• Isner kicks off Memphis campaign against Muller

    2/21/12 2:47 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Isner kicks off Memphis campaign against Muller Former runner-up John Isner will open in Memphis as the No. 1 seed on Tuesday. Up first for the American is fellow big server Gilles Muller.

    John Isner and Gilles Muller will be squaring off for the third time in their careers when they do battle in round one of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships on Tuesday night.

    Both of their previous encounters came in Atlanta, where Isner prevailed in three sets each time en route to runner-up finishers. He saved two match points before surviving 4-6, 7-6(6), 7-6(7) in 2010 then scored a 7-5, 6-7(3), 6-1 semifinal victory last summer.

    Muller would do well to make it that close this time around, because Isner is in fine form and is up to a career-high ranking of No. 13 in the world. The 6'9'' American wrapped up a strong 2011 campaign with a Paris semifinal and although he did not play particularly in Australia, he appears to be back on track now. Isner stunned Roger Federer 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-2 in a clay-court Davis Cup match on the road in Switzerland earlier this month.

    On the other hand, Muller is struggling to gain confidence at the moment. The 28-year-old Luxembourgian still registers at a solid 69th in the world, but he is just 2-5 at the ATP level this season. Muller is coming off a 6-2, 6-4 loss to Julien Benneteau in the San Jose second round.

    This promises to be a huge-serving affair, and Muller should be competitive if he puts in a high percentage of first deliveries. Isner, though, has a big edge in current form and will have the crowd squarely behind him for this one. Count on Isner getting the job done in straight sets.

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