2018 US Open: Daily Analysis

The US Open has arrived for the final slam of the year in the tennis calendar and the experts at Form Labs will be providing daily analysis for the tournament.

You can read also read their pre-tournament  US Open Men’s and US Open Women’s predictions.

Lastly, for the best tennis odds, head to the Betfair Exchange.

Novak Djokovic v Juan Martin Del Potro

Novak Djokovic extended his record against Kei Nishikori to 15 straight wins after his 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 thumping of the Japanese player in the semi-final. This will be his eighth final at Flushing Meadows where he’ll take on the 2009 champion Juan Martin Del Potro.

Djokovic had to miss last years’ US Open due to an elbow injury but the two-time champion is back with vengeance having won 18 of his 20 sets played so far this year. In fact, the Serbian has now won 29 of his 32 matches since the start of Roland Garros, including 14 of his 15 hard-court matches. He’s been gifted an easy draw to this stage though, facing nobody inside the top-19 from his six matches and Del Potro will undoubtedly be his hardest task yet. The Argentinian is more battle hardened following matches with all of; Fernando Verdasco, Borna Coric, John Isner and Rafael Nadal. The latter saw Rafa retire through a knee injury which will be a huge boost to the Agentinian’s chances with that clash likely to have at least gone past the four-hour mark had the Spaniard been fully fit.

Del Potro has only ever reached one Grand Slam final and that came back here nine years ago, where he won and ended Roger Federer’s 41-match-winning streak in the process. He dominated Rafa in their semi-final that year, as he did this year, hitting 29 winners across their two sets played while winning 70% of his first serve points. He’s now won 21 of his last 25 sets and is playing the best and most consistent tennis since his lengthy injury history. This is the Argentinian’s favourite Grand Slam as he tends to perform best in New York and when facing the current top-10 here, he’s won four of his five matches since the start of the 2016 tournament.

If you’re going to beat the Serbian in a Major final you feel it will come at the US Open. He’s won only two of his seven attempts while when going off at the current odds or shorter, he’s split his four finals, losing the last of them to Stan Wawrinka in 2016. It goes without saying that Djokovic is close to being back to his best but even so, the Serb hasn’t been properly tested and to be shorter than 1.5 against an opponent who’s proven it with the best, makes him hard to get behind. That price certainly takes into account his 14-4 record against Del Potro, including two 3-0 wins at this tournament in 2012 and 2007 respectively. However, the Argentinian is the fresher of the two players having only played two hours of tennis since his win over John Isner on Tuesday and playing the best tennis of his career. If the big man is ever going to win another Slam it is probably going to come here, so the value has to be with the underdog.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Juan Martin Del Potro Win at $3.10

Serena Williams v Naomi Osaka

These two players met earlier this year at the Miami Open with Osaka winning in straight sets but that was Williams’ second tournament back after a 13-month maternity leave, so she wasn’t quite at the level she needed to be. Six months down the road the Japanese player faces a much trickier task. Osaka is partaking in her first Grand Slam final, having previously never made it past the fourth round, but she certainly deserves to have made it this far. She’s won 12 of her 13 sets to this point and she proved very clinical in her meeting with Madison Keys, winning three of her four break points while Keys failed to take advantage of any of her 13 opportunities.

Williams is seeking a record-equaling 24th Grand Slam title and her first since giving birth. She’s won 76 of her 106 games so far this tournament despite meeting her sister in the third round, Karolina Pliskova in the quarter-final and Anastasija Sevastova in her semi, all of whom she defeated in straight sets. In fact, her last match with Sevastova was a tactical masterclass from the American, coming forward very effectively as she won 24 of her 28 net points and in doing so nullified the Latvians effective drop shot. Statistically she’s been off the charts too in New York. Her 64 aces are nearly more than double the amount than any other player, she’s won 78% of her first service points and broken her opponents 27 times.

Osaka has surprised us having dealt with her big games very well up to this point. However, the prospect of a Grand Slam final against her childhood idol will be a totally different story. Although she may go on to win multiple Slams, the savvy veteran’s experience should be too much for her on this occasion. When facing top-10 ranked players, Osaka has lost 10 of her 13 matches since the start of last year with all but one of those being wrapped up in straight sets. Moreover, she’s lost six of her seven career finals compared to Williams’ 73-22 record, while at Grand Slams alone the American has won 23 of her 30 title deciders with 15 of these victories being decided in two sets.

