Isner, Harrison aiming for Atlanta repeat


Here are our predictions for the BB&T Atlanta Open semifinals:

John Isner vs. Matthew Ebden

It’s nearly impossible to go against Isner in Atlanta. The former Univ. of Georgia Bulldog has waltzed his way to the semis in each of his nine trips to Atlanta and took home four oblong bronze trophies in 2013-2015 and 2017. He’s 3-1 over Australian Ebden, with the only loss coming in this year’s Australian Open first round. So, the Wimbledon semifinalist has something to prove today.

The 30-year-old Ebden has seen his ranking peak earlier this month at No. 43. Besides Isner, he’s taken down Sam Querrey, Gilles Simon and Frances Tiafoe on hard courts this year. He has had a decent record in the Georgia capital.

But, that won’t help him much against the big Isner serve and what amounts to a home crowd. Isner in straight sets.

Ryan Harrison vs. Cameron Norrie

The ever-perplexing Harrison comes into the tournament ranked No. 53, having hit his best ever a year ago at No. 40. Over the past 18 months he has won one tournament – 2017 Memphis – and reached the final last year here in Atlanta and in ’18 Brisbane. Considering this run of success, the fact that he has only produced top results at 250 tournaments has slowed his progress. He has won only three Grand Slam matches this year and went without a victory in Indian Wells and Miami. He’s only 26 but the question remains: Will he ever break into the Top 20?

Norrie may not have Harrison’s pedigree but he is on the way up. A year ago he was No. 275; now he’s at a career high of No. 73. The Brit (but with long-time New Zealand roots) has 2018 wins over Isner and Robin Haase … along with Harrison’s younger brother, Christian. His left-handed game can give Ryan some issues but Harrison has experience here.

Harrison had to dig deep to overcome Hyeon Chung in the quarters. Figure Harrison will have to fight again and we see him winning in three sets.

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