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John Isner celebrates after beating Felix Auger-Aliassime in the Miami Open semifinals. He plays today on the grass at Newport. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
John Isner celebrates after beating Felix Auger-Aliassime in the Miami Open semifinals. He plays today on the grass at Newport. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)|Associated Press

Tennis Wednesday: Abrams picks the Newport Hall of Fame – Mannarino vs. Sandgren, Isner vs. Majchrzak

First match is at 11 am. These matches begin 12:20 pm EDT

Neal Abrams

Neal Abrams

Hall of Fame Open

Newport, RI

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Men’s Second Round

Adrian Mannarino over Tennys Sandgren

Here on the grass in Newport, R.I. I expect close matches, and I’m finding it difficult picking sure things. Certainly, this match is no sure thing, but I feel more confident that Frenchman Adrian Mannarino will beat American Tennys Sandgren than almost any other second round match. Mannarino is coming off a Spring season where he went from ineffective to winning the Libema Open in The Netherlands in the second week of June. Still he watched his ranking drop in the past 16 months from #22 to his current #62. Still, while he was a compiling a very mediocre 12-15 record, he managed to meet and beat Sandgren in the California desert back in March. And if Mannarino’s descent in the rankings was slow but steady, Sandgren’s was fast but steady, as his ranking went from #41 on Jan. 14 to today’s #72. Sandgren’s best showing was two weeks ago in the first week of Wimbledon where he won three rounds, including wins over Gilles Simon and Fabio Fognini before he went down in four close sets to John Isner. He also won a Futures tournament and the ABS Classic in Auckland, New Zealand way back in January, leading to his peak in the rankings. So this match should be entertaining because the players are close in ability, close in ranking, and close on the grass courts. I’ll take Mannarino because I think he’s a bit more consistent and a bit more reliable, but expect a close one down to the wire.

John Isner over Kamil Majchrzak

Kamil Majchrzak is a 23-year-old righthander from Poland, who stands 6-feet tall and is all of 0-2 for 2019. Coming from Wimbledon where most of the player names are recognizable and their resumes consist of tournaments that we’ve all heard of, Majchrzak has played the Sparkassen Open in Braunschweig, Germany, the Ilkley Trophy in Ilkley, Great Britain, the Internazionali Di Tennis—Ditta Di Vicenza in Vicenza, Italy, the Prosperita Open in Ostrava, Czech Republic, the 2019 Kunming Open in Anning, China, the Taiwan Santaizi Challenger in Taipei, Chinese Taipei, the Open Harmonie Mutuelle in St. Brieuc, France, and the Oracle Challenger Series in Indian Wells, Calif., to name just a few. Against a Top Ten player like Isner, Majchrzak stands very little chance, especially on the grass, where Isner’s serves are particularly poisonous. I expect the Yank to serve bomb after bomb, and to show the Pole what playing in the big leagues is all about.

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