Having backed Kerber to overcome the 23-time Grand Slam champion in the Wimbledon final we think this is Serena’s time to equal Margaret Court’s record and put her name in the history books as the greatest women’s tennis player of all time. We’re surprised not to see the American at a shorter price given the occasion and 2-0 at odds-against looks great value.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Serena Williams 2-0 at $2.06

Juan Martin Del Potro v Rafael Nadal

It took a fifth set tie-break for Nadal to overcome Dominic Thiem to reach his seventh US Open semi-final. It was an epic clash that lasted nearly five hours, making it the second time he’s gone past the four-hour mark this tournament and he’ll certainly be thankful for the extra days rest before his next match.

Del Potro overcame the American John Isner in his last-eight tie with his serve proving a vital weapon, holding all 21 of his service games, and he’s now won 15 of his 16 sets at Flushing Meadows. The two players have met on 13 separate occasions when excluding clay court matches with Rafa leads 8-5. However, it’s 5-5 when specifically looking at hard-court encounters.

Interestingly, Del Potro has won the first set in seven of their most recent 12 head-to-heads with his big serve allowing him to get off to a fast start. The Argentinian has won the opening set in 38 of his 52 matches this year, including 14 of his 19 at Grand Slams, and he’ll be going after the Spaniard from the get go.

Nadal meanwhile, lost the opener 6-0 in his last match against Thiem as he’s now lost the first set in two of his last three outings while against the current top-26 players he’s done so in four of his last seven.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Del Potro First Set Winner at $2.02

Kei Nishikori v Novak Djokovic

This is the first time in history that a Japanese man and women have reached Semi-finals at the same Slam. Kei Nishikori came back from a set down against Marin Cilic to win in a deciding fifth, in a match that took over four hours to decide. Kei won the decisive points and forced the Croatian to make 70 unforced errors over the course of the match, but he’ll need to improve his first serving accuracy of 55% from his semi now he’s taking on the best returner in the game.

Novak Djokovic has had a dream run to the semi-final with the out of touch 26th seed Richard Gasquet his highest ranked opponent so far. The Serbian has now won 36 of his 42 Grand Slam sets since the start of Wimbledon, winning each of his 12 matches, including a 3-1 win over Nishikori.

Kei has an awful head-to-head record against Djokovic and it is no surprise to see the Serb as the short odds-on favourite. Novak holds a 16-2 record, winning all the last 14 of these and with the temperatures dropping over 10 degrees Celsius for Friday’s play that has to play into his advantage. They’ve faced each other in four Slam matches and Djokovic has won by more than seven games in three of these, while Nishikori has lost by this margin in nine of his 12 Slam defeats to the current top-10.

Moreover, Kei has failed to win any of his six career matches off the back of a five setter when going up against a current top-25 player, and with the Serbian in his current form this match has a certain amount of inevitability about it.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Djokovic -7.5 games at $2.48

Serena Williams v Anastasija Sevastova

The reigning champion Sloane Stephens crashed out of the US Open 6-2 6-3 to Sevastova after reportedly suffering from a sinus infection. That victory means the Latvian has reached her first ever Grand Slam semi-final, having made it to the quarters in each of her last two attempts here. Williams defeated Karolina Pliskova 6-4 6-3, despite going a break down early in the opening set before rattling off eight straight games and with that the match. The 23-time Grand Slam winner looked back to her best for prolonged periods throughout the match, while saving 10 of 12 break points against her serve suggests she’s able to produce her best when it matters.

Williams has an outstanding semi-final record at Grand Slams, winning 30 of 35 such matches. Furthermore, when excluding top 10 opponents at any stage of Slam events, she’s won 132 of her 146 matches with an incredible 106 of these victories coming in straight sets. The Latvian has lost in straight sets in 17 of her 22 career Grand Slam defeats and with nerves likely to be a factor on the big stage, it could all be over before her opponent has time to settle

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Serena Williams 2-0 at $1.67

Madison Keys v Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka advanced to her first ever Grand Slam semi-final with a 59-minute demolishing of Lesia Tsurenko in what was her fourth straight-sets win in the tournament and her third in under an hour. She comes into the final-four having won an astonishing 62 of her 84 games played so far but she is the outsider to reach Sunday’s final.

