Alexander Zverev To Lock Horns With Isner – Five Facts About The Miami Open Final - UBITENNIS
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Alexander Zverev To Lock Horns With Isner – Five Facts About The Miami Open Final

Besides prize money of over $1 million, here is what is at stake for Zverev and Isner in Miami.

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In the last men’s final before the Miami Open moves to its new home at the Hard Rock Stadium, Alexander Zverev will take on John Isner. Zverev, who has not played a top 10 seed in the entire tournament, booked his place in the final with wins over Nick Kyrgios, Borna Coric and Pablo Carreno Busta. In contrast big-serving Isner has already scored wins over top 10 players Marin Cilic and Juan Martin del Potro.

A lot is on the line for both players at Crandon Park. Here are five things you need to know about this year’s Miami men’s final.

It will be their fourth meeting

The Miami showdown will be the fourth time Zverev has played Isner on the tour and the first time in the final of an event. The German currently has an unbeaten record against the 14th seed. Although their two most recent meetings have gone to three sets with at least one tiebreaker played.

“I think he’s going to hit a lot of aces, a lot of winners. It’s going to be a completely different match. But I’m ready for it, and hopefully it will be another great one.” Said Zverev.

On the other hand Isner, who has hit a total of 61 aces so far in the tournament, isn’t letting his losing record deter him. Sunday will be his fourth appearance in a Masters 1000 final at the age of 32. Three out of his four final appearances has occurred on home soil (Indian Wells 2012, Cincinnati 2013 and Miami 2018). His Non-American run occurred at the 2016 Paris Open.

“I’m just going to focus on what I do well and come up with a game plan with whoever I’m playing on Sunday.” Isner told reporters on Friday after his semi-final win.

Head-to-head record

2016 ATP Masters 1000 Shanghai (China) – Zverev won 6-4 6-2
2017 ATP Masters 1000 Miami (U.S.A.) – Zverev won 6-7(5) 7-6(7) 7-6(5)
2017 ATP Masters 1000 Rome (Italy) – Zverev won 6-4 6-7(5) 6-1

Isner’s American quest

Besides bidding to win the biggest title of his career, Isner will also be attempting to be the first home player to win in Miami since 2010. An American man has won the Miami title 14 times, but only twice since 2005. The last was Andy Roddick in 2010.

Since the implementation of the Masters 1000 series in 2009, only two American men have won a trophy. After Roddick, Jack Sock won last year’s Paris Masters.

Zverev aims to emulate Djokovic

At the age of 20, Zverev has already won two Masters 1000 titles. Should he win his third in Miami, he would become the youngest champion for over a decade. In 2007 Novak Djokovic, who was seeded tenth in the draw, defeated Guillermo Cañas in the final at the age of 19. To date, Djokovic is the youngest ever winner of the event.

Three years ago in Miami Zverev won his first match at a Masters 1000 event at the age of 17 years and 11 months. Becoming one of the youngest players in history to do so. His win was over Australia’s Sam Groth.

Isner Targets a different kind of sunshine double

Should he win, Isner would achieve something that has only ever previously been achieved by one person on the ATP Tour. To claim the Indian Wells doubles title followed by the Miami singles title.

Earlier this month he teamed up with compatriot Sock to claim only his fifth doubles trophy on the tour. The unseeded pairing didn’t drop a set throughout the competition and edged out the Bryan brothers in the final.

The only player to achieve the milestone is Jim Courier, who won the duo of titles in 1991.

What’s at stake in the ATP rankings

Apart from receiving prize money of $1,340,860, whoever claims the Miami Open crown this year will rise to their ranking high. Zverev will rise to third in the world for the first time since the week commencing November 12th last year.

Meanwhile, Isner has the chance of rising to his career best of ninth. A position he first held back on 16th April 2012. He is already guaranteed to enter the top 10 for the first time since 2014.

The men’s final will get underway on Sunday at 13:00 EDT (18:00 GMT)

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Team World Gets First Lead at Laver Cup

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-Chicago, Illinois

Team World was in really bad shape midway through Day Two of the Laver Cup. They were down 7-1 after the losing the first two singles matches on Saturday. Fast forward 24 hours and two wins later and John Isner and Jack Sock combined for a remarkable victory on Sunday winning their doubles match over Roger Federer and Sasha Zverev in dramatic fashion 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 11-9 giving the World Team an 8-7 edge, the first time Team World has led the competition in the two years it has been played.

It was a highly entertaining affair from the start. Sock and Isner who won the Indian Wells doubles title together this year the favourites over the No. 2 and No. 5 players in the world. Federer and Zverev hadn’t played together as a team before but they held their own. They won the first set in 28 minutes making just three unforced errors along the way.

In the second set there were no breaks of serve so the teams went to a tiebreak. Team World jumped out to an early 5-1 lead after Sock hit a great backhand crosscourt return and ran over to his bench to celebrate. A monster serve from Isner forced a deciding match tiebreak set.

In the tiebreak Team Europe got out to an early lead after a big backhand service return from the 6’6 German was unreturnable.

