John Isner vs Jan Lennard Struff US Open Picks 8/29/2019
John Isner vs Jan Lennard Struff
10 am EST, 29th August 2019
New York, NY (USA)
After it seemed that he is going to have a very good season, John Isner had to take a break from tennis. He was sidelined for three months, after suffering a foot injury in Miami, where he lost to Roger Federer in the finals. He was back right in time for the start of Wimbledon, but the lack of match fitness prevented him to get further from the 2nd round. He did win the title in Newport after that, but the entry list there was not that great. American hard court swing was a disaster so far, with a negative record (3-4) and losing to players like Opelka, Paire, Garin and Carreno Busta. That is not something that usually happens to him on North American concrete.
The US Open draw was kind to him. In the first round, he played against aging Spaniard - Guillermo Garcia Lopez. He is 36, well past his prime and currently ranked outside of the top 150. That is why I am not giving Isner too much credit for winning that match. That was an expected outcome. Although, scoring 29 aces in only 3 sets is quite impressive. Combined with holding his opponent to 61% of points won behind his serve, helped him to a comfortable straight-sets win.
The second-round match will not be as easy. He is facing Jan-Lennard Struff, who is having quite a season so far. He reached his career-high by getting to 33rd place in the rankings a couple of weeks ago. We could say he's a late bloomer because he's already 29 years old. Earlier, it was obvious that he has the physical tools and many offensive weapons to become a better player, but he simply couldn't put it all together until now. He plays with more control now and is not too reckless with his power shots anymore.
He had no problems getting through the first round, conceding only 10 games vs Casper Ruud. Once again, his aggressive style of tennis was on display. Winners/unforced errors numbers were very impressive, considering he had 59 winners (alongside 24 UE's) in only 3 sets. He also served up 20 aces and offered a single break opportunity to his opponent.
Isner is dominating this H2H tie with wins in all three of their matches. But the most recent one was in 2016, which makes this H2H record quite irrelevant. That is because Struff is playing on a much higher level this year, comparing to 2016. With both guys having huge serves, it's expected for points to be very short in this match. Whoever can put more returns in play and then be more composed in baseline rallies will be in a better position to win this match.
Betting odds & prediction
Watching both of these guys a lot lately, I believe Struff fits that description better. He had a similar matchup not long ago in Cincinnati vs Ivo Karlovic. Once he got a good read on Croat's serve, he started to return the ball really well, which was the key to winning the match in straight sets. Recipe for the win in this one is the same. But the execution needs to be on points once again.
Isner opened as a -140 favorite, but I am not sure that number is correct. He was simply not playing his best tennis lately and Struff has proven to be a very tricky opponent. This one should be closer to evens, meaning that there is some value with the German player at plus money.
Pick: Jan Lennard Struff +118
Read more articles by Guy Bruhn
Get all of Today's Free Tennis Picks
Get all of Today's Expert Tennis Picks