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Isner has had quite the perplexing season so far. Early on in the year, Isner overcame then World No.1 Novak Djokovic at Palm Springs, and then registered a spirited win over Roger Federer in his own backyard in the Davis Cup. As we approached the European clay season, Isner was the man to watch, but he fell completely flat and disappointed at both Roland Garros and Wimbledon.
It doesn't help that he has points to defend (reached his first major quarterfinals last year, bowing out to Andy Murray) but if Isner can find that spark and level he had to beat Djokovic in March, he should easily make the second week and just might push a top seed in the later rounds.
Something that could help Isner build on that huge serve, is volleying. His volleying is remarkably weak, and for a guy as tall as him, serving and volleying would benefit him to a big extent (ask Ivo Karlovic).
His opponent today is 42nd ranked Finn Jarkko Nieminen. He started the year as the 77th ranked player in the world and has worked really hard to get where he is now. The Left-hander is himself a very talented player and was once ranked as high as 13 in the World. He now faces a stiff task in stopping the World No.4. His win-loss record after his first round victory is at 19-21.
In their head-to-head series Isner leads the Finn three matches to none and is the overwhelming favorite to progress into the next round.
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