Roger Federer v John Isner For The Miami Title, Who’s The Pick?
by Staff | March 30th, 2019, 9:13 pm

Somewhat fittingly, the last two players to have won the Miami title in Key Biscayne, John Isner and Roger Federer, will do the honors of facing each other for the first title in the event’s new home at the Hard Rock, which from the reviews and comments, was a well received.

Looking back to the semifinals, the two teen Canadian’s were simply not ready to take that big step. Not yet.

Felix Auger-Aliassime served for both the first and the second sets against Isner but gagged on both occasions, serving three doubles faults in the first and one in the second when he had the match on his racquet. Of course he fell in two breakers.

Still, though, of all the young NextGenner types on the tour, I think he will be the best, and he showed why. Remember, he’s just 18 and for the first time in his life he’s faced Isner and John was smacking aces early, but the kid figured it out and broke John twice in the match. I know he choked a bit in the end, but not many teens in the first meeting with Isner can get a read that quickly on the big man’s serve. And not many veterans can do that either!

I also love his court balance. He always seems to be in the right position to hit the ball, and hit the ball he can, especially off the backhand. He moves well, decent at the net and as the commentators on ESPN said, once he gets his ball toss figured out, his serve will be very dangerous, especially if he grows another inch or two – he’s already 6-foot-4.

And honestly, watching that match against John I thought if he had closed that out that he would have beaten Roger tomorrow. So in saying that, he might grab a Masters title this summer and potentially be a final four type player at the US Open and finish the year Top 10. It’s not crazy talk, folks.

My only concern is the heart issue that we saw at the US Open last year. But if that’s been put in the past, he’s going to be a guy who will win Slams and rank No. 1. He’s already better than the Zverevs, Corics, Tsitsipases, etc, and with a few more years under the belt, I think the top spot will be his.

As for Shapovalov, I don’t see the upside I do with Auger-Aliassime, but despite a disappointing performance against Federer, he’ll be back. He has that streaky flair like a JW Tsonga and I think he just needs to get over that hump, make his first final and get that first title.

But no doubt, the future for Canada is incredible with Auger-Aliassime, Shapovalov and Indian Wells teen winner Bianca Andreescu.

As for the final…

Roger Federer v John Isner
After the disappointing finish to Indian Wells and a missed chance at 101 and No. 28 on the Masters circuit, you just know Federer is not going to want to blow a second chance in a big final against a non-Big 4. And, realistically, this could be his final Miami tournament – he does turn 38 in August and he seems to put a priority on Indian Wells over Miami.

I know Isner’s playing so well. He’s the defending champ, he’s won 11 straight matches and he hasn’t dropped a set. But after an opening set hiccup against Radu Albot, Federer’s been far more dominant – he hasn’t even needed a tiebreaker! – while Isner got a little lucky to get through Roberto Bautista Agut in straights (the Spaniard led in the second set breaker), Kyle Edmund also had an early lead in the first set breaker and then FAA twice served for the match.

Federer’s also won five of seven meetings with John and I think this comes down to break points. With the way Federer’s serving and hitting off the ground, I don’t see how Isner gets many, if any, break opportunities. Whereas, I do see Federer slicing and dicing his way to a couple here and there, and then converting. And he’s one of the rare players who actually doesn’t mind facing the big bomber servebots. Or so he says.

“I don’t mind it,” Federer said of playing big men like Isner. “I enjoy the challenge, because believe it or not, maybe rallies are actually longer than you think sometimes.”

But he added he doesn’t have a good read on John’s serve. Or, again, so he says.

“No. 1, you want to connect,” Federer said of how to handle a serve like Isner’s. “Secondly you want to get in a neutral position, which is very difficult, because you know he’s looking for his forehand or he looks to come in or try to take charge of the point.

“Then you just hope that sort of the stars align, that you pick the right side, that he picks the wrong side, that maybe he misses a serve, that you can put him in uncomfortable situations time and time again, and at the end somehow you find a way.

“He’s definitely got one of the serves you can basically not read. It’s that simple.”

I remember how will Federer had a read on Andy Roddick’s serve and I think while Isner’s is different, he’ll get enough slice returns back to trouble John and come out on top without the need of a single tiebreak.

Of course if you are Isner, you want to pound the serve, go for broke on the return and hope to keep the momentum in breakers.
The Pick: Federer in 2

With the way the season is going, just anything is possible these days. So, yeah, Isner could get that serve pumping and streamroll Roger.

ESPN2 has the match at 1pm.

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34 Comments for Roger Federer v John Isner For The Miami Title, Who’s The Pick?

FedExpress Says:

FAA overestimated and overhyped atm. Let the kid grow.

FedExpress Says:

As far as the final goes:

Fed has to make it count. His finals records in Masters is about 50%. Not that good. Lost far too many IW finals in the last 5 years. Another final loss and all the confidence will vanish especially losing to a player he is supposed to win.

skeezer Says:

It’s surprising Roddick was mentioned here. Seems like a long long long time ago. But Fed is still here competing. Awesome.

j-kath Says:

It’s also amazing that the finalists are two of the most mature current players e.g. John will be 35 this month and Roger 38 in August. Good luck to both stalwarts.

Madmax Says:


Federer in another final. The kiss of death from Sean. FedExpress’ usual doom and gloom.

Amazing to get to another final Fed, just do your best to fire back those balls from Isner. He should never be underestimated. Should be a great final.

Federer in 3.

