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Isner vs Opelka ATP Atlanta live streaming, preview and tips - Isner starts quest for sixth Atlanta Open title

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 24 Jul 2019
  • John Isner vs Reilly Opelka is live from Atlanta at 7.00pm local time on Wednesday (12.00am BST)
  • Opelka has won their last two meetings
  • Their last seven sets have been decided by tiebreaks
John Isner (PA Images)

John Isner begins his bid for a sixth BB&T Atlanta Open title on Wednesday when he takes on fellow giant and countryman Reilly Opelka in the second round.

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Fresh off winning his first title of the season in Newport last week, John Isner starts his quest for an extraordinary sixth Atlanta Open title on Wednesday against Reilly Opelka.

Isner has an intimidating 31-4 record in Atlanta, winning the title in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018, while he also finished runner-up to Nick Kyrgios in 2016 and Mardy Fish in 2011. The only time Isner has failed to reach the final at the ATP 250 tournament was back in 2012, when he went down to Andy Roddick in three sets in the semi-finals. The big-serving American is currently on an eight-match winning streak in Atlanta, but it is important to note he’s only beaten one top 40 players during that run.

Isner is playing just his third tournament since breaking his left foot during the Miami Masters final in March against Roger Federer. The 34-year-old bravely fought on to finish that match, but he didn’t play another tournament for almost three months, missing the entire clay swing and returning at Wimbledon, where he toppled Casper Ruud in the opening round before going down in five sets to Mikhail Kukushkin. However, it didn’t take long for Isner to return to the champions corner, with the American winning his fourth Newport title last week - although he was stretched to three sets by Kamil Majchrzak, Matt Ebden and Ugo Humbert before beating Alexander Bublik in straight sets in the final.

The aforementioned foot injury hasn’t allowed Isner the chance to back-up his career-best 2018 season and consolidate his spot in the top 10, where in addition to making his first Grand Slam semi-final at Wimbledon, he also captured the first Masters 1000 title of his career in Miami, captured that fifth Atlanta Open crown, made the U.S. Open quarter-finals, Madrid Masters quarter-finals and fourth round of the French Open - results that propelled him into the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals for the first time and a year-end ranking of No. 10. Isner has slid down to No. 14 in the world coming into Atlanta and probably won’t break back into the top 10 this season after stating he was likely to shut down his season after the U.S. Open in September.

Meanwhile, Reilly Opelka is looking to continue a tremendous season in which he’s shot up the rankings to a current mark of No. 57 after starting the year outside the top 100. The 21-year-old has actually defeated Isner in their last two meetings at the Australian Open and New York Open earlier this season and he set up another clash with his more experienced countryman in Atlanta after downing Alexander Bublik in straight sets in the opening round, producing a clinical second set tiebreak to prevail 6-3, 7-6(1). However, despite his good record against Isner, Opelka says he shouldn’t be counted as the favourite at this tournament.

"This one probably a little more favoured for John, just because he's won it so many times," Opelka said. "Obviously I'm the underdog again playing him, and there's a good chance there are going to be a lot of tie-breaks."

As mentioned, it’s been a superb season for Opelka, who is threatening to put together a career similar to that of Isner if he continues to improve. He won his maiden ATP World Tour title at the New York Open in February and scored a big win at Wimbledon recently, taking out Stan Wawrinka as he made the third round of a slam for the first time, ultimately going down to Milos Raonic. Currently four spots off his career-high ranking, Opelka will be targeting a big summer on his home hardcourts and will be keen to accumulate as many points as possible in order to soften the load of defending all the points he won towards the end of 2018, where he won 18 of his last 22 matches on the Challenger Tour, winning two titles in Champaign and Knoxville and finishing runner-up in Chicago and Cary.

Isner won their first clash in Atlanta back in 2016, but Opelka has won their last two meetings, with their last seven sets going to tiebreaks. It’s highly probably two or three tiebreaks will be involved again on Wednesday in Atlanta, but as Opelka stated, Isner’s phenomenal record at the tournament means he is the very slight favourite to emerge victorious and avoid a first ever loss before the semi-finals at this event.

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Isner vs Opelka ATP Atlanta live streaming, preview and tips - Isner starts quest for sixth Atlanta Open title

John Isner begins his bid for a sixth BB&T Atlanta Open title on Wednesday when he takes on fellow giant and countryman Reilly Opelka in the second round.

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