ATP Wimbledon Semifinal Betting Preview: John Isner vs. Kevin Anderson

ATP Wimbledon Semifinal Betting Preview: John Isner vs. Kevin Anderson article feature image

Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: John Isner

  • John Isner and Kevin Anderson will meet in the first men's Wimbledon semifinal.
  • Isner owns an 8-3 head-to-head record against Anderson.
  • Both men are seeking their first Grand Slam final appearance.

The semifinals are here, folks. If you caught our pre-tournament futures preview, we successfully projected three of the four semifinalists. Let’s take a closer look at the first semifinal — a battle between two big servers in John Isner and Kevin Anderson.

Kevin Anderson (-108) vs. John Isner (-102) | O/U: 48

Where: Centre Court
When: 8 a.m. ET
H2H: Isner leads 8-3 (1-0 on grass: 2008 Queen’s Club)

I initially wondered why Anderson isn’t a bigger favorite. Solely based on the eye test, Anderson has looked more impressive over the past fortnight in London — capped off by his massive upset against defending champ Roger Federer. And, yet, on the other hand, after looking at the H2H, I simultaneously started to wonder how Isner isn’t the favorite given considering track record against ‘Come On Kevin.’

Big John has dominated this matchup, as five of his eight wins against Anderson came in straight sets. He’s even avoided tiebreaks in the past — finding a break of Anderson’s serve in the majority of sets. On a grass court — a surface they haven’t met on since 2008 — we know one thing for certain: KA will struggle to return Isner’s serve. Anderson doesn’t typically return bigger serves well (mind you, he peaked against Federer).

So the question then becomes: will KA’s serve on a grass court be too big for Isner?

I think Big John can handle it. Isner did a great job on return in his quarterfinal match against Milos Raonic — one of the few players who serves bigger than Anderson. The American broke ‘Missile’ three times in the final two sets to punch his semifinal ticket. He returned Raonic’s serve with discipline by focusing on blocking returns back to establish neutral points. I think he can have similar success on Friday.

This will be a tough task for KA after facing Federer, who plays from the baseline with an almost elegant rhythm. Isner simply won’t let Anderson establish much rhythm.

The American should also be fresher, which becomes key if this turns into an all-out server duel. After Anderson played the biggest match of his life, a physical — and emotional — a letdown could be brewing for him. One has to wonder how much he has left in the tank after beating Federer 13-11 in the fifth set.

Isner, on the other hand, needed only two tiebreaks to get past Raonic — and should have some extra pep in his step. Considering his extra freshness, how well he’s serving and his past success against Anderson — I think Big John makes his first Grand Slam final.

I ultimately see Isner handling his service games with ease, while executing an effective return game plan — similar to what we saw against Raonic. As a result, he can look to dictate play (with the big forehand) and avoid playing points on the run.

Bet to Watch: John Isner -102