Home-loving American John Isner played the familiarity card to perfection on Sunday as he mowed down 20-year-old young gun Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6(5), 7-6(5), at the Miami Masters.
The scoreline was a near-duplicate of a similar victory in two sets by Isner over the Canadian in the 2019 semi-finals which he also won in two tiebreaks.
2018 tournament champion Isner, who lives in Dallas, is often loath to venture across the Atlantic, apparently finding it tough to go without his cultural comforts and touchpoints.
As such, the 35-year-old is quite at home in Miami, which has become his most successful Masters 1000 after polishing his career record here to 26-11.
The winner piled on 16 of his trademark aces in the two hours it took to send off the Canadian ranked 18th; neither man faced a break point.
The 20-year-old Auger-Aliassime lost only his fifth match this season after reaching last week;’s quarter-finals in Acapulco.
Isner will play next in the fourth round against Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut, who rallied for a comeback over German Jan-Lennard Struff 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
It was a big test for me. There’s probably not many places in the world where I like my chances against Felix,” Isner said.
“I’m lucky to play him here in Miami, where I like it a lot.
“If I were to play him on clay somewhere in Europe, it’d probably be a different story.”