Sock, again, came up big down 8-6. He hit a beautiful backhand crosscourt shot past Federer to close the gap. After a Federer serve made it 9-7 it was Isner’s turn to steal the show. A big forehand which Zverev chose not to hit thinking it was heading out made it 9-8 and then a monster serve set up a Sock put a way volleys to to even it at 9-9. An Isner ace made it 10-9 and then on the next point a Zeverev backhand sailed long sending the stadium into a frenzy. Sock fell to the ground and Isner jumped for joy like a young kid. It was a great thing to watch something you don’t see in tennis often.

@Sportshorn

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Team World Back in the Laver Cup Heading Into Sunday

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-Chicago, Illinois

Kevin Anderson played some phenomenal tennis and exacted some revenge for his loss to Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon Final.

In a highly entertaining match on Saturday night at the United Center it was Anderson who put two important points on the board with a 7-6 5-7 10-6 win over the No. 3 player in the world.

Anderson came out strong from the start perhaps inspired by playing in front of the Chicago crowd. He attended college here after moving from his home in South Africa.

Anderson had 19 winners in the first set which included some solid play from the baseline. Two of those shots came in the opening set tiebreak. The best of the bunch a brilliant cross court forehand to give him a 6-5 lead. Djokovic then doubled away the set on the next point.

The second set was highly contested as well and included a huge rally in the eighth game won by Djokovic after a crosscourt winner. The only break from either player in the match came in the 11th game when Anderson hit a backhand long one of his 38 unforced errors in the match. Djokovic held a game later to even things up.

In the tiebreak Anderson got out to an early 3-1 but Djokovic came back to go up 4-3. A big crosscourt forehand and a huge serve put Anderson in the drivers seat up 7-5. Two points later, the 6’8, World No. 9 crushed a huge forehand service return which the 14-time Grand Slam champ couldn’t reach. On match point Djokovic hit a forehand into the net giving Anderson the win and seeing Djokovic lose for the first time in singles since the third round in Toronto in early August.

“Right from the beginning I was feeling really good,” said Anderson. “I was serving well, I was staying in points a lot and doing all the things I needed to do against him. I thought all in all it was a really high quality match.”

“I enjoyed it. The atmosphere was electric, said Djokovic. “I got to experience the Laver Cup at it’s best in my singles today. I tried, I gave it my best but Kevin was playing fantastic, playing amazing, serving amazing, just brilliant match, brilliant performance he deserved to win.”

Team Europe closed the gap in the competition even further as Nick Kyrgios and partner Jack Sock got a routine straight sets win over Grigor Dimitrov and David Goffin 6-3, 6-4 in the final match of the night.

So after things weren’t looking so good after two more singles defeats earlier in the day, Team World has closed the gap to 7-5 heading into the final day. On Sunday, starting with doubles, each match win is worth three points so the Laver Cup is fully up for grabs.

@Sportshorn

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Team Europe Takes Commanding 7-1 Lead at Laver Cup

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-Chicago, Illinois

Team Europe has taken a commanding 7-1 lead after the day session matches at the Laver Cup in Chicago. In front of another packed house at the United Center, Alexander Zverev and Roger Federer came away victorious. Zverev coming from a set down to defeat John Isner 3-6, 7-6, 10-7 while Federer easily dispatched Nick Kyrgios 6-3, 6-2 in just 65 minutes.

Team Europe has now won five of the six matches so far at the event and guarantees themselves a lead heading into Sunday’s final day no matter what happens in the two remaining matches this evening. Each of Saturday’s wins was worth two points. The winning team needs 13 to capture the Laver Cup trophy.

Zverev started off slowly going down 3-0 in the first set with Isner playing some knockout tennis. The 6’11 American hit 15 winners including eight aces.

Zverev turned around his play in the second set keeping the ball in the court and forcing a tiebreak. In the breaker, the 6’6 German saved a match point with a huge backhand winner which drew a great reaction from Zverev and his European teammates. Another backhand winner locked up the tiebreak as well.

In the match tiebreak Zverev got ahead 4-0 and 5-2 but Isner fought back to make it interesting with help from his big serve. On match point it was another Zverev backhand winner which sailed past the approaching Isner. The youngest member of the European team dropping to his knees in celebration.

In the second match of the day, Federer played some of his best tennis of the year against Kyrgios on Saturday. His beautiful one-handed backhand was on target throughout, he served reasonably well and he broke his opponent three times. Kyrgios was left dumb-founded and frustrated on several occasions as Federer’s winners were just catching the lines.

There was an entertaining moment in the second set, hard to believe in a match involving Kyrgios. Down a set and 3-1, a Kyrgios serve appear to be called “out” but was quickly changed to “in” with Federer barely getting his racquet on the ball. The chair umpire said they should replay the point which irked both the Australian and Team captain John McEnroe. Both players had their turn criticizing the umpire with the on court microphones picking up the commentary. Kyrgios called the umpire “delusional”, McEnroe in an angry voice yelled “No chance was he going to get that return back” and waved his arms in disgust. Kyrgios went on to lose the game and the match. As Kyrgios said to the press afterwards, the call didn’t impact the match as he was getting beaten quite badly.

“I had a good training week,” said Federer. ” I have been now in the States for almost two months, so I didn’t fight with jet lag, you know, like maybe some of the other guys on my team. I think that all helped. And then I think I had a clear game plan and just had the feeling like I was making a lot of returns against Nick. And from the baseline I was calm, composed, knew when to attack, when to wait. I was moving my feet very well.”

@Sportshorn

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