Alexander Zverev – John Isner

American John Isner and German ace Alexander Zverev will contest the final of the 2018 Miami Open on Sunday, as the pair go head-to-head in their first final of the season. John Isner will be looking to become the first American since Andy Roddick in 2010 to win this title on home soil, while Zverev will be looking to become only the fifth player to win a third Masters title since 2009. These two had both made a slow start to the season before this week, but they’ve both looked back to somewhere near their best in reaching this final. The pair are also enjoying their best runs here, with Isner improving on his semi-final run in 2015 while Zverev reached the quarter-finals here twelve months ago. Zverev and Isner met here twelve months ago in what turned out to be an absolute belter of a contest, if we can get half the match we did then we should be in for a fantastic final. Who will be crowned champion in Miami?

World number five Alexander Zverev put a disappointing performance in Indian Wells behind him this week as he moved into a first final of 2018. The German has seriously underperformed so far this season with his best run before this week being a semi-final in Mexico. Nonetheless, Zverev has bounced back in the best possible way to reach his first final here. The twenty-year-old has had to battle through some tough matches to reach this final, none more so than his opening match against Daniil Medvedev. The Russian took Zverev all the way to a tiebreak in the final set of their contest, but Zverev’s experience showed as he scraped through. Zverev then had to come from a set down to see off Spaniard David Ferrer in the next round, before seeing off the dangerous Nick Kyrgios in straight-sets. Zverev then battled past Borna Coric and Spaniard Pablo Carreno-Busta, both in straight-sets, to reach Sunday’s final. Zverev looks to have rediscovered some of his best tennis this week, but can he go on to claim a first title of 2018?

John Isner has played some of his best tennis this week and he’ll be hoping to have one more big performance in him. While Isner was beaten in his opening match in single’s competition last week in Indian Wells, the big serving American claimed the doubles title alongside Jack Sock. That triumph gave Isner momentum coming here this week, and he’s delivered up until this point. Isner has dropped only one set in reaching this final, despite seeing off a string off high-profile players along the way. Isner began with a three-set win over Jiri Vesely, before seeing off Mikhail Youzhny in the next round. The American then dispatched the number two seed Marin Cilic in straight-sets, before dismantling Next Gen champ Hyeon Chung in the quarter-finals. The Indian Wells champion and inform Juan Martin del Potro was Isner’s semi-final opponent, and despite the odds being stacked against him Isner managed to bring an end to the Argentine’s fifteen-match win-streak and reach a first Miami open final. Can Isner go on and claim a maiden Masters title on Sunday?

Alexander Zverev is going for a third Masters title in Sunday’s final, after claiming his first two last season. The German ace claimed back-to-back Masters titles at the Italian and Canadian Opens, where he defeated Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, respectively, in those finals. John Isner, meanwhile, has lost all three of his previous Masters finals. The American has been beaten in the finals of the Cincinnati Masters, Paris Masters and Indian Wells Masters throughout his career. Zverev comes into this final with a 2-0 record in Masters finals, while Isner has an unfortunate 0-3 record in Masters finals. Will Zverev’s experience of winning one of these titles be enough to see him crowned champion, or can Isner finally win his first?

This is set to be the fourth meeting between these two, with Zverev having dominated their past encounters. The German has won all three of their previous meetings, all of which have come in Masters events. The most recent of those meetings was their semi-final at last season’s Italian Open, a match Zverev came through in three-sets on his way to claiming the title. These two also met here twelve months, as Zverev came from a set down to beat the American in an epic with all three sets going to a tiebreak, but it was Zverev who did enough to just squeeze through. Isner is yet to beat Zverev in his career, but can he do it here and claim the Miami Masters title in the process?

Alexander Zverev 2-1

Alexander Zverev is the better player out of the two, and that should be enough to see the German claim a third Masters title. These two have only met three times in the past, but on two of those occasions the matches were extremely tight and so I can’t see either running away with it. Neither came into this tournament in any real form, with Isner having won only one singles match all season before this week, and so this might be viewed as a surprise final to most. They’ve both played at a similar level to one another all week and I think we’ll be in for an extremely close final, with both player’s winning a set. However, when it comes down to the crunch moments in the match I think Zverev will be the one with that little bit extra and so I think he edges this one by a 2-1 score line.

Total Games – Over 25.5

If past meetings are anything to go by then we should be in for a final with close sets of tennis. In the eight previous sets of tennis played between these two there have been four tiebreaks, which suggests both players will be strong on serve. I see three close sets of tennis in an enthralling Miami Open final.

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