The Washington Open final will throw up a fascinating blend of styles as the speed of Kei Nishikori takes on the power on John Isner.
The week-long event in the capital city of the United States comes to a dramatic conclusion on Sunday night at 8pm.
Nishikori and Isner will bring their differing approaches to the tennis court together after coming through arduous semi-final matches on Saturday night.
Marin Cilic, the reigning US Open champion, had his first American tournament of the year brought to an end by Nishikori in a rematch of last year’s US Open final.
And Isner defeated the unseeded Steve Johnson, his American compatriot who put up a mighty effort that was ultimately fruitless.
Isner’s vicious serves, made possible due to his imposing 6’10” frame, provides a unique challenge for Nishikori, a smaller and quicker player who may find himself outgunned but won’t lack for pace across the court.
The Washington finalists have only met once before and that was also on American soil. Isner was victorious at the Miami Open earlier this year, perhaps providing an insight to how their styles match-up on the hard courts.
It is the Japanese player’s list of career titles that suggests he is the favourite on Sunday. He’ll be aiming for a 10th overall title and a third of 2015 having also won in Memphis and Barcelona. This will be his fourth final of a year that has also been interrupted by injury.
The stakes are higher for Nishikori, the second seed in the capital, because a win over Isner will improve his world ranking by one place to fourth. In turn, that would be of notable benefit when the seedings are made for the US Open.
But earning that right will require an inevitably physical burst past Isner, the North Carolina native who was seeded eighth in Washington. Often characterised by his colossal serve (he hit 31 against Johnson on Saturday), the American demonstrated an admirable fighting ability in saving three match points during his semi-final.
[Via- Sky Sports]