Montreal R1 previews and predictions: Isner vs. Del Potro, Pouille vs. Donaldson

A marquee first-round matchup at the Masters 1000 event in Montreal pits John Isner against Juan Martin Del Potro on Monday. Lucas Pouille and Jared Donaldson are also kicking off their campaigns.

Juan Martin Del Potro vs. (14) John Isner

Isner and Del Potro will be squaring off for the eighth time in their careers when they clash in round one of the Rogers Cup on Monday. Del Potro is leading the head-to-head series 5-2, including 3-1 on outdoor hard courts (all in the United States). Isner, however, has taken two of their last three encounters–in a three-set thriller at the 2013 Cincinnati Masters and via a 7-6(2), 6-4 decision on the grass of Queen’s Club in 2016. The two big hitters most recently faced each other last fall in Stockholm, where Del Potro got the job done 6-4, 7-6(6).

This is Isner’s favorite time of year and his North American summer is certainly off to a smashing start. The 6’10” American wrapped up the grass-court swing with a title in Newport and he extended his winning streak to eight matches by winning the BB&T Atlanta Open for the fourth time in his career. Del Potro has once again taken some time off, to the extent that his two most recent tournaments were slams. The 32nd-ranked Argentine fell to Andy Murray in the French Open third round and suffered a disappointing second-round loss at Wimbledon to Ernests Gulbis. Isner skipped Washington, D.C. to gear up for Montreal and Cincinnati, so he should have enough in the tank to take advantage of a rusty opponent.

Pick: Isner in 3

(13) Lucas Pouille vs. Jared Donaldson

Pouille could really use some momentum as he prepares to defend quarterfinal points at the upcoming U.S. Open. The 17th-ranked Frenchman is 25-14 this season with two titles, but not counting those two triumphs (Budapest and Stuttgart), he is 4-7 in his last 11 matches dating back to Monte-Carlo. Pouille is coming off an opening loss in Washington, D.C. to Tommy Paul.

Up first for Pouille on Monday is another up-and-coming American in Donaldson, whom he has never faced. The 20-year-old has earned more than half of his career ATP-level match victories in 2017 (12 of 23) and he recently advanced to the Washington, D.C. third round. Donaldson enjoyed an outstanding Rogers Cup last summer, qualifying for the main draw and adding two more wins before succumbing to Milos Raonic. That will only increase Donaldson’s confidence as he heads into a big opportunity against a struggling Pouille.

Pick: Donaldson in 3

8 Comments on Montreal R1 previews and predictions: Isner vs. Del Potro, Pouille vs. Donaldson

  1. I’m concerned about the injury to Isner that prevented him from competing in Washington Citi bank tournament. Isner appears to be the better player right now, but the odds tell a different story. It should be a good match with Isner up to the task. Only time will tell if Isner has a bad knee?

  2. The Big dawg in 3, and Dson over a lack-luster Pouilee (I loved the guy last year….but wheels have come off this year)

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