Acapulco R1 previews and predictions: Isner vs. Johnson, Mannarino vs. Fritz

An all-American showdown between familiar foes John Isner and Steve Johnson will help get things started on Day 1 in Acapulco. Monday’s first-round schedule also includes a meeting between Adrian Mannarino and Taylor Fritz.

(8) John Isner vs. Steve Johnson

Isner snuck into the final seeded spot at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel when Milos Raonic withdrew on Sunday, but it hardly means the 6’10” American has a good draw. He will go up against Johnson on Monday in what will be their eighth career encounter, with Isner leading the head-to-head series 4-3. Not too surprisingly, especially given that Isner is involved, their last three contests have ended in tiebreakers (two in final-set ‘breakers) and tiebreakers have been required for exactly half (nine of 18) of their total sets–including in four of the last six. Johnson is 2-0 in their last two contests and has prevailed via hardly shocking scores: 7-6(7), 7-6(15) at the 2016 Washington, D.C. event and 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(3) earlier this season in Auckland.

Isner’s recent struggles in pressure-packed moments, during which he thrived earlier in his career, are a big reason why he is down at No. 22 in the world and no longer the top-ranked American (Jack Sock is 18th). The former University of Georgia standout is a mediocre 4-3 this year and coming off a Memphis quarterfinal loss to Donald Young (8-6 in the third-set tiebreaker). Johnson already boasts one semifinal performance in 2017 (Auckland) and two other quarterfinal finishes, so he should be feeling good about his game. Isner’s inability to win crucial points when returning serve will in all likelihood prove to be his undoing once again.

Pick: Johnson in 3

Adrian Mannarino vs. (Q) Taylor Fritz

Fritz was playing the best tennis of his life at this time last year. He kicked off 2016 with a Challenger title, successful qualification at the Australian Open, a runner-up finish in Memphis, and a quarterfinal appearance at this Acapulco tournament as a qualifier. The 19th-ranked American is no longer at that level, slumping to No. 136 in the world, but he is back in the Acapulco main draw thanks to wins over Konstantin Kravchuk and Jordan Thompson.

Up next for Fritz on Monday is a second career meeting with Mannarino, who won their only previous showdown 6-3, 6-2 last summer on the grass courts of Nottingham. Grass, however, is far more advantageous to Mannarino than it is to Fritz and the 65th-ranked Frenchman is also off to a disastrous start this season. He fell to 0-5 with an awful 6-3, 6-0 loss to Kyle Edmund this past week in Delray Beach. Fritz obviously feels comfortable in Acapulco and he should be able to extend Mannarino’s woes.

Pick: Fritz in 2

28 Comments on Acapulco R1 previews and predictions: Isner vs. Johnson, Mannarino vs. Fritz

  1. Urgh!!!!I should picked Johnson over Isner..i already read someone said that Johnson win their last 2 meetings but my kneecap thinking still picked Isner!!..and ruined my Acapulco bracket!!Argh!!stressed!!

      • Yeah rc baby!!…don’t ya know that we’re a twin in the past life!!he he…
        Btw…i’m disapointed it’s just 3 of us in there…Welshwitch seems not interested to make a pick in Acapulco…oh well…

        • Yeah and Nny is missing. It takes me 5 minutes to pick a bracket like Dubai and Acapulco. I know them. Even Sao Paulo was easy to pick. Of course easy to pick doesn’t mean I get it right!

          Kuala Lumper and Acapulco WTA will likely be crazy. Too many I don’t know in KL. With Indian Wells just ahead, I didnt’ want to pick Svitolina deep. I want her to get on a plane and get to California! Same with Lucic-Baroni in Acapulco. She did so well at AO that she’s not been playing much so my guess is that she’s targeting the big tournaments…not 280’s. But I could be wrong because she likes playing in Acapulco.

          I was feeling Puig 😀 We’ll soon see if my feeling was fantasy. But I remember her loving Acapulco — that was my fueling the pick. Could be a disaster!

