It’s an all-American clash in the Abierto Mexicano Telcel semi-finals on Friday as fifth seed John Isner takes on Taylor Fritz.
?? John Isner  vs ?? Taylor Fritz Match Info
Date: Friday February 28
Tournament: ATP Acapulco SF
Time: 6.00pm local time (12.00am GMT)
John Isner vs Taylor Fritz Head-to-Head
Isner leads 2-1
2019 | Auckland R16 | Fritz 7-6(3) 7-6(5)
2017 | Wimbledon R128 | Isner 6-4 7-6(3) 6-3
2016 | Atlanta QF | Isner 7-5 6-4
John Isner vs Taylor Fritz Match Preview
One American is guaranteed a chance to play for the ATP 500 Acapulco title – but will it be big-serving Isner or rising young gun Fritz?
After losing in the opening round in his first four visits to Acapulco, Isner has now reached back-to-back semi-finals in the coastal Mexican city. The 34-year-old went out to eventual champion Nick Kyrgios in a deciding set tiebreak in last year’s semi-finals and has returned to the final four 12 months later for the lost of just one set, defeating Mischa Zverev and Marcos Giron in straights before overcoming the in-form Tommy Paul in three on Thursday. Isner has fired a total of 72 aces across his first three matches and knows he will have to serve impeccably once again to make it past his countryman in the semis.
”I’m expecting a really good match. Taylor is confident every time he takes the court,” Isner said. “He’s an absolute gamer and I respect the heck out of him. He straps on his shoes and goes to battle.”
An owner of 15 ATP titles, including the 2018 Miami Masters, Isner has been one of the most consistent players in tennis over the last decade. Indeed, the giant American is one of just three men (the others being Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic) to have ended each of the last 10 years inside the top 20 with 30+ wins in all of those seasons.
Isner’s career-best season came in 2018 when he won the aforementioned Miami crown and reached his first major semi-final at Wimbledon, rising to a career-high No. 8 in the world as a result. Isner returned to the Miami final last season, but unfortunately he was struck down by injury in the final against Roger Federer and never really recaptured his best tennis for the rest of the year, ending 2019 at No. 19 in the world.
Injuries have again played a part in Isner’s start to 2020 – he was forced to retire at the Australian Open in the third round against Stan Wawrinka and was eliminated in the opening round of New York two weeks ago against Jordan Thompson. However, it appears as if Isner has regained his fitness in Acapulco, and with that booming serve, he’s going to be a strong chance against anyone he plays. Can he make his first final of the year on Friday?
Not if Fritz has any say in the matter. The 22-year-old wasn’t in great form after a solid third round run at the Australian Open (lost to Dominic Thiem), losing to Mitchell Krueger in the R16 of the Newport Beach Challenger and to Cameron Norrie in the opening round of Delray Beach last week, but he’s found some of his best tennis this week in Acapulco, overcoming John Millman in three sets in the opening round before registering impressive 6-4 6-1 and 6-4 6-3 victories over Ugo Humbert and Kyle Edmund respectively, ending the Brit’s seven-match winning streak in the latter.
After first bursting onto the scene in 2016 when he became the youngest ATP finalist since 2008 in Memphis, Fritz has taken a while to establish himself on the tour, but he certainly had his career-best season in 2019, winning his maiden ATP title in Eastbourne to become the youngest American since Andy Roddick in 2004 to crack the top 25. Fritz also finished runner-up in Los Cabos and Atlanta during an excellent two-month period, but he failed to win back-to-back matches in his last 12 tournaments of the season, putting a slight dampener on what was still a solid season. Currently operating at No. 35 in the world, Fritz will enjoy a nice rankings boost by virtue of his work in Acapulco this week – can he reach his first 500-level final?
John Isner vs Taylor Fritz Prediction
As is the case with most Isner matches, this is a tough one to call. The elder American hasn’t really played anyone that can challenge him this week – apart from Paul, who managed to take a set. Fritz has taken out three excellent players and has looked to be in the better form for me coming into this clash. But, form can go out the wind when Isner is firing aces past you every game. It’s a 50-50 contest, but I’ll back Fritz to find a way to edge it.