Viktor Troicki and John Isner will square off on Thursday afternoon (European time) in the third round at the ATP Masters event in Shanghai.
Troicki had a very poor year for his standards, dropping out of the Top 50 and having long stretches of disappointing play and consecutive losses. However, the Serbian seems to have found some rhythm lately, reaching the 3rd round at the US Open and the QF’s at St Petersburg, but his most impressive displays came this week in Shanghai. Troicki played arguably his best tennis of the year to defeat Shapovalov (6-7 6-3 6-0) and Thiem (6-3 3-6 7-6).
Isner has played very well since Wimbledon, particularly on the American hard courts before US Open, winning in Atlanta and reaching the semifinals at Cincinnati. He was disappointing at Flushing Meadows, losing in the third round, but came back at a high level last week in Beijing – where he reached the QF’s, playing a good match against Nadal there (4-6 6-7). But this week Isner hasn`t been impressive in his two matches in Shanghai, struggling big time against mediocre opponents like Lajovic (4-6 7-6 7-6) and Tsitsipas (7-6 7-6).Bet on Troicki v Isner and get your 100% (100 Eur) welcome bonus @ Ohmbet now!
Troicki leads the H2H 4-3 (2-2 on hard courts) and seems to know how to play against Isner. Big John hasn`t had a single easy win against Troicki in all the H2H meetings. Even last time they met, a couple of months ago at Cincinnati, when Troicki was playing absolutely dreadful, Isner had a tough win (7-6 6-4). As such, a matchup analysis might suggest Troicki has an edge here.
Isner is a justifiable favorite based on the long term form of these two players, but fact is that this week Troicki played the better tennis. The Serbian showed a high level of play, while Isner struggled. The American couldn`t win a single set otherwise than via a tiebreak, and that was against average opposition. He could have lost both of his matches, particularly against Tsitsipas, who had 5 break points compared to Isner’s zero.
Not only is Troicki in good form here in Shanghai, but the wins he achieved have also been great confidence builders – maybe the thing he needed the most. Coming back from behind against Shapovalov and edging Thiem in a third set tiebreak have surely helped with morale, and Troicki should be focused and confident coming into this clash.
If Isner doesn`t raise his level of play, chances are he will lose this match, especially as Troicki seems to like playing against him. But even if Big John improves, this has the makings of a difficult match for him. It`s no surprise that bets on Troicki are currently seeing the odds dropping.
My tip will be Troicki to cover the +2,5 game handicap. The +2,5 is definitely a great safety net on this fast Shanghai surface, especially considering Isner has not made a single break of serve (!!) in this tournament, and won all of his sets 7-6. If you can find the +3 (available at about 10 bookies), that would be even better. Prediction: Viktor Troicki – John Isner 6-7 6-4 7-6.