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Confident Isner ready to hit new heights

John Isner has never before been beyond the fourth round at a Grand Slam but full of confidence and riding an eight-match winning streak, the American is determined to make the last eight

One of three Americans looking to reach the quarter-finals in the bottom half of the draw on Wednesday, John Isner admits he will be covering new ground when he takes on next opponent Gilles Simon, having never before faced the Frenchman.

“I don't really know too much about him,” admitted the 26-year-old. “You know, I know of him. I was watching a lot of his match [against Del Potro in round three].”

The in-form American is currently riding an eight match winning streak having won his third career title in Winston Salem – where he beat compatriot Andy Roddick in the semi-finals – before beating Marcos Baghdatis, Robby Ginepri and Alex Bogomolov JR. at the US Open.

While he may not have competed against the world No.12 before, the 6ft9” Tampa resident is well aware of the test facing him today.

“He's definitely a counter puncher,” Isner noted of Simon. “He does it so well. A lot of times he'll take the air out of the ball. He kind of wants his opponent to go for too much because he's so fast and he gets to everything.”

As for his own game, the world No.22 knows what it’ll take to surpass his fourth round best at the US Open.

“I don't want to hang from the baseline with him. If you saw del Potro, he was winded out there and Simon wasn't even sweating. He was just tapping his face with his towel. I'm going to try to keep the points short and serve with a purpose and fight it out. I should, you know, do fairly well.”

Isner has good reason to be confident. The American hard courts suit his powerful game and the rangy right-hander has been boosted by a consistent run of wins in recent months, picking up his first title of 2011 without dropping a set in Newport and making the Atlanta final and the last four in Washington ahead of winning in Winston Salem.

“I’m winning a lot of matches and I’m very, very confident and I feel good,” he added. “I feel like I’m moving very well, especially for myself. I’m getting to balls and able to get a lot more balls back in play because I’m very comfortable out there.”

Isner and Simon follow the clash between Andy Murray and Donald Young on Grandstand, with the added incentive of knowing their next opponent as they fight for a place in the last eight.

Posted by: tennishead magazine

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