Madison Keys famously fell short in last year’s all-American US Open Final and should she and Serena win we will see our second successive Flushing Meadows final between two home players. Keys covered the Game Handicap as expected in her semi against Carla Suarez Navarro (who lost her seventh Grand Slam QF in seven attempts).

This is the fourth meeting between these two players with Keys coming out on top in each of the three previous matches as Osaka has picked up just one set. Earlier this year Keys won in straight sets at the French Open to reach the fourth round en route to the semis. Keys has become somewhat of a Majors specialist as she’s reached at least the quarters in all of her last five.

Osaka has been mighty impressive over the past 10 days but she’s had a generous draw. She’s faced just one seed (vs Sabelenka – 26th seed – in the quarters) and that was the only time she’s struggled. The Japanese came through 6-4 in the fourth. Keys is a step up from the women Osaka has faced in New York and Osaka has lost 10 of her last 15 against players in the top-50.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Madison Keys Win $1.71

Carla Suarez Navarro v Madison Keys

Madison Keys took just 16 games to defeat the 29th seed Cibulkova in her last round, only hitting 15 unforced errors across the whole match. That last figure is the key to the American’s success as her 10 Grand Slam defeats since the 2016 Australian Open have seen her average 38 unforced errors per match.

This tournament she’s averaged just 22 per match while she’s hit fewer than 17 in two of her last three outings and if she can repeat that against Suarez Navarro, we’d expect her to win. Navarro has now beaten the 6th and 22nd seeds, Garcia and Sharapova, in each of her last two matches. She’s fed off their unforced errors as they each hit 38 plus, but she may not have that luxury here.

The Spaniard’s record in Grand Slam quarter-finals is poor having lost all six attempts, including a double bagel in her only one at the US Open. She’s not done much better in the remaining five, losing by at least seven games in each with the last of these coming at the start of this year in the Australian Open to Caroline Wozniacki.

Keys meanwhile, is 3-2 in Grand Slam quarter-finals and her only US Open appearance saw her beat Kaia Kanepi 6-3 6-3. Furthermore, against players currently ranked between 15th and 50th in the world, she’s won by more than four games in nine of her 12 victories since the start of the US Open last year, and so we’ll back her to cruise through.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Madison Keys -4.5 Games Handicap at $2.00

Novak Djokovic v John Millman

Millman recorded the upset of the tournament with his four-set victory over Federer to reach his first ever Grand Slam quarter-final. Millman has struggled with injuries throughout his career and having lost all his 10 previous main draw matches against the current top-10 players, nobody gave him a chance. However, without taking too much away from the Aussie, Federer was nowhere near his top level as he managed to get just 48% of his first serves in, whilst hitting 77 unforced errors.

To put that into perspective that’s the first time this year that the Swiss man has hit sub 50% on his first serves and that played a huge part in his downfall. The market doesn’t give the Aussie any chance of a repeat though with Novak Djokovic going off as short as $1.07. The Serb looks back to his unbeatable best with only a slight hiccup coming in the heat in the opening round before going on to ease his way to this quarter-final.

Djokovic is on an 11-match winning streak at Grand Slams, winning by more than eight games in six of these. Furthermore, he’s won by more than eight games in 40 of his 54 Grand Slam matches against unseeded players since the start of the 2011 US Open when excluding the French.

Millman’s only previous Grand Slam appearance against one of the Big Four saw him lose 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 to Nadal and on the big stage we expect Djokovic to cover this handicap.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Djokovic -8.5 Games Handicap at $2.14

Marin Cilic v Kei Nishikori

Kei Nishikori has had a difficult draw at the US Open this year having played all four of his matches against current top-50 players, but he lost just one set across them. His straight sets victory against Philipp Kohlschreiber was very impressive and if he can replicate that form he’ll no doubt cause Marin Cilic some problems. However, we fear the Japanese player won’t be able to keep that up, having only won two of his eight career Grand Slam quarter-finals as he struggles to go deep in the big tournaments.

