John Isner vs. Filip Krajinovic
In most of the previews of Bercy, including mine, Isner wasn’t even mentioned in the list of players trying to qualify for the ATP Finals in London. For good reason: even when the season-ending injuries to Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka, Andy Murray and Nick Kyrgios were factored in, the American was still 16th in the race. But 1,000 points will take you very far, very fast, and if Isner can win the tournament and collect the 1,000 that go to the champion, the 32-year-old will find himself as the season-ending championships for the first time next week.
That possibility looked remote just a few days ago, and it looked remote for long stretches of his grueling three-set wins over Diego Schwartzman, Grigor Dimitrov and Juan Martin del Potro (highlights below). But Isner, serving as well and competing as (bull)doggedly as ever, has survived them all. Now he’ll be a solid favorite against 77th-ranked Serbian Filip Krajinovic, whose road to the semis—Yuichi Sugita, Sam Querrey, Nicolas Mahut and a walkover win over Rafael Nadal—has to be one of the least-imposing in Masters history. Isner won their only meeting, at a Challenger in Lubbock, Texas, in 2008. That’s a long way from the semis in Paris. Winner: Isner