          • rc…i picked Mladenovic as the winner and Mirjana goes as far as the final…don’t know whether this a wise or crazy picked!he he…but u choose Puig!yeah,we’ll see who’s wrong who’s right or both wrong in the end!!he he..

      • MA
        You only picked Isner for 2 rounds, so no problem. There’s 3 picks in the first round we have different. All the ones that matter are identical picks: yours and mine. SF’s and Final. We sink or swim together.

        • Yeah rc,i’m glad i have a sense and not picked isner all the way to the final…otherwise i’m sure i’m doomed!Btw..do watch Acapulco now?And u still didn’t answer my question up there about Amit..

          • lol, where do you mention Amit? sorry…I miss a lot of posts here. Sometimes my brain isn’t working lately.

            Yep, I’m watching Fritz v Mannarino. I picked Fritz – even though Fritz had a tough final in the qualies yesterday.

            • Up there rc,,that’s alright i just want to ask u is it okay i invited him to join our group?he’s a very cool guy rc…
              Btw…Fritz won 1 set..and my kneecap thinking once again did a good job by picked mannarino over Fritz!!Urgh!!I think when we do the picking,in the bracket it should tell us the qualy names then we know their reputation and form..insteadit’s only wrote QUALIFIER..so,we just picked in random…

            • Oh please do! Invite Amit. Invite all you want! It’s not a private bracket. There’s a setting to make it private but I kept it open for the purpose of building up the competition ? kpuppy and manwerty know what’s going on. Both ATP and WTA.

            • Oh…here’s a hint: many times, I’d say most times, the qualies don’t get placed in the bracket in time or while I’m awake. I do a check of Oddsportal, Flashscore, and Tennis Abstract – even the WTA and ATP sites have the qualies placed on the draw before the bracket challenges do.

              But if all that fails there’s many times an order they follow (by number) on the qualie draw sheet. Dubai didn’t not have the qualies placed or follow the order of placement. I expected Istomin to play Youzhny (if they follow the order). But they have Donskoy there! The reason I picked the qualifier over Colonel Youzhny,(whose tennis I adore), is because I expected him to have Isotmin. Sheesh…Youzhny over Donskoy, dur…

  2. rc…Donskoy?I thought i saw Istomin name yesterday?When i saw his name[and i already picked Youzhny at that time]..i thought..”oh!so the qualy is Istomin,if i know earlier,i maybe picked him instead of Youzhny”…

    • Well we are awake and different times of day…at some point they swapped out Istomin for Donskoy for whatever reason. They have Youzhny v Donskoy and Haase v Istomin — which is opposite of where their placement should go, if they went by number. This definitely benefits the Federer. Youzhny over Donskoy, then Federer easy over Youzhny. Istomin was moved down to Haase, where I didn’t expect him to be.

      It happens all the time = me guessing the qualifiers are placement in the main draw before they are placed. System worked fine in Kuala Lumpur and Acapulco.

  3. Mannarino. the fittest, has won the second set. Taylor Fritz was on the ropes, bending over in pain — I think he needed to win in 2; or he’d be losing in 3 – after slogging through qualifying.

    Taylor will be going back to California…I don’t remember if he got into the main draw IW or is in qualies for IW.

      • Medical timeout for something while I was having a snack. Taylor needs a rest. Get on the plane and go home, Taylor! The other qualifier I picked was Kozlov (because I like how he fights). I confess, I do not know Escobedo.

      • Mannarino was the sensible pick, MA. I tend to pick Taylor because it’s Taylor. Mannarino in 3 was the pick 😉

  4. This was a tough one because they are both on equal terms. Fritz has talent, but is a little bitch. Mannarino has good ball handle, but is a lazy shit. So, they are in a sense even. It’s really tough to call with such similar losers.

  5. Fritz snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. He had no business losing that match. He just played sloppy at important moments and let the crumbling Mannarino back in. Bad loss for the teen.

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