John Isner v Milos Raonic Wimbledon Live Stream and Predictions - Ace leaders face off in Wimbledon quarterfinal

  • John Isner and Milos Raonic face off in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon 2018
  • Isner vs Raonic is live from Wimbledon's No. 1 Court at 00.00am AEST on Thursday
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Wimbledon at bet365 > live streaming > tennis (geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)
John Isner

Ace leaders John Isner and Milos Raonic face off for a place in the semifinals of Wimbledon 2018.

Watch and bet on Isner v Raonic at bet365 (geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)

Both players (and all observers) agree it’s going to be a contest of small margins when John Isner and Milos Raonic face off in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon on Wednesday – but who will make the semifinal?

If there’s any doubt in your mind what the crucial shot is going to be when Isner and Raonic face off on No. 1 Court on Wednesday, just take a look at the tournament’s ace leaderboard for the top of it. There at the top sits Isner, with 135 served in four matches; and just below him, Raonic, with 117. (The two also top the serve speed list, and Isner has landed a higher percentage of first serves, at 77%, than anyone else in the tournament – although Raonic has won a greater percentage of points behind his first serve, 87% to Isner’s 83%.) 

Ninth-seeded Isner is in some ways the surprise package in this particular quarterfinal. While Isner has had some very significant results over the past 12 months, most notably winning his maiden Masters 1000 Series title at the Miami Masters in March with victories over Alexander Zverev and Juan Martin del Potro, his Wimbledon results have never been as good as many predicted. While Isner made his solitary Grand Slam quarterfinal before this tournament at the US Open in 2011, the biggest impression he has made at Wimbledon came in 2010, when he played that famous first-round match against Nicolas Mahut, the longest match ever recorded, going all the way to 70-68 in the fifth. Since then, Isner has made it to the third round three times but never gone beyond. 

‘[T]his tournament since that long match has sort of been a house of horrors for me. I've lost a lot of close ones since that match in 2010, a lot of very, very close ones, a lot of deep five-set matches, third round especially,’ Isner said.

‘There was certainly some doubt. When you have left this tournament the last nine, ten years pretty disappointed with my result, gone home sort of hanging my head a little bit. But not the case this year.’

Not the case indeed. Seeded ninth, Isner has had one long, dramatic five-setter – against qualifier Ruben Bemelmans in the second round, which ended 7-5 in the fifth in his favour – but otherwise, he’s won quite efficiently, beating Yannick Maden, Radu Albot and most impressively 31st seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets. 

The unusual conditions at Wimbledon this year – the British heatwave has dried out the courts, leading to a higher bounce – seems to be working in favour of the biggest servers, with both Isner and his quarterfinal opponent Milos Raonic saying they feel like they have more time on the ball. But time is about to run out for one of the two on Wednesday.

If Wimbledon has been a ‘house of horrors’ for Isner, for Raonic it’s been his happiest hunting-ground. The Canadian, a couple of inches shorter than Isner, made his first Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon in 2014 and then two years later surpassed himself by reaching a maiden major final, defeating Roger Federer before losing to Andy Murray. Even in 2017, largely an injury-blighted and truncated season for Raonic, he still made the quarterfinals before falling to Federer.

It’s been a difficult year for Raonic, with his ranking slipping down to world no. 38, and he comes into Wimbledon as the world no. 32 despite finishing runner-up to Federer in Stuttgart and making the semifinals of Indian Wells. But the Wimbledon seeding formula bumped him up to 13th seed and certainly his run to the quarterfinals has justified that decision. After losing just six games against Liam Broady in the opening round, Raonic defeated John Millman in straight sets. Sets were dropped to Denis Novak in the third round and to the plucky but outgunned Mackenzie McDonald in the round of 16, but with those opponents not posing a real danger, that doesn’t look like much of a problem. It’s certainly a good thing for the injury-prone Canadian that he comes into the quarterfinals without too much wear and tear on his body.

It’s also not the worst match-up for either man. At least they know what to expect, and won’t have to do anything too difficult – like rally unduly from the baseline – against each other. Indeed, both agree on how the match will be decided. 

‘There's a good chance it's going to come down to a few points here and there. It's strength on strength, for sure. I mean, he serves exceptionally well. He does other things very well, too. He attacks well. He looks for his forehand a lot, which is effective on this surface,’ Isner said.

‘Look, if one of us gets a crack, a few chances, we're going to have to take it. It very well could be a close match. I'm looking forward to it.’

Raonic concurred: ‘When it does get into the rallies, who is the one that's aggressor I think is going to be the most important thing. We're going to probably serve, most likely, an equal amount of games. We'll probably be pretty quick most of the time,’ he said.

‘When it does get down to the points where somebody is able to, let's say, neutralize a point, it's going to be about who can take that forward and be the aggressor shortly after. So the margins will be small. But I think it's going to come down to those kind of little subtleties.’

Surprisingly – to me at least – the head-to-head stands at 3-1 in Isner’s favour, although they haven’t played since 2016 (which was the one that went Raonic’s way) and never on grass. For me, Raonic is the superior all-round player and the better grass-court player, as well as mentally a better performer in big matches. Are the unusual conditions at Wimbledon this year, and Isner’s seeming newfound maturity, enough to overturn that?

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John Isner v Milos Raonic Wimbledon Live Stream and Predictions - Ace leaders face off in Wimbledon quarterfinal

In a big-serving duel, can Isner maintain dominance over former finalist Raonic to make his first Wimbledon semifinal? We preview the match and show you how you can watch the match live.

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