Cilic meanwhile, blew 10th seed Goffin off the court in his last outing in straight sets and his power should be too much for Nishikori in the five-set format. The Croat has won four of his six Grand Slam quarter-finals when excluding the Big Four while he’s won all his last three at this stage on the hard surface against all players.

When excluding clay court matches, these two have split their 12 career meetings, though Cilic has won each of the last three of these. Furthermore, the seventh seed the last three to take place at Grand Slams, including the 2014 final here.

The Croat usually prevails when the favourite too, as he’s won 19 of his last 20 matches when at $1.7 or shorter, while Nishikori at odds-against has lost six of his last seven outings. Cilic was one of our pre-tournament picks and we’ll happily back him at the current prices to win this match.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Marin Cilic to Win at $1.64

Naomi Osaka v Lesia Tsurenko

Naomi Osaka has now won 70 of her 90 games played so far at Flushing Meadows, including at one point 22 consecutively over her second and third rounds matches. This is all despite averaging just over 50% for first serves which almost cost her in the last round but for Sabalenka throwing in some untimely double faults.

Tsurenko meanwhile, nearly had to retire in her last match due to the heat, but she’s now won 55 of her 84 games and after a dip in form in the last round we expect her to bounce back. The Ukrainian has won eight of her nine matches since Wimbledon when excluding retirements, including five of six that were against current top-50 players, as only Simona Halep has managed to get the better of her.

This is the furthest either player has come at a Grand Slam and so calming the nerves will certainly be important for both of them. However, Tsurenko is more battle-hardened of the two having faced greater tests so far in New York, with the highlight being her victory against the 2nd seed Caroline Wozniacki.

Moreover, the Ukrainian has won six of her last eight matches when at odds between $2.6 and $3.5, while Osaka has lost 10 of her last 13 matches with the current top-50, so at the current odds, we’re siding with the underdog.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Lesia Tsurenko to Win at $3.25

Serena Williams v Karolina Pliskova

Karolina Pliskova is yet to drop a set in New York, as she’s cruised through to this quarter-final. Although she was impressive against Barty in the last round, in general the 8th seed has given her opponents far too many break point opportunities. She’s provided and average of nine per match up to this point and Serena certainly won’t be as forgiving. Williams has converted 62% of her 29 break points here whist she’s only provided nine opportunities to her opponents all tournament.

The six-time US Open champion has won 93 of her 104 matches at her home Slam with 79 of these coming in straight sets. Moreover, since Sloan Stephens beat her at the 2013 Australian Open, Serena has won all 13 of her quarter-final encounters at Grand Slams. The Czech meanwhile, has lost three of her four quarter-final appearances since the start of last year.

Williams has improved throughout the tournament with her serve really clicking into gear, which doesn’t bode well for the Pliskova. Indeed, the American won 16 of her 17 first serve points in her last set of tennis and looks too strong for her opponent.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Serena Williams 2-0 at $1.73

Sloane Stephens v Anastasija Sevastova

Sloane Stephens is in to her second straight US Open quarter-final after comprehensively beating 15th seed Elise Mertens in straight sets. The reigning champion was very impressive in that match; firing in 83% of first serves, winning 72% of these, while also winning 51% of her receiving points. Sevastova meanwhile, defeated the 7th seed Elina Svitolina in her fourth-round to reach her third consecutive quarter-final at Flushing Meadows. However, the Latvian has never advanced past this stage, losing to her American opponent last year, and she finds herself an even bigger outsider this time around.

Sevastova has lost five of her last seven outings when playing against the current top-25 ranked players, with all five defeats by more than three games. One of these was a 6-2 6-2 defeat to Stephens at last months Rogers Cup and given the American has won by more than three games in 30 of her 31 victories this year, we expect her to cruise through to the semi-final.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Sloane Stephens -3.5 Games Handicap at $1.84

Juan Martin Del Potro v John Isner

One of our pre-tournament selections John Isner has made it through to the quarter-final as we expected. The American’s biggest win so far came in his last round against Milos Raonic in a five-setter that took over three hours to decide and will have certainly taken its toll on his body.

