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The Pick: Dominic Thiem vs. John Isner, ATP Madrid quarterfinals
Despite hitting 61 aces in wins over Roberto Bautista Agut and Andrey Rublev, Isner is listed as a +260 underdog against the third-seeded Thiem in Friday's showdown at the Masters 1000 event.
Published May 06, 2021
It seems Dominic Thiem didn’t miss much of a beat during his nearly two months away from tennis, as the Austrian kicked off his Madrid campaign with straight-set wins over Marcos Giron and Alex de Minaur. Thiem will now face off against the upset-minded John Isner, who took down Andrey Rublev, 7-6 (4), 3-6, 7-6 (4) on Thursday.
There were murmurs in the tennis betting world about the altitude of Madrid being perfect for Isner’s serve, and it appears they were correct. In his last two matches, the American has hammered 61 total aces and faced just three break points.
"I've always served well here. The conditions for my serve are fantastic," the 36-year-old said following his win over Rublev.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Austrian is listed as a -360 favorite and projected to win by three total games. In any other scenario on clay, Thiem would be the right play, but Isner’s serve has been unstoppable this week. Also, both of Thiem’s victories came against players who despise the dirt. Prior to the tournament, both Giron and De Minaur combined to win just four ATP clay-court matches in their careers.
The aces speak for themselves, but Isner’s forehand has been on point as well. Here, he controls a heavy defensive forehand to Rublev’s backhand corner, then runs around to strike a beautiful inside-in winner.
It’s great to see Thiem having fun on the court again, but his depth of shot has been lacking this week. Here, he hits four consecutive shots around the service line.
You can do several things against Isner, but repeatedly offering short and high bouncing forehands is not one of them. Look for Thiem to work the angles and get the big man on the move.
If he doesn’t, theres a decent chance Isner pulls off his third consecutive upset. Thiem is still the second best clay-court player in the world, but Isner—serving like this as a +260 underdog— is too good to pass up on this occasion.
The Pick: John Isner