U.S. Open R3 previews and predictions: Isner vs. Zverev, Cilic vs. Schwartzman

Suddenly, the expected semifinal matchup in the bottom half of the draw–at least according to seed–is John Isner vs. Marin Cilic. Those two big hitters will be back on the court for Friday’s schedule, with respective matchups against Mischa Zverev and Diego Schwartzman.

(23) Mischa Zverev vs. (10) John Isner

Isner and Zverev will be squaring off for the fifth time in their careers when they clash in the third round of the U.S. Open on Friday. Going up against the Zverev brothers has been a disaster for Isner of late. The 6’10” American is 0-2 in his last two matches against Mischa and 0-3 lifetime against Alexander. As for the overall head-to-head series between the two veterans, however, it stands at an even 2-2. Isner prevailed in 2009 (straight sets in Bangkok) and 2016 (straight sets at the Paris Masters) before Zverev got the job done 6-7(4), 6-7(4), 7-5, 7-6(4), 9-7 at this year’s Australian Open and 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3 on the clay courts of Geneva.

Now, though, Isner has home-court advantage during his favorite time of every season. The world No. 15 has always been at his best on U.S. hard courts and this summer is no exception, with a title in Atlanta, a semifinal run in Cincinnati, and routine victories this week over Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Hyeon Chung. Zverev, meanwhile, has cooled off considerably since his blistering start to the 2017 campaign. This tournament marks just the fourth occasion on which the 27th-ranked German has won multiple matches in the same week since the Aussie Open. And he has twice needed five sets to do so; first against Thai-Son Kwaitkowski and again on Wednesday night against Benoit Paire. A huge edge in current form goes to Isner, for whom these conditions–balls flying through the air but bouncing slow and high–could not be more perfect.

Pick: Isner in 3

(29) Diego Schwartzman vs. (5) Marin Cilic

With No. 2 seed Andy Murray having withdrawn and the younger Zverev brother now out of the event, Cilic is the highest-ranked player in the bottom half of the draw–with Isner second. The 2014 U.S. Open champion had not played since Wimbledon due to an adductor injury, but he appears to be 100 percent in New York. So far this fortnight, Cilic has disposed of Tennys Sandgren and Florian Mayer. The world No. 7 is now 37-14 this season with a runner-up showing at Wimbledon that has him on course for a return trip to the World Tour Finals (currently sixth among players who are not out for the year).

Up next for Cilic on Friday is a second career meeting with Schwartzman, who lost their only previous encounter 6-1, 7-6(7) on clay in the Istanbul semifinals this spring. The 5’7” Argentine is playing the best tennis of his life at the moment, with 26 of his 57 career ATP-level match victories in 2017 and three quarterfinal performances in a row (Bastad, Hamburg, and–much more impressively–Montreal). Schwartzman booked his spot in the last 32 of this tournament by destroying Carlos Berlocq and Janko Tipsarevic in straight sets. The competition level ratchets up dramatically for the 29th seed on Friday, but it does the same for Cilic and Cilic has not faced a difficult opponent since early July. Sound the upset alert.

Pick: Schwartzman in 5

33 Comments on U.S. Open R3 previews and predictions: Isner vs. Zverev, Cilic vs. Schwartzman

  1. I’m going for Cilic in five.
    Schwartzman couldn’t beat him on clay this year,Cilic has played well on all surfaces .

    • I hope so. I feel the winner of his fourth round match with Querrey will probably make the finals. I picked Isner at start of tournament but it’s pretty risky given Querrey’s better success at slams. I really hope Isner breaks the barrier and finally makes a deep run at a slam. This is probably the best chance he will ever have. Let’s go John!!

      • My pick is Querrey to reach the final, he’ll beat whoever in his half of the draw.

        Shapo will probably lose to PCB, PCB is doing some net approaches in his matches and so I feel he has better chances vs Shapo.

        Schwartzman may beat Pouille who isn’t in top form, I think we may see two clay courters making the QFs in the bottom quarter, and two hard hitters in the top quarter of this half of the draw.

    • Cilic was just back from injury, no match play prior to USO, he losing to an in form player like Schwartzman wasn’t surprising.

      I was hoping someone to beat Schwarzman so that Cilic won’t have to meet him, too bad for Cilic.

  2. What a win from Mischa Zverev over Isner!
    Geez I picked the wrong Zverev going deep. That was surprising. I love Mischa!

    Querrey is next for him 😀

  3. Well, I was totally confused about who was playing who, but I was right about two things. Coric is too inconsistent yet to put together a run at a slam, and Schwartzman is tough as! I’m now picking either Diego or Shapovalov to go to the final.

  4. Zverez beating Isner in straight sets at his fav grand slam. How often does that happen?

    Zverez must be on fire and is showing little brother how it is done.

  5. Schwartzman is good and had excellent results past 12 months so no surprise to see him send Cilic packing. Cilic was a broken man after the Wimbledon final and will no doubt require a new season before he starts firing again.

    Isner in 3 lol. just a little bit of bias in that prediction.

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