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John Isner v Henri Laaksonen ATP Houston tennis predictions, betting tips & live stream: Isner to extend win streak in Houston opener

Andrew Hendrie 12 Apr 2018
  • John Isner vs Henri Laaksonen is live from Houston at 6.00pm local time on Thursday (12.00am BST, Friday)
  • Isner won their only previous clash in Davis Cup in four sets last year
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Houston at Unibet > live streaming > tennis
John Isner (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Miami Masters champion John Isner targets an eighth straight win as he opens his U.S. Men’s Clay Court Tennis Championship campaign on Thursday night against Henri Laaksonen.

Watch and bet on Isner vs Laaksonen live from Houston online at Unibet > live streaming > tennis. Their second round clash begins at 6.00pm local time on Thursday (12.00am BST, Friday).

Top seed John Isner begins his quest for a second U.S. Men’s Clay Court Tennis Championship title in Houston on Thursday night against Switzerland’s Henri Laaksonen. After a slow start to the season, Isner is riding a massive wave of momentum at the moment, fresh from collecting his first ATP Masters 1000 title in Miami and helping USA into the Davis Cup semi-finals with a win over Belgium in Nashville last weekend. Playing in Houston for the 11th straight year, Isner starts against World No. 143 Laaksonen, who’s only ATP main draw win for the season came in the Houston first round earlier this week. Isner and Laaksonen take to court not before 6.00pm local time on Thursday (12.00am BST, Friday).

I’m not sure what the catalyst has been, but the sleeping giant randomly woke up inside John Isner last month as he surged from out of nowhere to win his first ATP Masters 1000 title in Miami, taking down the likes of World No. 3 Marin Cilic, Australian Open semi-finalist and rising star Hyeon Chung, Acapulco and Indian Wells winner Juan Martin del Potro and World No. 5 Alexander Zverev, losing just one set combined on his stunning run to the silverware. Isner’s deep run at a Masters 1000 wasn’t surprising in itself (he had made three previous finals and three semi-finals last year, but it was the manner in which he suddenly roared to life, with the American winning just ONE ATP match before arriving in Miami.

But, at the end of the day, Isner’s always going to be a streaky and flashy player - and he’s said it himself before, he can either win or lose against anyone depending on a few points here and there.

Back into the top 10 at a career-high No. 9 after his Miami triumph, Isner is now targeting a continuation of his great form into the clay court season, where some have even earmarked him as the leading contender to trouble the King of Clay, Rafael Nadal over the next couple of months. That may seem ridiculous, but at the same time it’s not as farfetched as it sounds (if Isner can maintain his current high level), with the 32-year-old famously stretching the 10-time Roland Garros champion to five sets in the first round back in 2011.

After picking up two ATP 250 titles on home soil in Newport and Atalanta last year, Isner now targets more glory in Houston, where he won the title in 2013 (beating then top 20 players Juan Monaco and Nicolas Almagro) and finished runner-up in 2012, defeating No. 15 Feliciano Lopez before going down to Monaco in the final.

Henri Laaksonen (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Henri Laaksonen is one of those players that is trying to make that next leap to the ATP World Tour after playing the majority of his career on the Futures and Challenger circuit, and despite cracking the top 100 for the first time last season, he’s being going in the opposite direction over the first quarter of 2018, falling to No. 143 in the world after losing his first four matches of the season, while he only won his first ATP match of the season in his 6-4 6-3 opening round Houston victory over Dustin Brown.

Laaksonen hit his career-high ranking of No. 93 after a career-best season in 2017, reaching his first ATP quarter-final on the clay of Bastad before making his first semi-final towards the end of the season in Shenzhen, losing a tight three-set battle to eventual champion David Goffin. Laaksonen also advanced to the semi-finals of five Challenger events as he broke into the top 100 for the first time, but he’s dropped a lot of points after losing in the opening round of the Playford and Newport Beach Challengers at the start of 2018.

The 26-year-old didn’t bring any sort of form into Houston either, losing in the opening round of qualifying at the Indian Wells and Miami Masters, while he also went down in the second round of the Drummondville Challenger to Jared Hiltzik. Laaksonen is making his debut in the Houston main draw this week, with his only other visit to the tournament resulting in a first round qualifying defeat in 2016.

Isner and Laaksonen have played once before, with the American winning a close four-set match in the Davis Cup World Group first round last year on hardcourts. Isner has played at least one tiebreak in his last seven matches in Houston, and a quick transition from hardcourts to clay could see him in another tight battle again. Laaksonen has the benefit of already playing a match in Houston and has pushed the Miami champion before. Given the nature of Isner’s game, I won’t rule out Laaksonen taking a set or even pulling off an upset, but you’ve got to back home the in-form American to advance to the quarter-finals.


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John Isner v Henri Laaksonen ATP Houston tennis predictions, betting tips & live stream: Isner to extend win streak in Houston opener

Miami Masters champion John Isner targets an eighth straight win as he opens his U.S. Men’s Clay Court Tennis Championship campaign on Thursday night against Henri Laaksonen.

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