Del Potro meanwhile, beat Borna Coric in his fourth-round clash and is yet to drop a single set at Flushing Meadows this year. However, the Argentinian has been broken on five separate occasion this tournament to Isners’ four and that’ll at least give the big serving American some confidence.

A huge determining factor for this match has to be the freshness of Del Potro, having only had to play 114 games versus his opponents 179 games to get to the same point. The third seed has won seven of the 11 meetings between the two players, as well as winning all four of his five career Grand Slam quarter-final matches when excluding the ‘Big Four’, with three of these seeing at least four sets.

Isner on the other hand, lost his only quarter-final at Flushing Meadows in 2011 to Andy Murray and is the deserved underdog. Interestingly though, Isner has only ever been defeated in straight sets in 10 of his 39 Grand Slam defeats when excluding retirements and so we expect him to get on the scoreboard at the very least.

Betting Strategy

 BACK -Del Potro to Win 3-1 at $3.55

 BACK – Del Potro to Win 3-2 at $6.40


Rafael Nadal v Dominic Thiem

Dominic Thiem has surprised everyone in getting to his first ever US Open quarter-finals. His route to the fourth-round was fairly routine though, defeating all of 81st ranked Basic, 31st ranked Johnson and 74th ranked Fritz before going on to cause a huge upset and defeating last years’ runner-up Kevin Anderson in straight sets.

The Austrian won 91% of his first serves in that last round match while he didn’t face a single break point which is hugely impressive against a player like Anderson. Nadal meanwhile, has dropped just two sets on his route to this stage as on hard-courts this year he’s now won 31 of his 35 sets this year (excluding retirements) and the reigning champion looks more than capable of retaining his title.

These two have faced each other on 10 separate occasions with Nadal having the 7-3 advantage over his opponent. However, each of these have come on the clay surface and given it’s both players’ favourite surface, it’ll give Nadal a huge mental advantage. Interestingly, nine of these have occurred in straight sets with Rafa winning all three of their Grand Slam meetings in similar fashion.

In fact, Thiem has lost 23 of his 29 meetings with the current top-10 when excluding clay matches, with all his last three defeats occurring in straight sets. Moreover, Nadal has won all his six US Open quarter-final matches since 2007, losing just one set across all of them.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Rafael Nadal to Win 3-0 at $2.36

Aryna Sabalenka v Naomi Osaka

Sabalenka has been in superb form over recent months as she reached the Eastbourne final before Wimbledon and has since impressed in Toronto and Cincinnati before claiming the title in New Haven. She was relatively comfortable as she ended Petra Kvitova’s challenge in the last round to continue her superb form during this US swing and she’s now recorded six top-13 wins in the past month.

Osaka came into this tournament having not done a lot since winning the Indian Wells title but she’s found some red hot form as she’s incredibly won her last 22 consecutive games. However, that’s unlikely to have prepared her for the challenge she’ll face here and if things go against her she tends to drop her head and let the match run away from her, with 18 of her last 19 defeats coming in straight sets. We’d expect Sabalenka to prove too strong and make that stat 19 of 20.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Sabalenka 2-0 at $2.90

Marketa Vondrousova v Lesia Tsurenko

103rd ranked Vondrousova took down the in-form Bertens in the last round courtesy of a final set tie-break, and she’s been rewarded with a 4th round match against the unseeded Tsurenko. However, the Russian won 12 points fewer than her opponent in the last round and 99% of the time that sort of imbalance will end in defeat. That was the biggest win of her career and while she’s undoubtedly talented she will now have to deal with the pressure of being expected to follow that result up.

However, she is coming up against a player in superb form who is yet to drop a set in her opening three matches. Tsurenko also beat the likes of Muguruza and Makarova a couple of weeks ago in Cincinnati and is already due to rise to a new career high after this tournament. In her six matches played since May as a favourite she has comfortably beaten the games handicap every time as eight of the 10 sets she’s won have been 6/2 or easier. She won 10 consecutive games to close out her last match having dominated 2nd seed Caroline Wozniacki in the round before, while it took world number 1 Simona Halep to beat her in Cincinnati in a match she was very competitive in. We’d expect her to maintain that form and ease past Vondrousova and into a maiden major quarter-final.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Tsurenko -3.5 Games Handicap at $2.00

