The Pick: Kei Nishikori vs. John Isner. Can Isner take down the rising No 5 Kei

Isner IW 15 TR MALT1765

MIAMI, APRIL 2

Maybe John Isner has come to life again. On Tuesday, he was almost gone against Milos Raonic in the second set in the tiebreak and even though he was mad, he maintained composed and grabbed it. In the final tiebreak in the third set, he didn’t shake his head or be depressed and kept on chugging, playing more forceful on the baseline.

Running and racing on the ground, Kei Nishikori is much faster than Isner is, so the American has to keep the points quickly. Nishikori isn’t as good as the Big 4 when it comes to the returns, he has improved a large amount in the last year and a half, so Isner has to fool him with his first and second serves.

Clearly, Isner has one of the biggest serves out there and it is very hard to break him, but the Japan can poke the balls back and get ready to rally. He will yank the balls side to side that the 6-foot-10 will be gasping for air.

Nishikori can smoke his forehand and backhand, he has developed a larger first serve that he can move it around, and he can also rush to the net and put away some hard passing shots.

Isner can blast his forehand and here and there, he can hit the lines off his backhand. He only does it occasionally, but on some nights he takes a risk.

Yes, Isner can put away his volleys but he has to be on the net because if he has to bend low he is usually in trouble.

Since last year and most of this year, Nishikori was much more courageous and believes that he could topple the Big 4, as well as the rest of the top 10. He has not yet to win a Slam, but he came close to reach the 2014 US Open final, even though he was tired and looked a little scared in front of the bright lights.

But on Miami, he spent years of training and he knows exactly how to play. Isner will serve and make the match close, but in the end, Kei will break early in the third set and hold on.

 

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