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Tennis | Wimbledon

Isner, Raonic braced for Wimbledon slugfest

John Isner will face Milos Raonic for a place in the Wimbledon semifinals on Wednesday, but will anybody care?

That was the question facing tennis fans after Isner made the last-eight for the first time while 2016 runner-up Raonic booked a quarterfinal spot for the fourth time.

Isner, 33, has not been broken in 74 service games in four rounds so far while Raonic has dropped serve just three times in 72 games.

As well as topping the service charts, American ninth seed Isner has unleashed a tournament-leading 135 aces.

Canadian 13th seed Raonic is second on the list with 117.

When it comes to speed, the two giants are also full throttle.

Raonic has the fastest serve of this year's Wimbledon at 147mph (236.5km/h) while Isner is just behind on 144mph (231.7km/h).

So Wednesday's quarterfinal will not be pretty.

"Isner v Raonic. What an exciting QF, full of powerful serving .......... said no-one ever," tweeted one fan.

"Raonic v Isner in the quarterfinals on grass with no 5th set tie break. That match might go in for days," wrote another.

Isner, who leads Raonic 3-1 in career meetings, admits that the match will not be easy on the eye.

"Well, 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," said the 6ft 10in (2.07m) American.

"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.

"Look, if one of us gets a crack, a few chances, we're going to have to take it."

When asked to point out what differences there were between the two men, Isner struggled.

"I'm taller than him. That's all I got for you right now."

In their four meetings, Isner and Raonic have played nine sets – seven have been decided by tie breaks.

"Incredible," said Raonic, six years Isner's junior, when asked to describe the American's serve.

"The keys is going to come down to one, two, three points here and there. That's pretty much it," said Raonic in a similarly downbeat assessment of what Wednesday's quarterfinal may hold.

"I don't think we're going to have many consecutive opportunities on each other's serves. It's going to be coming down to being sharp in the right moments, who is going to be able to step up, be the one that's able to dictate, putting more pressure on the other guy.

"I think it's going to be decided by small margins."


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