The build-up to the US Open continues with the 2019 Atlanta Open, where five-time champion John Isner is again the strong favourite to triumph.

Isner has only lost one match in the last six years at the Atlanta Open. Nick Kyrgios beat him in two sets that went to tie-breaks in the 2016 final, but there is no doubt he is the man to beat.

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The American also heads to Atlanta on the back of his victory at the Hall of Fame Open, where he beat Alexander Bublik in the final to win his fourth Newport title.

Isner, now ranked 15 in the world, is understandably the top seed for the Atlanta Open as it is a tournament he has dominated, with countrymen Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe also seeded.

Jack Sock and Grigor Dimitrov have been given wildcards for the event while players to watch include Pierre-Hugues Herbert, Ugo Humbert and the third seed, Alex de Minaur.

Available to back at just 11/4 to win the Atlanta Open yet again, Isner is without a doubt the man to beat but is there better value to be found with the best bookmakers? Let’s take a look to find out!

In-form John Isner Difficult to Stop

Around this time of the year, John Isner comes into his own with Newport and Atlanta surely two of his favourite tournaments on the ATP tour due to his regular successes.

The seventh-seeded Kazakh Bublik could not stop Isner from winning in straight sets in the Newport final, which took just 76 minutes to conclude as the American converted all three of the break points he earned during the match.

It was a particularly special victory for Isner as it is the first trophy he has won on the ATP tour since becoming a father, with he and his wife Madison welcoming baby girl named Hunter Grace last September.

Isner is still on the comeback trail from a spell on the sidelines after he broke a bone in his foot during the Miami Open final against Roger Federer earlier in the year.

“I’ve definitely lacked court time in the last three months. The best way to get back in shape is by spending time on the court and playing matches, which is the most important thing,” said Isner after his victory at the Hall of Fame Open. “I haven’t played many tournaments this year, but I still feel like I’ve had a pretty good year.”

Given Isner’s past history at the Atlanta Open, coupled with him going to the event on the back of success in Newport, it is very hard to see anyone being able to unseat the defending champ.

Grigor Dimitrov Needs to Get Back on Track

Wild card entry Grigor Dimitrov has fallen hard from his previously lofty perch as the world number three, with the Bulgarian having struggled for form of late. He heads to Atlanta on the back of a horror run of events that has seen him drop out of the world’s top 50 thanks to only getting through the first round in one of his past six tournaments.

Dimitrov, a former ATP Finals champion, plays qualifier Kevin King in the first round and if he gets through, which is by no means certain, he would then play second seed Fritz next. It has been a good 2019 for Fritz to date with the American winning his first title on the ATP tour at Eastbourne in the buildup to Wimbledon, although a second-round exit at SW19 was not the ideal way to capitalise on his strong form.

At a price of 8/1, the bookmakers see Taylor Fritz as some of the strongest competition available to Isner over the course of the week, with Ugo Humbert the only player outside of Dimitrov likely to trouble him en route to the semi-finals.

Former Doubles Specialists on Collision Course

The third quarter of the draw could see Australia’s Jordan Thompson come up against Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France in the last eight, with both men putting an increased focus on singles tournaments. Previously considered by those in the sport to be doubles specialists, both men have been reaping the rewards of switching their concentration over the course of the last few months.

Thompson, the seventh seed in Atlanta this week, was the runner-up at s-Hertogenbosch recently and he beat players including Grigor Dimitrov and Karen Khachanov on his way to the fourth round of the Miami Open earlier in the year.

A return to the United States could spark similar form in Thompson, but if he does get through to the quarter-finals he is likely to come up against Herbert, who is this week’s fourth seed. A first-round bye eases the Frenchman into action and his opening match will be against either Alexei Popyrin or Denis Kudla, neither of whom should cause him too many issues.

Herbert can be backed at 22/1 while Thompson is available at 33/1, with both men certainly worthy of consideration at small stakes on an each way basis at least.

Second Quarter Highlights

Third seed Alex De Minaur started the year well, but his price of 8/1 looks short considering it has been hard for him to find results in the last couple of months.

A better option in this section could be Frances Tiafoe, who is also seeking to get back on track after struggling to maintain the momentum he built in the early weeks and months of 2019. He is offered at about the 16/1 mark.

2019 Atlanta Open Best Bets

John Isner is a strong favourite here and this is a tournament he knows well, having been its master in five of the past six years. Even at 11/4 (although 3/1 may be available at some bookmakers), it is difficult to argue against the big American being the best bet on offer this week.

That said, there is some value on offer in the bottom half of the draw, where players do not have to worry about coming up against Isner until the final.

Jordan Thompson certainly looks too big at a generous 33/1, with the Australian possessing more than enough talent to go deep into the draw. Also in the third quarter, 20/1 on Pierre-Hugues Herbert is a solid option.

At even larger odds of 50/1, Alexander Bublik would be worth thinking about, but the Kazakh has been dealt possibly the toughest draw on offer. After his exploits in reaching the Newport final last weekend, Bublik opens against tricky customer Reilly Opelka and, should he come through that test, a revenge reunion with top seed Isner would be his reward.

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