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Todd’s Tennis Takes – Simon vs. Isner Analysis, 4th Rnd

The odds-makers find Simon to be a 4:5 favorite in this match, while I would put the line at 4:7…here’s why. (incidentally, the two have never played each other before…surprising).

First of all, the most basic reason – Simon is the much better all-around player of the two.  The Frenchman is a far better mover and defender, and better equipped for a best of 5 match. He’s a much smoother athlete around the court, explosive in his movements with beautiful footwork. Has won at least two matches at 10 of the last 11 majors he’s played – great consistency – and has 9 career titles while Isner has 3, with both of them 26 yrs old. Simon is also ranked #12, 10 spots higher than Isner. This is a great draw for him to reach his 2nd grand slam QF  (Aussie ’09)…none for Isner yet. 

Recent Performance – Had 13 aces in the 3rd round in beating Del Potro in 4 sets, avenging a Wimby loss to him in the same round just 2 months ago. He beat Tipsy and Ferrer in Cincy before bowing out to Murray in the QFs. And just for kicks, he played the clay at Hamburg shortly after Wimby, and won the event beating Monfils, Youzhny, and then Almagro in the final…not bad. Plays surface to surface with ease, and should have no problem adjusting to wetness, humidity, heat…whatever Mother Nature brings.

Now, Big John Isner

Physically – a huge player, among the biggest ever, and uses his power in his serve and forehand. But he’s far weaker than Simon on the backhand side, and will have difficulty dancing around a tennis court in a best of 5 match. As a raw athlete he’s clearly inferior to the far more explosive Simon…think the complete opposite of a genetic freak like Grant Hill was at a similar size playing for the Pistons in the late ’90s (just think if guys like that start swinging a raquet – scary!). Isner is likely to lose consistency and stamina over the course of the match, as Simon will likely keep him moving whenever possible.

Recent Activity – had a rather easy time handling the far lesser Bogo Jr. in the 3rd. Lost 1st & 2nd rnd at French & Wimby respectively, vs. Simon’s 4th and 3rd. Lost to Stepanek 1st rnd Cincy, Troicki (playing under par lately) 2nd round of Montreal. Did win the Winston-Salem event in N.C. beating Roddick and Benneteau in semis & finals.

Conclusion – While Isner and his serve always present unique challenges to an opponent, Simon is a good enough fast-twitch, supreme hand-eye coordinated athlete to rise to the challenge…I think the first set is a coin flip between the two, but I also believe the odds are 90% that it’ll be either 1-1 or 2-0 Simon after two sets. Simon should have a large mental advantage knowing that at least 2 more more sets have to be played if they sit in their seats tied 1-1 after 2 sets. Simon in 4.


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