ATP Indian Wells Second Round Preview: John Isner - Andreas Seppi

John Isner kicks off his quest for the 2016 BNP Paribas Open against, the Italian, Andreas Seppi on Stadium 2.

Prior Matches

John Isner and Andreas Seppi will play their fourth match against one another. The American leads the series 2-1, with both of his wins coming in grand slam first rounds.

Their first meeting was at the Australian Open in 2010. Isner prevailed in the end of that match in 5-sets under the Australian sun, 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 5-7, 6-4. The former Georgia Bulldog, Isner, fired 34 aces compared to his opponent’s 10. Isner also hit half of the amount of double faults than the double faults off of Seppi’s racquet. Surprisingly, a set tiebreak was not played in this match. Each player broke their opponent three times. The match came down to the wire, but the errors were too much from Seppi as the Bolzano, Italy native made double the amount of errors than his big-serving opponent.

Their second career meeting came two years later in the Italian’s home country at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Rome. Once again, their match was forced to a deciding set. The Italian took the match 2-6, 7-6(5), 7-5. The North Carolina native out served Andreas Seppi in their match-up. A combined 150 points were won on serve throughout the match. John Isner edged the former world number 18 in break points won and total points won but it came down to who could pull out the points late in the match.

Their most recent clash was last year in the first round of Roland Garros. The former world number 9 won in a straight forward 7-5, 6-2, 6-3 victory. Isner, yet again, dominated on serve with 21 aces and was without a double fault. He nearly doubled the Italian’s winners and won almost 30 more points. The match went in the favor of the American in every aspect, as he wrapped it up in style.

Andreas Seppi’s First Round

Andreas Seppi defeated American Donald Young in his first round encounter. The 32-year-old out served and returned his 26-year-old opponent. Seppi was saved 13 out of the 17 break points he faced. Despite being broken four times in the match, the world number 42 topped Young by breaking six times. The first two sets went mostly in the way of the servers, but the third set took an interesting turn. The world number 75, Donald Young only managed to hold serve once in five service games in the decisive set. The Italian won 15 more points than his opponent and wrapped the match up after 2 hours and 20 minutes on court.

Andreas Seppi sets up for a backhand/Photo: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images Europe
Andreas Seppi sets up for a backhand/Photo: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images Europe

The Matchup

Since their last meeting was on a slow surface and John Isner was still able to dominate on serve, you would think that the match would be all in the favor of Isner. The world number 11 had a three-match losing streak until his two recent wins in USA’s Davis Cup tie against Australia. The match will not strictly be on the racquet of Isner, with his serve always anticipated to make or break the outcome of this match. The Italian has the ability to precisely place his ground strokes and manoeuver his opponent off the court then close out the point either at net or with a penetrating ground stroke, preferably his forehand.

Both players lead their nations to win their Davis Cup ties last weekend. The pair of players each has a huge serve and powerful forehand. They will both use the same tactical play of a forceful, well-placed serve then hit to the open court. This match should be expected to consist of quick hard-hitting points.

Keys To The Match

John Isner essentially needs to strive for a first serve percentage around 65%. The American must play smart on the break points and mix up his serve placement to not allow his Italian opponent to predict his serve.

Andreas Seppi needs to extend the points longer than 10 shots, considering he can move around the court better than John Isner. If he can lengthen rallies and win more than half of his second serve points, the number 9 seed might be given a run for his money by Seppi.

Prediction: Isner in straight sets.