Match Preview Zverev vs Isner 01.04 Miami Open 2018

Miami, USA, Hard Courts, ATP

Latest posts by Tennis Purist (see all)

Well yesterday’s Women’s Final went pretty much as we expected it to, with Sloane Stephen’s consistency winning through against the erratic Jelena Ostapenko. We didn’t see 3 sets which surprised me, but what we did see is a whole host of breaks of serve, in fact 12 in total and 8 in the first set alone! This was exactly as we predicted in our pre-match preview yesterday, so I hope you all won plenty of cash from that one.

It’s the turn of the men today as Alexander Zverev takes on the big serving American, John Isner.

Previous Meetings

Zverev leads the head to head 3-0, and has won both meetings today on hard courts, including here at the Miami Open last year (Isner did squander a match point in the second set though). 

Neither player has dropped a set in their last 3 matches, and both have been serving superbly. I expect this one to be very tight and don’t expect many breaks or points against the serve.

Zverev’s Miami Open Tournament Mean Serving Stats

Won 70% of his service points

Held serve 86% of the time

Zverev’s first serve % is now up at 79% for the tournament, and he is serving magnificently, hitting plenty of aces and winning a ton of free points behind his first serve. Isner is not the best returner, so expect the German to hold with relative ease today if he can keeps these numbers anywhere near this level.

Isner’s Miami Open Tournament Mean Serving Stats

Won 74% of his service points

Held serve 94% of the time

Isner has the best serve in the men’s game in my opinion. It is practically impossible to read, let alone return. If he can keep his first serve % high (84% for the tournament) then he should get to at least a tiebreak in all sets.

Zverev’s Miami Open Tournament Mean Return Stats

Won 40% of his return points

Won 44% of his break points

Opponents have held 76% of the time against him

Zverev’s return numbers are pretty good, he’ll need to increase that break points won % though, as he will get very few (if any) chances to break Isner today. He will also need to go after any second serve that he gets an opportunity with, as I believe this is his only real chance of breaking the American’s serve.

Isner’s Miami Open Tournament Mean Return Stats

Won 37% of his return points

Won 42% of his break points

Opponents have held 80% of the time against him

Isner’s return numbers have actually been very high for him this fortnight, and he’ll need to increase these %’s further if he is to look to break the Zverev serve today. He will also need to jump on any second serves he gets a look at in order to have a chance of breaking.

Zverev’s Groundstrokes

Zverev is an aggressive baseliner, he hits the ball hard and pretty flat off the backhand side, and with a bit more topspin on the forehand. He certainly favours his double handed backhand wing, as the forehand can be inconsistent and pulled into the net at times. He will look to dictate the points and find the Isner backhand as much as possible, the American does tend to hit his backhand mainly cross-court, so this will be heading right into the German’s strength, this could well be an important facet to today’s match.

Isner’s Groundstrokes

Isner has a bomb of a forehand, he actually hit a 117mph forehand during his win over Del Potro in the Semi Finals. His backhand is very pushy though, and with little on it he relies on hitting it deep and rushing into the net. He will look to run around it as much as possible and get that huge forehand into play. Expect to see him at the net a fair bit today, as he looks to put pressure on Zverev and end the points quickly.


I think this is a coin flip, i am struggling to work out which way this one is going to go, again i expect to see three sets and at least one tiebreak. Don’t expect many long rallies and expect plenty of holds of serve with ease. Maybe not one for the purists this, but intriguing none the less.

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