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Ricky’s tennis preview for the Atlanta Open quarterfinals: Isner vs. Brooksby and De Minaur vs. Mannarino

John Isner on the attack in Atlanta. EPA-EFE/ERIK S. LESSER

By Ricky Dimon

The last six players remaining in the bottom half of the Atlanta draw were all American. Now there are four–including John Isner and Jenson Brooksby, who will square off on Friday. Another quarterfinal pits Alex de Minaur against Adrian Mannarino.

Here are my previews and picks for the two matchups.

(6) Jenson Brooksby vs. (2) John Isner

Competitive matches decided by just one or two points are nothing new for Isner, especially at the Atlanta Open. Although the 37-year-old American has been dominant at this event in terms of titles (six wins in 11 appearances), it hasn’t been easy. Isner’s 7-6(8), 4-6, 7-6(3) victory over Ben Shelton on Thursday night marked his eighth opening match out of 12 that has required a third set. The world No. 25 battled through it to make his lifetime record in Atlanta 37-5.

Up next for Isner on Friday is another first-time meeting and another younger American opponent. Brooksby has made an extremely routine start to his Atlanta debut, beating Benoit Paire 6-3, 6-1 and Mackenzie McDonald 6-3, 6-4. The 21-year-old had been just 3-6 in his last nine matches prior to arriving in Atlanta, so this is a much-needed result for him. Brooksby’s unusual game style will undoubtedly frustrate Isner at times, but conditions in Atlanta–fast and high bouncing–are perfect for the veteran and he should continue his winning ways at this tournament.

Pick: Isner in 3

Alex De Minaur of Australia faces Frenchman Adrian Mannarino. EPA-EFE/RAY ACEVEDO

(3) Alex de Minaur vs. (LL) Adrian Mannarino

De Minaur has a perfect record in Atlanta, although the sample size is obviously much, much smaller than Isner’s. The 30th-ranked Australian triumphed in his only previous trip to the event (2019), rolling to the title without facing a single break point the entire way. De Minaur finally got broken once by compatriot James Duckworth on Thursday night, but Atlanta’s No. 3 seed still cruised 6-4, 6-4.

In the quarterfinals De Minaur will face Mannarino for the third time–and second time this summer. They just collided on the grass courts of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, where Mannarino prevailed 6-2, 6-3. The 78th-ranked Frenchman lost to Taro Daniel in qualifying last weekend, but he has made the most of a lucky-loser spot by defeating qualifier Peter Gojowyczk and wild card Andres Martin. This is where Mannarino’s incredibly favorable draw comes to an end, and the ‘s-Hertogenbosch result should not be too alarming since the left-hander is a borderline grass-court specialist. De Minaur will likely have far more success in this setting and take a 2-1 lead over Mannarino in the head-to-head series.

Pick: De Minaur in 2

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