Anderson v Isner: A rivalry stretching back to college tennis

2018-07-13 12:33
Kevin Anderson (AP)

Cape Town - South Africa’s Kevin Anderson will face a familiar foe when he takes on America’s John Isner in the Wimbledon semi-finals on Friday.  

The duo have squared off 11 times previously on the ATP World Tour, with the American holding an 8-3 advantage, including winning the last matches.

But the pair’s rivalry dates back to their pre-professional days when both played college tennis in America.

Isner competed for the University of Georgia, while the Anderson played at the University of Illinois.

In 2007, they battled for the No 1 singles spot in the NCAA Finals between the two universities, with Isner winning in straight sets, 6-1, 7-6 (7/1).

“There could be a little mental aspect in our match,” Isner told the ATP World Tour’s official website.

“We've been lined up against each other for about 14 years now, because he left Illinois when I left Georgia. We've been doing it ever since.

“For me this match-up, and I think for him as well, is especially cool. It's a very nice spotlight on college tennis, that one of us, no matter what, is going to be playing in the Wimbledon final... I never could have imagined this. I don't know if you asked him that question (what he would say). (I would have said) there's no shot. (I couldn't) imagine us playing each other in the semi-finals of the most prestigious tennis tournament we have.”

Ten of their official ATP matches were played on hard courts, while the only encounter on grass came at the Queen’s Club in London in 2008, when Isner won in straight sets.

However, their last encounter was more than three years ago - at the Indian Wells Masters - and Anderson has made significant strides since then.

In his past two matches, the South African overcame opponents he had never beaten before - Federer had a 4-0 head-to-head record, while Frenchman Gael Monfils (in the Round of 16) boasted five wins over Anderson.

Read more on:    atp tour  |  wimbledon  |  kevin anderson  |  john isner  |  tennis


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