Yesterday we spoke about the importance of knowing when to fade a player after riding said player to multiple consecutive victories. We got a little lucky last night with Brandon Nakashima surviving three match points at 4-5 in the third against Jordan Thompson, but were nonetheless victorious, as the teenager and his superior ground-game was able to get the job done.

When a specific player wins you money all week long, all kinds of biases come into play. It’s imperative to treat each match as a completely new occurrence to avoid the typically inevitable loss. I believe that time has come, and Nakashima’s trip to Los Cabos will come to an end at the hands of John Isner's merciless serve.

The extremely heavy, high-bouncing and gritty conditions have proven to be a paradise of sorts for Isner, who I believe will win his 16th career title on Saturday. It’s an ATP 250 on hard courts, after all, where Isner has won nine of his 15 titles.

His hair may be turning a bit gray towards the home stretch of his career, but on such a high-bouncing surface, there is absolutely no answer for Isner’s serve. The American dominated Alex Bolt on Friday, winning 6-3, 6-4, in just over an hour. Bolt is by no means a great returner, but the fact that Isner won a higher percentage of points on his second serve (82) compared to his first serve (79), speaks volumes about the effectiveness of his kicker.


This ace, one of 21 total for Isner, was not a first serve. 

Nakashima owns an excellent return, especially on his backhand, but at 6’1”, Isner’s serve will bounce out of his strike zone.

When opponents are unable to pressure Isner’s serve, his groundstrokes free up, allowing him to hit routine forehand winners, like this. 


If you can afford to lay the juice, just play Isner at -160 on the moneyline. If you are feeling dangerous, like me, play Isner to win by 1.5 total games at +130. Plus money for a 7-6, 7-6, victory for Isner doesn’t happen very often, so enjoy it while you can. It’s Nakashima’s first ATP semifinal, so he’s bound to feel a few butterflies, in addition to some possible fatigue following his two-hour and 49 minute Thursday night victory.

The Pick: John Isner -1.5