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10sBalls News – Ricky’s tennis pick for the Newport semifinal between Isner and Cressy

Maxime Cressy faces John Isner in an all-American semifinal at Newport. EPA-EFE/JOEL CARRETT

By Ricky Dimon

John Isner and Maxime Cressy will be going head-to-head for the second time in their careers when they collide in the Hall of Fame Open semifinals on Saturday.

Their only previous encounter came early this season at the Australian Open and it transpired exactly how you might expect for an Isner-Cressy matchup: five sets and three tiebreakers. In the end, it was Cressy who prevailed 7-6(2), 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-7(4), 6-4.

Unsurprisingly, tiebreakers have also been the norm for Isner this week. The four-time Newport champion defeated Peter Gojowyczk 6-3, 7-6(6) and then held off Benjamin Bonzi 7-6(2), 6-7(6), 7-6(5) on Thursday.

Cressy also benefited from an opening bye before beating Mitchell Krueger in easy straight sets and Steve Johnson in three. The world No. 41 will climb into U.S. Open seeding position if he wins this match, and it’s exactly what he deserves for his breakout 2022 campaign. Cressy has already reached a pair of 250 finals, falling to Rafael Nadal in Melbourne and to Taylor Fritz on the grass courts of Eastbourne.

“He’s coming into his own for sure right now,” Isner praised. “He’s having a great year and he does a lot of very good things on the court; he serves and volleys incredibly well. He probably has, in my mind, one of the best volleys on tour and he plays aggressively on big points. I think our match will be very close. I’m looking forward to it. He’s a nice kid and it’ll be a fun matchup.”

It may not be fun for Isner. Even though the No. 2 seed thrives at this tournament, Cressy has more confidence based on current form and because of their Aussie Open result.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.