Mind you, Isner has not been spared the baptism of fire – he got a complete schooling from five-time champion Novak Djokovic and just felt that he wished he could have given the crowd a little more to cheer about.
We will see thumping serves a-plenty – both can deliver serves solidly coming down on top of them, and in particular Cilic can make his second serve effective with a lot of topspin. Both are fond of a serve and forehand combination like a one-two punch, and while both have worked on their movement, we are not likely to be seeing them scampering about at the net with any kind of agility.
Cilic can send things back flat and hard, which Alexander Zverev reckoned made the court reaction fast, but more topspin can wick the pace away and make the ball bounce up. Isner has a tendency to maybe rely more on the general consistency of his serve, but perhaps Cilic has a little more completeness to his game.
However, with the last Davis Cup as we know (and love) it looming for Cilic, you have to wonder whether that will start to play on his mind. He has shown he can strike first and his record against Isner has been sold and varied with a smattering of straight sets and three setters.
Experience may count for a little more here this time for the Croatian, and it might even result in his first ‘live’ win.
Prediction: Cilic in three sets.
Cilic & Isner are scheduled not before 8pm.
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