US Open 2018 – Mens Singles Preview

This preview was researched by the analysts at Football Form Labs.

If you have a question about how to use Form Labs or would like to request a strategy to be researched, please do get in touch via support@footballformlabs.com


Key Stats

  • 16/28 winners since 1990 have been seeded 1 or 2, whilst just 3/56 finalists have been unseeded.
  • Number One seeds have made at least the quarters in each of the last 16 competitions, the semis in 15 and claimed the title in eight.
  • The top two seeds have both made the semis in five of the past eight years and they’ve both made at least the quarters in all of these. However, only twice in the last 28 have all the top-four seeds made the semis.
  • 53/56 finalists since 1990 have been seeded, with 47 being in the top-10 and 42 in the top-six.
  • 23/28 winners have been in the top-six seeds.
  • 16/28 US Open finalists in the past 14 years made the final at either the Cincinnati Masters or the Rogers Cup – this year that was Rafael Nadal, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.
  • Since 1990, 15/28 winners have won a North American hard-court tournament since Wimbledon, including eight of the last 15, as have 14/28 runners-up including nine of the last 14. This year the winners since Wimbledon are John Isner (Atlanta Open), Alexander Zverev (Citi Open), Rafael Nadal (Rogers Cup) and Novak Djokovic (Cincinnati Open).

Quarter One

Rafael Nadal looks to have been handed a favourable draw again this year. The US Open champion last year didn’t play a single seeded player until the semi-final stage and dropped just three sets across the whole tournament. The other seeded player in top section and likely to meet him in the third round is Karen Khachanov. The Russian has been in excellent form, reaching the semi-final of the Rogers Cup where he lost to the Spaniard 7-6, 6-4 and he also made the third round of Cincinnati. The other big players in the top-half of this quarter include 18th seed Jack Sock, who hasn’t won any of his last eight matches, while British number one Kyle Edmund who recently reached the quarters of the Winston-Salem Open, will fancy his chances. He’s likely to face Guido Pella in the second round, who hasn’t won any of his last five hard court matches and a meeting with either Nadal or Khachanov should be on the cards in the fourth round.

The bottom-half of this quarter has Dominic Thiem as the top ranked player. The Austrian has made the fourth round in each of his last two attempts at Flushing Meadows, as well as in both his last two attempts at the Australian Open. However, we still don’t give him much chance with a matchup with Steve Johnson in the second round. Johnson beat him last year in their only meeting on the hard surface to date, while he’s coming here off the back of a +9 game handicap demolition of Kyle Edmund,  earning himself a spot in the semi-final of the Winston-Salem Open as a consequence. Taylor Fritz will be in pursuit of his first ever third round at a Grand Slam, while the real competition in the bottom half of the quarter. The fifth seed Kevin Anderson looks to have his work cut out with a likely route of: Ryan Harrison in the first round, who was runner-up in Atlanta and beat the South African in their last meeting. Then potentially Russian Andrey Rublev in the second, who reached the quarters here last year and made it to the semis in Washington earlier this month and finally a third-round meeting with the talented Canadian Denis Shapovalov who is capable of beating anyone on his day – assuming he overcomes Sam Querrey.


Quarter Two

Juan Martin Del Potro is favourite to win this second quarter but he will have a likely difficult second round encounter with Citi Open quarter finalist Denis Kudla, before the out of touch Andy Murray may challenge him in the third. However, his first real test will come in the fourth round with a scheduled meeting with Roger Cup runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Greek beat four top-10 players on his run in Canada and he’ll be looking to beat his Grand Slam personal best of the fourth round last month at SW19. He’ll have to overcome 20th seed Borna Coric if he’s to make it to that fourth round but if he can find a similar vein of form to earlier this month, he shouldn’t have too many problems.

The key players in this bottom-half of the second quarter include John Isner, Milos Raonic, Stan Wawrinka and Grigor Dimitrov. Both the latter two will play each other in the first round with the winner scheduled to play Raonic in the third round, so they’re all definitely worth avoiding. It’s the big serving American Isner that has the pick of the draw in the bottom half of this second quarter and we expect the 11th seed to at least reach the quarter-final, with the Atlanta Open under his belt.


