In the round of 16 at the 2014 French Open, John Isner and Tomas Berdych will battle it out. This will be the seventh time the two have ever faced one another, and Berdych leads the series, 4-2.
This is the furthest Isner has ever gotten in the French Open, as he just beat Tommy Robredo in four sets. As usual, Isner has needed a tiebreak in seven of his nine sets that he’s won in this tournament, but he’s played only 11 sets in his first three matches, which should help him with fatigue in this match. While the powerful serve and hard hitting is still there, Isner looks a lot more comfortable approaching the net in this tournament and is making his opponents extremely uncomfortable.
Berdych is also somebody who hasn’t had great success in the French Open, reaching the fourth round or further just three times in 11 tries. Berdych really hasn’t been tested much in his first three matches, needing 11 sets and only being pushed to a tiebreaker three times. His most recent win came against Roberto Bautista-Agut, a match that Berdych won with ease. Like Isner, Berdych has an extremely hard serve and is one of the hardest hitters in the tournament. His forehand and sheer power is downright scary.
Berdych has won the last two matches against Isner in straight sets and even beat him in the 2010 French Open, a matchup that was quite lopsided. However, both of these players are nearly identical, as they’re two tall, lengthy players who take pride in holding serve and doing just enough to win. That really makes this matchup a coin flip and it will be decided on which player can get the rare break here and there.
This is going to be a long, hard fought battle that may go the distance. Isner has improved the most out of the two players, and I think he can get the best of Berdych this time around. Isner has by far more experience in tiebreakers and he’s a lot more comfortable approaching the net than he was a year or two ago.
It won’t be easy but for the plus money we’re likely going to get, the value is in the American to advance.