Alexander Zverev vs John Isner ATP Madrid tennis preview, predictions and tips: Zverev and Isner clash in Miami rematch for Madrid semi-final spot

Andrew Hendrie in ATP 11 May 2018
  • Alexander Zverev vs John Isner is live from Madrid at 9.30pm local time on Friday (8.30pm BST)
  • Zverev has won three of their four previous meetings, but Isner prevailed in their last clash in the Miami final
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Madrid at bet365 > live streaming > tennis (geo restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)
Alexander Zverev (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

A rematch of the Miami Masters final awaits on Friday night at the Madrid Masters as Alexander Zverev and John Isner clash for a spot in the semi-finals.

Watch and bet on Zverev vs Isner live from Madrid at bet365 > live streaming > tennis (geo restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify). Their semi-final clash begins at 9.30pm local time on Friday (8.30pm BST).

Alexander Zverev and John Isner have played four times before, and on all four occasions it’s been inside the Masters 1000 battleground, and Friday night at the Caja Magica marks the fifth time the two players will square off as the pair face off for a place in the Madrid Masters semi-finals. Zverev has won three of the four meetings between the pair, but Isner won the big dance, completing a sensational and out-of-nowhere Masters 1000 title triumph in Miami earlier this season. Both players have maintained a high level since that match after both were struggling significantly before the second Masters 1000 event of 2018 - who takes this match and continues their fine form into another Masters semi-final? Zverev and Isner take to court at 9.30pm local time on Friday (8.30pm BST).

On a six-match winning streak and prevailing in nine of his last 10 matches, Zverev has certainly hit his straps in 2018 after a tough start to the season, and the young German is positioning himself nicely for a potential shot at most likely Rafael Nadal in the Madrid Masters final. As he did 12 months ago, Zverev arrived in the Spanish capital with the Munich title under his belt, conquering compatriot Philipp Kohlschreiber in the final, and he’s replicated his exploits in Madrid from last season, advancing to the quarter-finals for the second straight year.

Last year, Zverev didn’t have the luxury of a bye in the opening round as he came into Madrid ranked 19 in the world, but a lot has changed since then, and 12 months later the 21-year-old is ranked No. 3 in the world and the second seed at the tournament behind the all-conquering Nadal. Zverev defeated Fernando Verdasco, Marin Cilic and Tomas Berdych last season on his way to the quarter-finals, and I think it’s safe to say he’s had an easier times of things this time around, toppling qualifier Evgeny Donskoy and Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer in straight sets to reach the last eight.

Zverev took his game to another level after departing Madrid in 2017, winning his first two ATP Masters 1000 titles in Rome (beat Djokovic in the final) and Montreal (beat Federer for the trophy), while he also picked up the ATP 500 crown in Washington D.C., finished runner-up at the ATP 500 Gerry Weber Open in Halle and the semi-finals of the China Open in Beijing to qualify for the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals in London for the first time - a quite extraordinary feat considering he could also have played the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan for the best players of the season aged 21 and under.


Only turning 21 last month, Zverev experienced a tough end to 2017 and a challenging start to 2018 as he began to feel the weight of expectation on his shoulders, while another early exit at a Grand Slam - this time a third elimination at the hands of Hyeon Chung at the Australian Open - certainly didn’t help his cause. Zverev went on to lose in the second round of Rotterdam to Andreas Seppi and the opening round of Indian Wells to Joao Sousa, but he has been in great form ever since, winning 14 of his last 16 matches in reaching the Miami Masters final, Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters semi-finals and defending his BMW Open title in Munich.

John Isner (Photo credit should read OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP/Getty Images)
If Zverev was in poor form before Miami, I don’t know what you’d call John Isner’s level of tennis before arriving in Key Biscayne. The American had won just ONE ATP match before randomly coming to life at the Miami Masters, coming out of nowhere to win his first Masters 1000 title with victories over second seed Marin Cilic, Australian Open semi-finalist Hyeon Chung, Acapulco and Indian Wells champion Juan Martin del Potro and then No. 5 Zverev, losing just one set combined (to Zverev in the final) on a stunning run to the silverware.

Back into the top 10 at a career-high ranking of No. 9 as a result of his Miami magic, Isner is now looking to continue his superb form into the European clay-court season - and so far, the towering American is doing a great job of it. Some sections of the media have earmarked Isner as THE main man to have a chance of beating Rafael Nadal on clay, and while that seems ridiculous on face value, it’s arguably not that farfetched. Nadal is brushing aside anyone with ease at the moment, but Isner’s booming serve presents a far different challenge for the Spaniard, and he’s troubled Nadal before on the dirt, famously stretching the 10-time Roland Garros champion to five sets in the first round of the French Open in 2011.

But, there’s still a lot of work to do for Isner ahead of a potential meeting with Nadal. After skipping Madrid the last two seasons, Isner has made the quarter-finals in the Spanish capital for the second straight time, matching his efforts from 2015 when he beat Nick Kyrgios before falling to Tomas Berdych. Unsurprisingly, all five sets Isner has played this week have been decided in tiebreaks, with the seventh seed overcoming Davis Cup teammate Ryan Harrison 7-6(1) 7-6(7) in his first match before edging last year’s Madrid semi-finalist Pablo Cuevas by a 6-7(9) 7-6(3) 7-6(4) scoreline to advance into the last eight.

As mentioned, this will be the fifth clash between the pair, with all four previous matches coming at Masters 1000 level. Zverev won their first three encounters in Shanghai (2016), Miami (2017) and Rome (2017), while Isner took home the big one in Miami earlier this season. Their last three meetings have gone the distance, and there’s a great chance this one will as well. As is the case with any match involving Isner, it’s pretty much a lottery as to who prevails. Zverev is looking in fine form, but it doesn’t really matter when you play with absolutely no rhythm against a focused Isner. Considering he’s the big underdog, I think Isner represents great value for the win on Friday night.



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Alexander Zverev vs John Isner ATP Madrid tennis preview, predictions and tips: Zverev and Isner clash in Miami rematch for Madrid semi-final spot

A rematch of the Miami Masters final awaits on Friday night at the Madrid Masters as Alexander Zverev and John Isner clash for a spot in the semi-finals.

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