Ashleigh Barty v Karoline Pliskova

Karoline Pliskova hasn’t dropped a set at this years US Open as she’s made it to the fourth round for a third consecutive year. In fact, the talented Czech was runner-up in 2016 whilst she was a quarter-finalist 12 months ago and we’re surprised to see such a disparity in the prices against her Australian opponent. Ashleigh Barty has won nine of her last 11 hard-court matches and is also yet to drop a set so far this tournament. However, the 22-year-old has never previously made it past the third-round at any Grand Slam and with grass being her preferable surface, it’s difficult to see why she deserves to be the odds-on favourite. This is even more prevalent when Pliskova has won 32 of her 43 matches against players currently ranked outside the current top-10 this year.

The Aussie has lost nine of her 11 matches when playing the current top-25 ranked players since the Australian Open. What’s more, she’s lost three of the last four of these when she’s been the odds-on favourite. These two have split their last two meetings, the last of these saw Barty win in a slightly unfair third set tie-break, so at odds-against there is value in backing the Czech.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Karoline Pliskova Win at $2.24

John Isner v Milos Raonic

Although Isner is playing in his home Slam, we don’t think the fans will be rushing to get a front row seats for what essentially will be a ‘serve off’. Both players have won over 80% of their first serve points so far this tournament and if their recent Wimbledon meeting is anything to go by, than there’ll be plenty of aces and tie-breakers. Raonic has dropped only one set so far, coming in the opening round, and he’s banged down 57 aces already. However, that pales in comparison to Isner who’s landed 92 aces so far in New York, keeping a 100% record on his serve in the last round.

The American goes off as the outsider despite being ranked higher and leading the head-to-head. He’s won four of their five meetings with the last of these coming at Wimbledon. Interestingly, Raonic has never taken a set off Isner without going to a tie-breaker, while he’s failed to break his serve in any of their last three meetings. Isner meanwhile, broke the Canadian’s serve three times in their last clash and so we have to be getting behind the 11th seed at the prices.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – John Isner Win at $2.22

Petra Kvitova v Aryna Sabalenka

Since her shock opening round Wimbledon exit, Kvitova has won eight of her 11 matches, defeating the likes of Serena Williams and Elise Mertens in that time. However, the fifth seed doesn’t look quite back to her consistent best, failing to progress past the third round in any of her Grand Slam appearances this year, including two first round exits. Her big hitting opponent Sabalenka will take the game to the Czech and won’t be fazed by the fact her opponent is ranked in the top-10, as she’s won four of her five matches this month against such opposition, with only Simona Halep getting the better of her.

Sabalenka has now won all her last seven matches as she claimed the Connecticut Open title in the process, and with that has won 14 of her last 16 sets. These two met earlier in the year with Kvitova winning in three sets but the Belarusian was struggling for form then and this time around the 20-year-old is looking much more confident. Moreover, since the start of Eastbourne in June, she’s won seven of her 10 outings at odds greater than $2.5, and so the youngster looks the value bet.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Aryna Sabalenka Win at 2.6

Naomi Osaka v Aliaksandra Sasnovich

Naomi Osaka is a promising player at the tender age of 20, but she’s openly been struggling with the pressure that comes with the expectation of winning since her Indian Wells title earlier this year. Although the 20th seed has made it to the third round of both Roland Garros and Wimbledon since, she’s had easy opening rounds. It’s been a similar story in flushing Meadows and now taking on her first opponent insides the world’s top-150, her price looks a little skinny.

Sasnovich meanwhile, has been in incredible form of late, winning 14 of her 18 matches since the start of her fourth round run at Wimbledon. She defeated 11th seed Darya Kasatkina last time out and her hard hitting will cause the Japanese player some serious problems. The Belarusian has never made it this far at Flushing Meadows but will fancy her chances given that Osaka lost three of her four hard-court matches in the build-up to the US Open. In fact, her Japanese opponent has lost 10 of her last 11 outings against current top-50 ranked players, so it looks a great opportunity to be with the outsider.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Aliaksandra Sasnovich Win at 2.56

Denis Shapovalov v Kevin Anderson

Kevin Anderson has made the fourth round in five of his last six Grand Slam attempts, including a runner-up spot here last year as well as at Wimbledon less than two months ago. He faces the 28th seed Denis Shapovalov in the third round, who the South African has never previously played but will hope that his opponent is still fatigued following his five-setter in the last round with Andreas Seppi. The Canadian made the fourth round here last year thanks to a favourable draw, but we envisage a repeat as he’s lost all his four matches against current top-10 players in straight sets in 2018.

