Paris R3 previews and picks: Djokovic vs. Isner, Federer vs. Kohlschreiber

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer will be looking for berths in the Paris quarterfinals when they take the court on Thursday. They are set for respective meetings with John Isner and Philipp Kohlschreiber.

John Isner vs. (2) Novak Djokovic

Isner and Djokovic will be squaring off for the sixth time in their careers when they do battle in the third round of the BNP Paribas Masters on Thursday afternoon. Djokovic leads the head-to-head series, but the overall margin is just 3-2 and they have split their four previous hard-court meetings at two wins apiece. They most recently clashed in the quarterfinals of this summer’s Cincinnati Masters, where Isner scored a stunning 7-6(5), 3-6, 7-5 upset en route to a  runner-up finish.

Not surprisingly, both of Isner’s victories over Djokovic have come in the United States (the other in the 2012 Indian Wells semis). On foreign soil, though, the 6’10” American is a completely different player. He is 9-12 outside of the USA this season compared to 30-12 at home. Isner beat Michal Przysiezny 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-3 on Wednesday while Djokovic advanced on Tuesday night with a 7-6(3), 6-3 defeat of French wild card Pierre-Hugues Herbert. Djokovic is 63-9 this year and a perfect 13-0 since the U.S. Open with titles in Beijing and Shanghai. The setting will not help Isner and neither will the fact that he played both a three-set singles match and doubles on Wednesday.

Pick: Djokovic in 2 with no tiebreakers



(5) Roger Federer vs. Philipp Kohlschreiber

Kohlschreiber will get his eighth career shot at Federer when they face each other again on Thursday. Like the Djokovic-Isner showdown, this is another rematch of a Cincinnati meeting this summer. Federer won that second-round tilt 6-3, 7-6(7) to improve to 7-0 lifetime versus Kohlschreiber–including 2-0 on hard courts. The sixth-ranked Swiss is 15-1 in total sets against the German.

Following an extended spring and summer slump, Federer is showing signs of life this fall with a runner-up finish in Basel (lost to Juan Martin Del Potro in three sets) and a straight-set dismissal of Kevin Anderson on Wednesday night. At the same time, Kohlschreiber is also playing relatively well. Before a series of bad early-round draws this fall, the world No. 23 reached the fourth round of the U.S. Open and extended Rafael Nadal to four sets. Kohlschreiber beat Tommy Haas last week in the Valencia first round and crushed Haas 6-2, 6-2 on Wednesday after getting past Andreas Seppi in his Paris opener. The underdog may steal a set for the second time, but Federer is back in form and can play loose having officially secured a spot in the World Tour Finals.

Pick: Federer in 3

38 Comments on Paris R3 previews and picks: Djokovic vs. Isner, Federer vs. Kohlschreiber

  1. I like Joker in 2, but at least one tb, and I feel pretty confident about Fed in straight as well. Glad that he is officially in London.

  2. Fed most likely in 3…no way he is focused enough to win this in 2…Nole OTOH is wining this in 2…no TB I would say, unless Isner has some hidden agenda that we don’t know of…Isner does not strike me as someone who can trouble Nole to take him to a TB…in fact, this will be an easy match for Nole…

    • Isner took Rafa to a TB so why not Nole? Their h2h is 2:3. Isner has beaten Nole twice but never Rafa in 4 tries.

    • At first I read natashao’s entry as ‘Isner seems rather drooping in form…….’ and giggled because that is exactly how he looks at the moment. Do wish he would take some lessons in positive body language.

  3. Don’t tell me Novak mangled another overhead smash:

    RT @SI_BTBaseline: “Can someone (anyone?) explain the Novak Djokovic overhead?”

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