This encounter marks the third year in a row at the US Open that Isner and Kohlschreiber have met in the third round, each time playing in a packed Louis Armstrong Stadium. In 2012, Kohlschreiber won in five sets in an instant classic that ended at 2:26 a.m., tying the record for the tournament's latest finish. Last year, the German again won, emerging victorious in four sets, with the final set going to a tight tiebreak, which he won, 7-5.
The matchup continues to be appealing. While Isner is ranked 10 spots higher, Kohlschreiber always plays him tough. The German is a solid baseliner and returner, with one of the best one-handed backhands in the game, and he does a good job blocking back the 6-foot-10 Isner's imposing serve. Isner, as always, will need to serve big and not get broken early. Kohlschrieber will need to keep his unforced errors to a minimum and extend back-court rallies -- and extend the match, too, with an eye to tiring the big man.
The two players' numbers in the crunch are telling. Kohlschreiber is 14-9 in his career in five-set matches, while Isner is just 5-12. However, Isner has a big advantage in tiebreaks: 31-24 vs. 21-20 for the German.
The other category Isner has a big advantage in? His height: he's a full foot taller than Kohlschreiber.