When excluding the current top 25 players, Anderson has won an impressive 29 of his 32 matches this season, with none of these losses coming at a Grand Slam event. His experience should be too great for Shapovalov, who will be fatigued following his second-round duel in sweltering heat.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Anderson to Win at $1.45

Ekaterina Makarova v Anastasija Sevastova

Makarova comes here having won nine of her 14 matches since the start of Wimbledon, where she reached the fourth round and defeated the second seed Caroline Wozniacki in the process. The Russian has a fighting spirit with three of her four matches at SW19 going to a deciding set and this looks set to follow a similar path. Sevastova is the higher ranked of the two and despite going to a third set in four of her six Slam matches this year, this is the first time she’s made it to the third round.

The Latvian did however reach the quarters here in 2017 and 2016 and she’s impressed in her opening two rounds, beating the tricky Donna Vekic in three in her opener before blowing away Claire Liu. This match up looks evenly poised and indeed, the only meeting these two have had this year on the hard surface saw Makarova win an epic 3-6 7-6 6-3.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Total Sets – 3 at $1.50

Alex De Minaur v Frances Tiafoe

Following his third-round exit to Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon and reaching the final of the Citi Open earlier this month, Alex De Minaur has climbed the rankings to reach a career best of 43rd in the world. The Australian is on his favourite surface and has now won six of his last eight hard-court matches, only losing to Alexander Zverev and Winston-Salem winner Daniil Medvedev. We’re a little surprised to see such a disparity in the prices between the two youngsters, even though Frances Tiafoe will have the home support. The American has been less impressive than his opponent since Wimbledon, winning just five of his nine matches.

De Minaur gave Taro Daniel just one break point opportunity over the course of their whole match in the opening round. He won 81% of his first serve points and 76% of his second and he looks to have found his groove at Flushing Meadows. These two players have only met once in their careers, coming last year, with the Australian claiming the bragging rights and we feel there is certainly value in backing the underdog.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – De Minaur Win at $2.28

Fabio Fognini v John Millman

John Millman lost both his two hard-court matches in the build-up to New York, with each of these coming against players currently ranked outside the top-50 in the world. He has a monumental task ahead of him against the 14th seeded Fabio Fognini, who recently won his first hard court tournament at the Los Cabos Open, defeating Juan Martin Del Potro in straight sets in the final.

Millman defeated the young American wild card Jenson Brooksby in his opening round and although that’ll give him some confidence, we don’t give him any chance in this clash. The Aussie has lost 10 of his 12 matches with the current top-25 ranked players since the start of last year. Fognini meanwhile, has won six of his seven outings since returning to the hard-court and it should be a routine victory for the Italian.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Fognini Win at $1.50

Andy Murray v Fernando Verdasco

Andy Murray played his first match at a Grand Slam since he limped out of Wimbledon 412 days ago. He managed to win in four sets against James Duckworth and although he still looked a work in progress he showed he’s certainly come on a lot since his injury return at Queens two months ago. Murray recently reached the quarter-final of the Citi Open, where he withdrew due to poor scheduling and interestingly the Scot hasn’t been knocked out in the opening two rounds of a Grand Slam since the Australian Open back in 2008.

Fernando Verdasco won his opening round in straight sets against Feliciano Lopez, as his opponent could only win 26% of his second serve points and took just two of 12 break point opportunities, proving a gift for the 31st seed. However, prior to that victory Verdasco had lost his previous two matches, both coming on this surface, and he’ll certainly have a huge mental hurdle to overcome against Murray given that he’s lost 13 of their 14 matches with him since 2006. That record is testament to the Brit’s immense record against left handers, winning 31 of his 35 outdoor hard-court matches against them since 2010 and we’re confident he can extend that to 32.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Murray to Win at $1.61

Juan Martin Del Potro v Denis Kudla

Denis Kudla will have the local support for this match but he’ll need more than that to challenge the Argentinian third seed. The American reached the quarter-final of the Citi Open at the start of the month, but he only had to beat an unreliable Lucas Pouille, Karen Khachanov in his first hard surface match since SW19 and 77th ranked Lukas Lacko on that run. He’ll face Del Potro for the second time in his career in this second-round, having lost their first meeting in straight sets and it looks as if this clash could have a similar path.

