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United States’ Tennys Sandgren, right, greets Italy’s Fabio Fognini at the net after winning their Men’s singles match during day six of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
United States’ Tennys Sandgren, right, greets Italy’s Fabio Fognini at the net after winning their Men’s singles match during day six of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)|Associated Press
Tennis

Tennis Friday: Abrams picks two quarterfinals in the blistering heat at Newport – Isner vs. Ebden, Bublik vs. Sandgren

First match at 1 pm EDT.

Neal Abrams

Neal Abrams

Hall of Fame Open

Newport, R.I.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Men’s Quarterfinals

John Isner over Matthew Ebden

Rain forced the quarters to today, Friday, and the weather is expected to be brutal. With temperatures in the low 100’s over the next three days, these players are lucky that they’re only playing best-of-three sets instead of the best-of-five set format they use at the Grand Slams. Additionally, the grass should make the conditions less severe, as it absorbs heat rather than radiate it back on the players’ feet. Even so, it will be tough going in Newport. American John Isner should have no trouble with Matt Ebden, ranked #110. Isner’s serve should protect him, as always, and his fearsome forehand should be dominating on the grass. If Ebden takes a set, I’d be surprised. They’ve played five previous times, and Ebden has only had success at the 2018 Australian Open. On the grass? Isner is 2 for 2, and hasn’t dropped a set to Ebden.

Alexander Bublik over Tennys Sandgren

These guys have played three times and two of those three matches ended in third set tiebreakers. Bublik won them both. The only win Sandgren has managed over his Russian opponent was on grass, just a few weeks ago in Eastbourne, so that bodes well for the American. These guys are so close that this match is really a “pick-em”, but I’m giving the Russian a slight edge because he’s taller (6’5” to 6’2”) and that means a lot on grass. Yes, Sandgren is aggressive. He chips and charges, and he likes to come forward, but something tells me that Bublik is gonna take the American.