just on outdoor hard by just over one percent.
A small margin, yes, but Struff has been more effective against the better players than Isner over the past year on all surfaces, winning 42% of his matches and recording a hold/break of 96.5, compared to Isner’s 33% win rate and 93.1 total (Isner has broken serve just 4.7% of the time in his 12 matches).
Struff has being doing reasonably well against the big servers in my database as well, winning eight of his last 13 and the head-to-head with Isner of 3-0 in Isner’s favour goes back too far to be relevant today (last meeting in 2016).
Struff also has a good record in tie breaks on outdoor hard lately, winning six of his last eight, showing his improved mental level and I’m happy to take him as underdog here.
Elsewhere, it looks a day short on value, with Vasek Pospisil one possibility, but he’s one whose fitness I don’t really trust and he’s coming off the back of a five setter, as is opponent Tennys Sandgren.
Marin Cilic is one who, if he’s not feeling it, can be beaten by the baseline grinder type, as he showed at Wimbledon when he couldn’t find the court against Joao Sousa and lost in straight sets as a 1.19 chance.
He faces that sort of challenge today in Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, who wins by being solid and hard to beat, and it wouldn’t be the biggest shock in the world if Cilic had to battle here – he certainly will if he’s having one of his off days and there have been plenty of those in 2019 from Cilic.
- 1 point win Struff to beat Isner (2.16, Unibet)