Atlanta QF previews and picks: Isner vs. Matosevic, Pospisil vs. Sela

Matosevic 2The only all-seeded Atlanta quarterfinal pits John Isner against Marinko Matosevic on Friday. Vasek Pospisil and Dudi Sela are also looking for a spot in the last four.

(1) John Isner vs. (8) Marinko Matosevic

Isner and Matosevic will be going head-to-head for the second time in their careers when they collide in the quarterfinals of the BB&T Atlanta Open on Friday afternoon. Their only previous meeting came earlier this season on the clay courts of Madrid, where Isner prevailed 7-6(9), 6-7(5), 7-5. Such competitive matches are the norm for Isner–especially in Atlanta. In five tournament appearances, the 6’10” American has won all five opening matches in three sets (three 7-5 in the third, one 7-6, and the other 6-4). He saved two match points and beat Robby Ginepri 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-5 on Thursday night to improve to 13-3 lifetime at what is a virtual hometown event for him (and a literal hometown event for Ginerpri).

By comparison, Matosevic had no trouble reaching the last eight. The 52nd-ranked Australian–whom Isner called “a little bit wacky” and “a character”–crushed Victor Estrella Burgos 6-0, 6-2 before getting past Tim Smyczek 6-4, 7-5 in the second round. Matosevic is a decent 18-16 for the year, which includes a recent quarterfinal showing at Queen’s Club. It is obvious that the underdog can be competitive in this matchup, but American hard courts should give Isner the confidence and comfort level necessary to make slightly quicker work of Matosevic this time around.

Pick: Isner in 2 with at least one tiebreaker

Dudi Sela vs. (4) Vasek Pospisil

Sela and Pospisil are at different points in their careers and have much different games, but they at least have something in common heading into their quarterfinal clash in Atlanta on Friday. Both men were in dismal form this spring, in part because neither one enjoys playing on clay. Additionally, Pospisil struggled with a back injury for the first five months of the season. Now, though, they are back on their preferred hard courts and already have plenty of momentum. Pospisil won the Wimbledon doubles title with Jack Sock and reached the semifinals in Bogota. Sela advanced to the Newport quarters and won a match in Bogota before falling to Ivo Karlovic in a high-quality encounter.

It has already been another productive week for Sela, who has torn through Americans Donald Young and Sam Querrey. Pospisil earned a first-round bye as the No. 4 seed then opened on Wednesday with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Illya Marchenko. This will be the second career meeting between Pospisi and Sela. They faced each other in a 2011 Davis Cup World Group Playoffs tie in Israel, where Pospisil survived a five-setter 7-6(4), 6-7(6), 6-1, 6-7(2), 6-3. Sela will have to serve better than he did against Young and Querrey, but his one-handed backhand is clicking and he is more match-tough–at least in singles–than Pospisil is at the moment.

Pick: Sela in 3

1 Comment on Atlanta QF previews and picks: Isner vs. Matosevic, Pospisil vs. Sela

  1. I’ll take Vashy in three. He was only 20 in that 2011 DC tie and this was his first experience in DC with a very hostile Israeli crowd where he won his two singles matches and his doubles match to boot.

    If he can get past Sela, he would have a very winnable semi matchup vs de Bakker or da Becker.

    Hope this is the next step in him getting out of his early year funk.

    Oh, and of course, Isner down south with tiebreaks as his friend.


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