By Tucker Verdi
John Isner served his way to a 6-1, 6-4 win over Hyeon Chung Wednesday afternoon, advancing to his second semifinal in Key Biscayne.
The 6’10” former Georgia Bulldog was absolutely dominant on serve, firing 13 aces and winning an astonishing 31 out of 32 points on his first serve, which he landed 71% of the time.
“When I'm serving like that,” Isner said, “especially in conditions like this where the ball's getting up high against my opponent, I know I can be very tough to beat.”
It was tough for Chung, but the 21-year-old Korean was never given a chance to attack Isner’s powerful serve. Isner, who has been to three Masters finals and six Masters semifinals, was asked about the pressure he might feel at this point in his career to win such a big title.
“What it comes down to for me is keep doing what I’m doing and just keep that feeling that I’m having on the court,” the 32-year-old responded. “You can't play when you're tense and tight and elbows stuck here and you can't release on your shots. It's no fun playing like that.
“The way I played this week is a lot of fun.”
What might not be fun for Isner is that he now plays Juan Martín del Potro, whom he says is “playing the best tennis in the world right now.”
Del Potro won an epic match with Canadian Milos Raonic that was played late into the night on Stadium Court. Raonic would break del Potro to claim the first, which was followed by four successive breaks to begin the second set. In the end, the Argentinian’s composure got him the win 5-7, 7-6(1), 7-6(3).
The crowd was once again energetic, with Argentinian flags and soccer jerseys peppered throughout the stadium.
Del Potro advanced to the semifinals of his second consecutive Masters event after his title run in Indian Wells just over a week ago.
Isner and del Potro have met 9 times, with the latter besting the former in 6 of those matchups. But since del Potro returned to the tour in 2016, they’ve each won 2 and lost 2.
This looks to be an exciting battle of Isner’s big serve and powerful strokes with del Potro’s seemingly dominant play at the moment, even against the toughest opponents.
For full results of the day's action, visit miamiopen.com/2018-results.
Get your tickets to see Del Potro vs Isner here.