Isner vs Monfils by Rostick
Both players had very easy games in the first round against mediocre claycourters, Isner defeated Volandri (6-0 6-2 6-3) while Monfils cruised past Ungur (6-1 6-2 6-0). Great form for John and Gael, they confirmed that they are close to the top of their game.
Isner had a poor season until the summer hard court season, but once on familiar ground, the american started to play better and better, finaly reaching his best possible level of play at the moment. Big John won Atlanta and reached the final at Washington and Cincinnati masters, beating the likes of Hewitt, Gasquet, Raonic, Del Potro or even world no.1 Djokovic. He even challenged Nadal in the Cincy final.
Monfils had to recover after an injury this year and to regain his ranking, having dropped outside top 100. Gael did just that, improving his performances every week and entering this US Open in great form, not very far from his best level of play. Last week the frenchman reached the finals at Winston Salem. He retired against Melzer, but he is 100% fit now, as seen in the first round. This year he defeated Berdych, Haas and Kohlschreiber or, more recently (at Winston Salem), Verdasco, Dolgopolov and Robredo.
Both players are big-servers. Break points will be hard to earn, as Isner`s serve is untouchable while Monfils is also serving fantastic, plus Big John does not have the necessary return game to put pressure. It will also be a very close game, most certainly no player can win in three sets here.
THe H2H is 3-3 and not a single game finished in minimum sets, which says a lot how close the two players are in terms of quality and how they match-up against eachother. The H2H tells a very relevant story in this one. Eight tiebreaks were played in the six direct meetings.
Expect a great game here, very close, with at least two tiebreaks and at least 4 sets. The line is pretty accesible and it should be covered easily by a scoreline like 6-4 7-6 3-6 7-6. I think Isner will edge it in 4 or 5 sets.
Maximum stakes for me, the arguments seem obvious and they all point to a long, spectacular match.
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