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John Isner vs Gilles Muller ATP Atlanta Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Isner looks to maintain phenomenal Atlanta record

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 29 Jul 2017
  • John Isner vs Gilles Muller is live from Atlanta on Saturday, 29 July from 3:00pm local time/ 8:00pm BST
  • Isner leads the head-to-head 3-2, but Muller has won the last two meetings
  • Two of Isner's three victories have been in Atlanta.

John Isner and Gilles Muller meet in a big-serving semi-final at the BB&T Atlanta Open on Saturday.

Isner has an absolutely phenomenal record in Atlanta, reaching the final in six of the last seven years, and claiming three successive titles between 2013 and 2015. Apart from his excellent record in Atlanta, Isner also has form on his side, as he goes into Saturday’s semi-final on a six-match winning streak, having captured his first title in almost two years last week in Newport.

However, despite Isner’s records, an Atlanta semi-final against Gilles Muller is far from a straight forward affair, as the Luxembourger has compiled a pretty good season, highlighted by two titles and a superb run to the quarter finals at Wimbledon, featuring a stunning win over the great Rafael Nadal.

Which of these two big servers will advance to Sunday’s final?

Isner did not enjoy the best start to the season- a 6-5 record on hard courts did not do justice the abilities he possesses on that surface. The big American picked up wins here and there, but not once did he string together consecutive victories in the opening three months of 2017.

However, he got an unlikely break on the clay of Rome, scoring four superb wins over Albert-Ramos Vinolas, Florian Mayer, Stan Wawrinka and Marin Cilic to reach an unlikely semi-final at the Masters 1000 event. He went on to make the third round at Roland Garros in what was a refreshingly good period on clay for the big man. The feeling was that that run should launch a fine grass court season, but Isner again struggled to get going on the quicker surface, winning just two matches between Queen’s, Nottingham and Wimbledon- his Wimbledon campaign ended with a five-set loss to Dudi Sela in the second round.

He eventually put together a run on grass with a title in Newport, not the stage he would have liked, but they all count, and the big man will hope that ushers in a more consistent second half of the season. He’s backed that up with two wins in Atlanta- a traditional strong hold for the giant American. He took out Vasek Pospisil in the opening round, before beating Lukas Lacko in Friday’s quarter finals.

“I think most importantly, I’m at home in the United States and playing on my favorite surface. It’s one of the reasons I do well,” said Isner. “I don’t want to jinx it, but I’ve always played well here. I love this tournament and have fortunately been healthy enough to keep coming back here."

While Isner struggled at the start of the season, there were no such problems for Muller, who claimed his first career title in Sydney in just his second tournament of the year. Muller stayed steady, not brilliant, for the rest of the hard court season, while he sneaked in an unlikely clay-court final in Estoril.

However, it was on grass that the 34-year-old really came into his own, serving and volleying his way to a second title of the season in s-Hertogenbosch- a run featuring victories over Alexander Zverev and Ivo Karlovic, and reaching the semi-finals at Queen’s, where he cut down Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Sam Querrey before falling to Marin Cilic in the last four.

That set him up for a brilliant run at Wimbledon. Muller defeated Marton Fucsovics, Lukas Rosol and Aljaz Bedene at the All England Club, but nothing got anywhere near his epic five set win over Nadal in the fourth round. Nadal had looked destined to complete a fine comeback when he recovered a two-set deficit, but Muller refused to panic, and stayed with the great Spaniard in an extended final set. It was Nadal who cracked eventually as Muller went on to secure a stunning victory, and a first ever appearance in a Grand Slam quarter final. His tournament was eventually brought to an end by Cilic.

He’s kept up that good form in Atlanta, where he has advanced to his fifth semi-final of the season. After surviving a three-setter against Frenchman, Quentin Halys, Muller was bang in form in the quarter finals against American youngster, Tommy Paul, sending down 16 aces in a 6-3 6-1 dispatch.

Muller and Isner have met on five previous occasions, with Isner shading the head-to-head 3-2. There are arguments for both players- Muller has won the last two meetings, but Isner two of Isner’s three wins were in Atlanta. While the outcome may be a bit blurry, it almost certain that there will be a few tie breaks between two of the most formidable servers on the tour. In fact, nine of the 14 sets they have played have been decided by tie breaks!

With very little to separate the players, Isner’s superb record in Atlanta, and the fact that he has beaten Muller twice at this venue tilts this semi-final in the American’s favour.

John Isner vs Gilles Muller is live from Atlanta on Saturday, 29 July from 3:00pm local time/ 8:00pm BST

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John Isner vs Gilles Muller ATP Atlanta Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Isner looks to maintain phenomenal Atlanta record

John Isner and Gilles Muller meet in the Atlanta semi-finals on Saturday. Will Isner keep up his stunning record in Atlanta? Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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