• Isner, Anderson collide in Delray Beach quarterfinals

    3/1/13 4:58 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Isner, Anderson collide in Delray Beach quarterfinals A marquee quarterfinal nightcap on Friday will feature John Isner and Kevin Anderson. Tommy Haas is also looking for a place in the semis as he goes up against Ivan Dodig.

    (1) John Isner vs. (6) Kevin Anderson

    Isner and Anderson will be squaring off for the eighth time in their careers at the professional level when the former college rivals and occasional doubles partners meet in the quarterfinals of the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships on Friday night. The head-to-head series stands at 4-3 in Isner's favor after the 6'9'' American prevailed 7-6(3), 6-7(8), 7-6(7) last fall at the Shanghai Masters in a match that featured zero service breaks. Anderson, however, scored a 7-5, 7-6(4) victory in the semis of this same event last season on his way to the title.

    Although Isner is the favorite according to ranking and seed, Anderson has a huge edge in current form. The 6'8'' South African had minor elbow surgery after the Australian Open, but he is a stellar 9-2 for the season following wins this week over Tim Smyczek and Yen-Hsun Lu. Isner, who has been dealing with a knee injury, may be getting on track having taken out Jesse Levine and Go Soeda. The world No. 15 desperately needs a big win to truly end his slump, and--based on how he played against Soeda--this could be it.

    Ivan Dodig vs. (2) Tommy Haas

    Just as the elbow issue does not appear to be slowing down Anderson, a recent virus seems to be thing of the past for Haas. It did force the 34-year-old German out of Memphis following a first-round win, but he has gotten past Igor Sijsling and Denis Istomin in Delray Beach. Haas, who registers at No. 19 in the world mostly thanks to a brilliant first half of 2012, is a solid 7-3 for the season.

    Up next for the No. 2 seed is a first-ever encounter with Dodig. The 62nd-ranked Croat is in the midst of a decent 2013 campaign that includes a third-round finish at the Australian Open, a quarterfinal showing in Zagreb, and now another quarterfinal--at least--in Delray Beach. Dodig opened with a 6-3, 6-3 upset of Alexandr Dolgopolov before defeating Evgeny Donskoy 6-3, 7-5. Haas really picked up the pace in a 6-4, 6-1 rout of Istomin on Thursday, so look for him to advance in two competitive sets.

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