Hard court season is blessedly over today. Man, I have been getting crushed in Miami. I still don’t think I am over the FAA loss. Who would think you could break Isner TWICE and serve for TWO separate sets… and NOT win. Jesus Murphy.
Next week will be a nice relaxing chance to reset off of a bad run. There is Davis Cup action next week for some of the lower level entrants. It is usually not bettable stuff, with one star player from a smaller country playing two guys you’ve probably never heard of. So, it’ll be a solid 7 day break before clay season gets started in Houston and Marrakech.
As a simple aside, Marrakech is one of my favorite tournaments to watch - no big names guys, zero fans in the stands, some huge lines involving local players you’ve never heard of and morning tennis for an east coast North American fan. Get ready.
I’ve been fading Isner all week to disastrous results. He’s played ten sets and won nine goddam tiebreaks. He is laying down at least 16 aces per match and has had as many as 24. Amazingly Isner has been broken four times this week and even more amazingly he has BROKEN his opponent five times. It’s kind of incredible considering he holds serve over 95% on hards and only breaks serve in the single digits.
Federer is the master of breaking serve. He started out with two this week against Albot, then three against Krajinovic and Medvedev, before peaking with five breaks of serve against Kevin Anderson. He broke Shapo three times but, man, it could have been another five. If FAA can break Isner multiple times, Federer can. In fact, Federer hasn’t played a tiebreak yet this week and if you watched the Fed-Anderson match you saw Fed’s strategy of trying to drop the ball in short and making Anderson come forward quite a bit. I’ve pointed out Federer multiple times since the start of the Sunshine Double that Fed is motivated to climb the rankings before Wimbledon. A win today puts Fed within 500 points of Zverev for third and 3,200 points of Rafa for second. Zverev is defending 2,570 points between now and Wimbledon, Rafa is defending 4,680… Fed is defending 550. Maybe he can’t catch Rafa but, he sure as hell wants to get ahead of Zverev so he can be on the bottom half of the Wimbledon draw.
I expect lots of drop shots and back hand slices, some SABR returns and quite a few forehands down the line from Federer today. These two have played seven times and both of Isner’s wins were indoors while all five of Federer’s were outdoors. The only tiebreak filled win for Fed was at the US Open and he had TEN break points that day. I’m guessing he’ll have a slightly better conversion rate today on even slower courts.
TIme to end hard court season with a bang:
Federer -2.5, -138
Federer 2-0, -175
Federer/Isner u24.5, -120
Federer/Isner u12.5 1st set, -110
Federer/Isner no Tiebreak, +333