Del Potro breezed through his opening round with the American Donald Young in straight sets, giving his opponent just two break point opportunities all match as he lost just seven games in total. Moreover, he’s now won six of his eight matches in straight sets since Wimbledon and given that Kudla has lost all his last six matches with the current top-10 ranked players, losing four of the last five of these in straight sets, it should be a fairly routine 3-0 win.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Del Potro to Win 3-0 at $1.50

Benot Paire v Dennis Novak

The fourth quarter of the draw is the most competitive at any Slam in recent memory as it includes both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic alongside a number of players that can cause upsets on their day including the maverick Fabio Fognini and the erratic but often brilliant Nick Kyrgios. The winner of this European battle plays the GOAT in Round 2.

Paire often finds ways to be beat himself and he could struggle in Round 1 as Dennis Novak comes into the clash in decent form. He breezed through three rounds of qualifying for the US Open without dropping a set which means he’s now won 14 of his last 18 matches on all surfaces.

Paire, meanwhile, was dumped out of the opening round of the Winston-Salem last week 2-0 by Jay-Lennard Struff who was making his first appearance on Hard courts since March. This is Novak’s first ever US Open but he can build on the confidence that saw him reach the third round of Wimbledon.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Novak to Win at $2.40

Mackenzie McDonald v Robin Haase

Mackenzie McDonald burst onto the scene with a run at this year’s Wimbledon that took him to the fourth round. While that streak was no doubt impressive, he was dealt a very kind draw as he avoided all seeds until meeting Milos Raonic in the Last 16. It feels like that run has had a lot of influence on his price here which seems far too short against a solid Hard court performer like Robin Haase.

Haase defeated both Nishikori and Shapovalov en route to the quarters the Rogers Cup earlier this month and beat Krajinovic and World Number Four Alexander Zverev in Cincinatti the following week. In the same two tournaments McDonald was dumped out in straight sets in the first round to Ryan Harrison and Kyle Edmund respectively. On this Hard court swing, McDonald has won just one of four matches and that came in a final set victory against World Number 263 Brayden Schnur.

The Dutch Number One is playing in his ninth US Open and that experience should count for a lot against the 23-year old American. Haase looks the strongest bet on Round 1.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Haase to Win at $1.58

Jack Sock v Guido Andreozzi

Guido Andreozzi was knocked out of the Winston-Salem Open last week by eventual tournament winner Daniil Medvedev. The same Medvedev beat Jack Sock in the opening round of the ATP Toronto at the start of August. That defeat was Sock’s seventh in a row and he followed that up with a first-round exit to Hyeon Chung.

Sock’s current streak of eight consecutive losses is comfortably the worst of all players ranked in the top-100 yet he is as short as $1.40 to win here. Andreozzi has moved up 75 places in the world rankings in the past year and is worth taking a chance to make it nine in a row for the out of form American. Sock has lost in the first round of his last four Majors including a defeat to Aussie Jordan Thompson here last year.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Andreozzi to Win at $3.50

Taylor Fritz v Mischa Zverev

Taylor Fritz is still yet to reach a Grand Slam third round but he’s got a great chance here as the highest seed in his sector is Roberto Bautista-Agut who is playing in his first Hard court match since March.

Before that he’s faced with Germany’s Mischa Zverev who has been sinking down the rankings all year. At the last Slam, Zverev came in with a lot of promise having lifted the trophy at Eastbourne but a he went out in limp fashion in straight sets to Pierre-Hughes Herbert in the first round.

Zverev has W20-L24 on Tour this year including a terrible W7-L12 record on Hard courts. This is Fritz’s best surface. He has a W23-L10 record on Hard and won the Newport Challenger on this surface earlier this year. We’re unlikely to see either of these two players in the second week but Fritz looks well-priced to at least make the second round.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Fritz to Win at $2.06

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