Quarter Three

Marin Cilic hasn’t quite lived up to his potential this season since reaching the final of the Australian Open at the start of the year. The Croatian’s only other impressive performance came at Queens, where he won, but he was knocked out in the second round at the All England Club. However, since Wimbledon he has only lost to Nadal and Djokovic and still looks a serious threat for this tournament. He has an easy opening two rounds, before likely facing the Citi Open finalist Alex De Minaur or Frances Tiafoe. David Goffin would’ve fancied his chances if it wasn’t for his shoulder injury causing him even more problems, having to pull out of his semi-final match against Roger Federer in the Cincinnati Open. Robin Haase should capitalise if the Belgian’s shoulder isn’t up to it and the Dutchman could well find himself in his first ever Grand Slam fourth round.

Kei Nishikori will feel lucky to have been placed in this quarter as the 21st seed, although the unpredictable Gael Monfils could cause some problems in the second round. Other than him though, there lacks a real danger, as 13th seed Diego Schwartzman shouldn’t be too challenging to beat on the hard surface and a fourth round should be on the cards for the Japanese player. Alexander Zverev has an even easier draw than Nishikori, but he likes to make difficult work of his Grand Slam matches so no doubt there’ll be some matches that go the distance. However, we expect the German to make at least the fourth round and with a 2-0 record against Nishikori on hard courts another Grand Slam quarter-final looks very feasible.


Quarter Four

By far the most competitive of the four quarters with two of the ‘Big Three’ included, as well as a litter of talented and in-form players throughout. Sixth seed Novak Djokovic should make easy work of his opening two rounds before a meeting with either of; Leonardo Mayer, Richard Gasquet or Lucas Pouille in the third, with the former the most likely candidate of the three. The Spaniard Pablo Carreno-Busta has found some form, he is currently in the semis at Winston-Salem and he should at least put up a bit of a fight against the US Open favourite Djokovic in a scheduled fourth round tie.

The bottom-half of this quarter doesn’t make good reading for Roger Federer fans, with Los Cabos winner Fabio Fognini, Australian Open semi-finalist Hyeon Chung, the talented Nick Kyrgios, Benoit Paire matched with the Swiss maestro. Fortunately for the world number two, Paire is capable of mentally beating himself in a potential second round match, while Kyrgios a scheduled third round is also mentally weak and carrying a hip injury. That sets up a challenge from either the in-form Italian Fognini, who beat Del Potro in the Mifel Open final to claim his first ever Hard Court title earlier this month or Hyeon Chung in the fourth round, but Fed will be confident of defeating both of them.


Conclusion

Rafa Nadal should have no problem in winning his quarter having won 40 of his 43 matches this year, with a likely meeting with his final opponent here last year Kevin Anderson in the quarter-final this time around. Anderson was also the runner-up at Wimbledon this year, having defeated Federer and Isner and will certainly have a chance of upsetting the left hander in that match, even with a career head to head record of 5-0 in Nadal’s favour.

The second quarter should see Del Potro battle it out against Tsitsipas in the fourth round before the winner most likely go up against the American Isner. Isner has defeated Del Potro in each of their last two meetings on hard courts, with the last of these coming in the semi-final of the Miami Open earlier this year.

Cilic should win the top-half of this third quarter given Goffin’s injury troubles, where Alexander Zverev looks the potential quarter-final matchup. The 4th seed has won each of the last five meetings with the Croatian, but we certainly prefer the 7th seeds odds even with that unfavourable head to head record, especially given that Zverev has lost both his last two outings.

The fourth quarter has an abundance of quality throughout and although we agree with the bookies that Novak should be the favourite, but his draw makes it hard to be fully confident in his 28% of winning at the current prices. A scheduled meeting with rival Federer in the quarters, who he beat in straight sets in the Cincinnati final two weeks ago, it looks like a quarter to avoid even though the eventual winner will likely progress from it. Although, that said, the Swiss superstar hasn’t won in New York since 2008 and his time at the US Open looks to be coming to and end, even with him as the third favourite.


Betting Strategy

 BACK – Rafael Nadal to Win at 4.30 – 3 Units

 BACK – John Isner to Win at 101 (look to trade in semis)

 BACK – Marin Cilic 21 (look to trade in semis)


Related Articles

2018 US Open: Glicko Preview

Ahead of the 2018 US Open, our Betfair tennis expert & Data Scientist Martin Ingram, gives his Glicko 2018 ...

Bettor Form: Daily Tennis Selections

Form Labs search their unrivaled tennis database to find relevant matchup information for the professional tennis circuit. They then ...

Tennis Predictions Model

The Data Scientist’s Tennis Predictions Model identifies trading & betting opportunities throughout ATP & WTA tournaments around the world.  ...