Let’s go Maestro!

FedExpress Says:

3rd BP for Federer

Come on convert one.

FedExpress Says:

Break Federer.

Should be the set tbh.

FedExpress Says:

Federer with the perfect start. He stamped his intent from the get go

Daniel Says:

Best start he could get, breaking. Keep the lead and close the set. Avid tiebreak at all costs.

Daniel Says:

Federer’s return really are killing opposition this tourney, impecable.

jatin Says:

Fed has broken isner 2 times already. Amazing stuff

jatin Says:

VINTAGE federer is on the party right now

jatin Says:

This is why he is considered the best in returning these big guys huge serve. That BLOCK return is working awesome today.

FedExpress Says:

What a set by Fed. Masterclass. What a returning performance.

No mental lapses in the 2nd like in the IW final. Stay focused.

rajesh Says:

Amazing display of tennis by fed

rajesh Says:

Great stuff by fed

FedExpress Says:

Would have traded one of the three breaks in the 1st set for a break in the 2nd set.

FedExpress Says:

Man serve was long and the FH was also long by Isner

Why not challenge Fed and you are 15-30? And the linesmen are that blind

FedExpress Says:

Isner coming to the party in the 2nd set it seem.

jatin Says:

Yes, Isner playing great now.

FedExpress Says:

Smart by Isner to disrupt Feds flow.


FedExpress Says:

It seems like a serious injury.

skeezer Says:

Sorry Big John, tough way to finish. Don’t think he was going to win that one anyway. Fed was on point.
Congrats Fed, on song through the whole tourney…101!

FedExpress Says:

Living legend

jatin Says:

Great performance by federer. Sadly an unfortunate end, Isner seemed to twist his ankle during a rally.

Another Masters in the bag for Fed.
3 Finals, 2 Title. What a year so far. Looks very promising for Madrid masters in Clay.

Daniel Says:

Apart from 1st match Federer was amazing this tourney. Had Thiem not reached that extra gear in IW he could have another sunshine double today.

3 straight finals and 2 titles and finally winning a Masters again is great. Now get some 4-5 weeks rest after this last 11 matches in 22 days before Madrid and his clay comeback.

jatin Says:

Fed wins madrid for the first time when it moved to red clay. He won it again when it moved to Blue clay and now he won Miami when it moved to hard rock. He is so good in adjusting his game in any circumstances.
As FedExpress said, LIVING LEGEND.

Daniel Says:

At one point I though Fed wouldn’t reach 109 titles. But if he ends this year with 104-105, it would be almost a certainty till 2021.

He will be favorite should he keep this level for all grass (Stut, Halle and Wimby), Cincy and Basel, at least. Wimby is exactly just 3 months away and with no long clay break he should be in even better form than last 2 years. Nadal still recovering from injury, and one that came pretty close to clay seasons and Djoko in minor la la land hiccup.

Current ATC race leader and back to #4 pretty ahead of Thiem. a Decent clay season should place him in top 4

Madmax Says:

Yayyyyyy!!!!!!!!! – Skeezer and Jatin, true fed fans, through thick and thin, we stand strong.

Listen to Isner:

He pays tribute to his opponent: “Roger, we’re so lucky to have you and we want you to keep playing and literally never retire”.

We are living in incredible times. Federer leads the way.

Well done Champ. We salute you!

Madmax Says:


Yes. For sure. I do think that 109 seems more believable now, but seriously, even 100 is just wow in this era of tennis.

Am sure that Federer will have his eye on this, despite his seemingly relaxed attitude to tennis and life in general.

Proud to be a Fed fan.

Madmax Says:


Let’s add to this, and Jatin, look at this:

Singles: 30 (20 titles, 10 runner-ups) Federer has won the most Grand Slam tournaments of any male player (20). He has reached the most finals (30), semifinals (43), and quarterfinals (53), and has participated at the most tournaments (75).

I know it has been repeated over and over, but it really is god damn unbelievable from this guy.

Madmax Says:

28 – Masters – is this right?

Singles: 50 (28 titles, 22 runner-ups)

Federer has reached the most masters finals (50) and the second-most semifinals (66). He is one of seven men to win at least seven different titles and is one of four to reach each final.

Madmax Says:

29 now – after Rafa 33, Novak 32.


chrisford1 Says:

Federer will be off for a month, but Djokovic, Thiem, and most important of all, Nadal will be back on clay shortly.

Nadal and Djokovic are question marks. No one is confident how either will perform. For Djokovic, I know many are saying his mysterious personal problems are his own business. But bettors, as well as a faction of his fans want to know what is up and they have a right to be curious because the last round of “personal problems” dinged Djokovic as someone starting to show “headcase issues” that cost him 2 years off his career – and they don’t want a second bout costing him another 2 years.

Wogboy has mentioned his wife as a possible culprit, and brother Marko as another.
If true, I hope both can see that both, or the other if only one has personal neediness and issues they expect Novak to fix, is distracting and sabotaging Djoko and can knock it off. At least until after the French Open. Maybe Marian Vajda can straighten Djokovic’s head out in time for him to be ready to play his best at the French Open and get another Grand Slam.

Nadal’s ‘health’ has miraculously improved in certain years in the past once clay season starts. Maybe this year, too.
Thiem might have scheduled right this year. We shall see.
And I don’t expect Andy to be a factor, but if he wants to play Wimbledon, rehab on clay beforehand is a lot easier than rehab on treacherous grass courts.

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